LOOKING at a photo of her 20 stone figure, Yvonne Tompkin knew she desperately needed to lose weight.
The former aerobics instructor, 54, had ballooned to a dress size 22 after giving up exercise and developing an unhealthy addiction to snacking.
And it was seeing the image of herself at her heaviest that drove Yvonne, from Radcliffe-on-Trent, Notts, to lose half her body weight.
Yvonne, who lives with commodities trader husband Dominic, 45, and children Azaria, 13, Elyas, 12, and ten-year-old Querida, signed up to Slimming World and has since shed nearly 11 stone.
Yvonne now feels happier and more confident than ever in her trim size ten, 9st 11lb figure.
She said: "I've never looked back and now I'm 10st lighter and a whole new woman – with a new job, new figure and new confidence as a wife and a mum."
Before putting on weight, Yvonne had been a trim size ten when she got married.
But after having her first child she quickly developed unhealthy habits and stopped being active.
She said: "I married my husband when I was 38 and super-fit. I was a qualified aerobics instructor, always running about, and a size 10.
"I fell pregnant at 39 and naturally, towards the end, I wasn't able to be as active.
I started eating whole packets of chocolate biscuits
"When Azaria was born in 2006, I was about a stone heavier.
"Being a first-time-mum was hard work and I was often really tired, and this is when my bad snacking habits started.
"I started eating whole packets of chocolate biscuits, convincing myself I needed the energy.
"My meals were the same as before, but because I wasn't doing my usual exercise classes, I wasn't burning off the calories like I used to.
"My bad habits continued after Elyas and Querida were born and, with each pregnancy, the weight piled on.
"I often moaned to my husband about my insecurities but I'd lie about the amount of junk I was eating when he wasn't around.
"I hid the sweet and biscuit wrappers before he got home, ashamed of how many I'd eaten."
Yvonne went from 12st and a dress size ten before her first child, to 17st and a size 22 at age 50.
However, Yvonne's wake-up call came when she started applying for new jobs in 2017 – and she lost all confidence.
"Querida was starting at school and I felt ready to go back to work so I started to apply for jobs," she said.
"I went for interview after interview and kept not getting the job, and my self-esteem plummeted.
"I hated the way I looked and it got so bad I barely left the house.
"If I did, I'd watch Dominic play with the kids in the park or in the local pool, as I was too shy to get involved with them."
I hated the way I looked and it got so bad I barely left the house
At the end of that year, Yvonne was out for coffee with friends when they started chatting about Slimming World – which spurred her into joining the group.
"They'd each lost weight on the plan and something just told me I had to try this to be happy again," Yvonne said.
"I asked if they could pick me up on their way to Slimming World the following week and, although I was terrified, I knew that if I'd told them I was going, I couldn't pull out."
Despite her initial fears, Yvonne says she found her first session "amazing".
And she decided to keep motivated by taking a photo of herself at her heaviest as a reminder to keep going.
"When I got home I asked my daughters to take a photo of me because I knew I'd never be that weight again," Yvonne said.
"I printed the photo and stuck it in the front of my Slimming World book as a reminder to keep going.
"And I did. I cooked healthy dinners every night from scratch, stating with Cajun chicken and wedges.
Yvonne's diet before and after
Breakfast: Four slices of toast with butter and marmalade
Lunch: Ham sandwich with white bread, crisps and chocolate bar
Dinner: Curry with ready-made sauce, rice, naan bread, bhajis and chips
Snacks: Packet of chocolate biscuits, coffee with two sugars
AFTER (9st 11lb)
Breakfast: Fruit with quinoa and Quark yoghurt
Lunch: Jacket potato with low-fat natural cottage cheese, ham and salad
Dinner: Chicken tagliatelle
Snacks: Fresh fruit and fat-free natural yoghurt
"We ate together as a family and I made sure there were lots of leftovers I could enjoy the next day if I got a craving to reach for biscuits.
"I also snacked on fresh fruit and fat-free natural yoghurt."
Within six months, Yvonne had lost four stone and finally had some confidence back.
Yvonne then began working for a friend three afternoons a week and the weight continued to drop off.
She has since lost over ten stone and is now helping other women to follow in her footsteps.
"After I'd lost 5st, I knew I wanted to help others the way I'd been helped, and in May 2018 I became a Slimming World Consultant," Yvonne said.
And Yvonne realised just how far she'd come when, 17 years after her wedding day, she could again fit into her white size 10 gown.
She said: "Last year I dug out my wedding dress and when I fastened the zip to the top, I cried with happiness to be back to the woman I was all those years ago."
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