A Preston woman is celebrating a massive five-stone weight loss after finally overcoming her life-long battle with the bulge.
Ruth Watkinson, 44, from Ashton-on-Ribble has struggled with weight issues since she was a child, but it was only when she saw herself in an unflattering photo that she finally found the courage to shed the pounds.
Despite successfully completing a Health Promotion degree, a crippling lack of confidence kept her from taking steps towards pursuing this as a career option.
Ruth said: "I didn't feel that I could really lecture other people on healthy choices when I was so overweight.
"When I was bigger I didn't have a lot of confidence. I'd walk into a room and immediately put my head down."
"Because I lived on my own, I didn't really bother with healthy meals, I'd skip breakfast and snack on biscuits throughout the day. Often I'd get to the end of the day and be so tired that I'd order a pizza."
Ruth, who is 5ft 5ins, credits her weight loss to the support she was given by members of the Ingol Slimming World Group and her new found thirst for exercise.
The doctor's administrator started her exercise regime by walking around Moor Park.
She said: "I started walking around Moor Park, but being big it was hard work. I was exhausted when I did it, but I always fought through it.
"In the winter I joined a gym and I've not looked back. I've started running 5km in park runs and can now run 10km on a treadmill. "
"I didn't think I'd ever be able to get to this point. What I'd say to others who are in the same situation is to keep going and be proud of your weight loss. Even if you only lose half a pound, it all counts. The most important thing is to believe in yourself."
Slimming World group leader Debbie Shuttleworth said: "Ruth Watkinson started on 28th July 2015 weighing 16 stone 121/2 and achieved her target of 11 stone 7 on 4th October 2016. She has gone from being a couch potato to being active and sporty, a friendly group member helping others with good ideas and encouragement."
Slimming World at Ingol is on Mondays at St Margaret's, 5.30pm or 7.30pm and Tuesday mornings at 10am and Tuesday nights in the Methodist Church Hall at 5.30pm or 7.30pm
Start Weight: 16st 12.5lbs
start size: 26
Breakfast before weight loss: None or McDonald's
Lunch before weight loss: Cheese baguette, crisps, chocolate
Dinner before weight loss: Take away pizza, can of coke
End weight: 11st 7lbs
End size: 12
Breakfast after weight loss: Porridge or fruit and yoghurt
Lunch after weight loss: Tuna salad, fruit
Dinner after weight loss: Chicken and rice with roast veg