I stared at the ground, unable to meet the gaze of the boisterous teenagers chatting loudly through my lecture.  I should’ve told them to stop, calm down and concentrate, but instead I fought back tears and nipped into the ladies. I looked at myself in the mirror in my loose fitting, unflattering clothes – I didn’t just look older than my years, I felt it, too.

It had all started in 2013, when I began feeling sick and fatigued. I had terrible pains in my joints and muscles, and I developed jaundice. Eventually, I was diagnosed with autoimmune liver disease. I was put on strong steroids, which made me feel hungry all the time, and I started to gain weight. I decided to move back in with my parents for support.

With all the going on, teaching a class at college had become a daily torment. I wanted to feel confident standing up there, dressed in trendy Topshop clothes like my friends. As I reached 16st 6lbs, though, none of my favourite brands seemed to have the size 20s I needed. It was on one particularly upsetting shopping trip, when I failed to find a new work outfit, that I decided enough was enough.

A colleague had lost weight with Slimming World, so I phoned my local Consultant who sounded warm and understanding. Even then, I was so shy it took three calls before I plucked up the courage to go to group.

As a retired food technology teacher, my mum helped me to get started. She moved the olive oil to the back of the cupboard, stocked up on lots of fresh ingredients and made all the meals I love – like chicken Kiev, pasta and burgers.

As the scales went down, I felt more energetic, despite my condition. Now I felt ready to make the move into a place of my own and, during the summer holidays, Dad and I renovated my new house. And I started filling my wardrobe with stylish clothes – even Topshop skinny jeans.

I hit my target weight of 11st 6lbs and now, whether I’m holding the attention of a classful of students, walking my toy poodle, Dillan, or feeling great in my clothes, I feel like a 20-something again.

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