For years I was too self-conscious about my size to speak to boys. I assumed that even if I did talk to them, they wouldn’t be interested in me, especially as lads would comment on how big I was. My lowest point was on a trip to Las Vegas with my mum, when we went to Urban Outfitters for a treat and I couldn’t find a single item of clothing that fitted me.

Life at uni

It was when I got to university that I really started to struggle. The main problem was the nightlife. I ate OK during the day, then I’d go out with friends and at 3am, after a few drinks, we’d all buy a takeaway. When I saw an old school picture of myself on Facebook, I was devastated. I looked so much slimmer and now, here I was, two years older and 3st heavier.

Embracing the plan

I’d dipped in and out of fad diets in the past, but I was determined to slim down sensibly and for good. After a recommendation from my aunt about Slimming World, I joined my local group in my hometown of Chester. Then, when I began spring term, I went to my nearest group in Headingley with a friend.

I read through all the books and had the feeling that Slimming World was an opportunity to change my life.

I lost 4lbs in my first week and a stone in the first month. I’ve found the plan really easy to stick to, even with a student budget (and lifestyle!). I always make sure I have plenty of quick ‘go-to’ foods in the fridge, like sliced chicken and hard-boiled eggs, and I’ll buy lean mince and plan a couple of meals to cook with it.

Before I joined Slimming World, it never occurred to me to worry about that extra beer or takeaway. Now I’m a lot more conscious of what I’m eating and drinking. I go for a low-Syn vodka and diet mixer and choose carefully when I’m eating out – ordering simply-cooked meat and lots of veg, rather than bread, pasta and creamy sauces.

If you have an unexpected gain, go back to basics and really commit to sticking to plan 100 per cent. Sure enough, the weight will come off again.

My high point was going on holiday and still losing half a stone! I’d eat salad for lunch, then grilled chicken for dinner and I’d use my Syns for something sweet afterwards. Eight months after joining Slimming World, I’d reached my original target of 10st. I was a size 12, but still felt I could lose more, so I set a new target weight of 9st.

Exercise goals

I’ve rediscovered my love of fitness. I go to the gym five or six times a week and I also go running. My goal is to be able to run 10km – I’m up to 7km now. At the beginning, I struggled with gym clothes and now I’m happy in my Lycra and I don’t care who sees me.

I’ve got a wonderful boyfriend, Josh, who I met just after losing my first stone. We’ve been together for a year and a bit and he jokes he’s an unofficial member, because he eats all the same meals.

Without Slimming World, I would never have had the courage even to speak to Josh, let alone get to know him well enough to form a relationship.

Inspired by my Slimming World journey, I'm starting a second degree in nutrition next year and I can't wait. I always hoped that losing weight would boost my confidence and my belief in myself – what I didn’t expect was that it would do the same for my love life.

*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.