A holiday snap sparked a five-year campaign to lose weight which has left Elaine Bailey almost 8st lighter, happier and fitter.
Elaine, 32, who lives in Gordon Street, Kettering, and attends Slimming World sessions at the Church of the Epiphany, Corby, has reduced her weight from 17st 12lbs to a trim 10st 1lb.
At just 5ft 1in, she used to wear a size 24 and buying clothes was a nightmare.
Now, just one pound off her target weight of 10st, she loves dressing up and she loves life.
On Sunday she will take part in the preliminary round of Slimming World’s Woman of the Year Competition, which is held in October.
She said: “It’s been a long journey but I wouldn’t give up. In the first year I lost three stones and then it got harder. My weight would go up and down, but I kept at it.
“I love Slimming World and I’ve made so many good friends there.
“Before I wasn’t a very happy person. A relationship ended and I wasn’t very happy. All I did was stay at home and eat junk food. The holiday snap of me in Scotland was the last straw.
“I couldn’t believe that that was me looking out from the photograph.”
Elaine, a customer service advisor, joined Slimming World and has never looked back, attending weekly meetings and following a healthy eating programme.
Her mum Grace, of Browning Walk, Corby, encouraged Elaine and cooked her meals while the pounds melted away.
Elaine said: “I’ve got a full life now, and a really good social life.
“I was a chubby teenager and between 21 and 27 I piled the weight on. I tried every kind of diet and at one point I was really thin, but I wasn’t doing it the right way. It was a struggle.
“I tried fad diets and even pills from the internet. Nothing worked.”
Now, instead of a diet of crisps, chocolate and pizzas, Elaine starts her day with beans on toast, lunches of chicken salad and enjoys a baked potato with cheese and salad for her evening meal.
She said: “It’s easy and I don’t feel deprived. All my family and friends can see the difference in me. I like to exercise as much as I can and if I put a few pounds on, from time to time, I don’t worry about it.”