My weight crept up so gradually, I didn’t really notice until I’d put on more than 5st. When David and I married over 40 years ago, I weighed 8½st, and even after having my three daughters I was a size 12.

Then came middle age – and my new lifestyle as a childminder, along with a particular liking for chocolate biscuits and cakes. By 2014, I was finding size-16 trousers were getting tight.

I’m not sure whether I’d have found the motivation to lose weight if it hadn’t been for a very happy event: my daughter, Katherine, announced her engagement to her boyfriend, Stephen. I was overjoyed. Then, with the wedding booked, family conversations turned to outfits and dress choices... including what I might wear as mother of the bride.

That's when my heart sank a bit. I couldn’t stand the idea of clothes shopping and staring at myself in changing-room mirrors, trying on lovely outfits that didn’t fit.

Like most people who are bigger than they want to be, I disliked the limelight, and usually made my excuses when the cameras came out.

I knew there’d be no avoiding the photographs at my own daughter’s wedding, though. And I also knew this could be the perfect opportunity to tackle my weight once and for all.

No more fad diets

Quick-fix diets had never worked for me in the past, so I decided to give Slimming World a go to see if I could form some healthier eating habits.

I didn’t really know what to expect when I walked into my group for the first time, so I was pleased with how straightforward the eating plan was. I was encouraged to eat hearty, filling meals like pasta, or skinless roast chicken and vegetables.

I got stuck into the plan straight away, and made a Slimming World spaghetti carbonara and diet-cola chicken. I ate Speed Free Foods like strawberries and mandarin oranges whenever I wanted a snack.

Healthy takeaway faves

I found the Slimming World’s Fakeaways book was brilliant for giving our takeaway favourites – like kebabs, curries, fried chicken and pizza – a healthy makeover.

In my first week I lost 3lbs, then I dropped 1½lbs the week after. After three weeks, I could feel my clothes getting looser, and after about two months of steady losses, I’d dropped over a stone and could actually see the difference in the mirror. I had much more energy, too.

I’d spent years feeling guilty about overeating. Now I was proving to myself that it’s never too late to break a cycle and turn things around.

When I was just 5lbs away from my 11st 8lb target weight, I decided it was time to shop for my wedding outfit. I had a wonderful day trying on all sorts of styles and colours, before eventually settling on a tailored blush-pink dress and jacket with matching hat. I was so excited when the size 14 fitted perfectly.

Losing the last 3lbs proved to be the hardest part of all. I must have taken off a couple of pounds and then put them back on for about six weeks running! Finally, less than a month before the big day, I reached my target weight. It’s hard to describe just how good it felt. I was so happy and proud.

Bride and joy

Everyone warned me that Katherine’s wedding day would rush by, so I tried to appreciate every moment. Sure enough, it was all over far too soon. Or so I thought…

Alison, our youngest daughter, has just announced her engagement and set a wedding date, so I’ll be dusting down my mother-of-the-bride outfit again. One thing’s for certain, though – I’ll still fit into it!

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