Carole Whitfield is half the woman she used to be.
Her weight increased to 15stone 7lbs as she binged on sugary and fatty foods.
But she finally decided to do something about it when she lost her mum Catherine at the age of 69.
Now, having dropped from a size 20 to a size 8, the former pastry chef is encouraging others to do the same and has become a Slimming World consultant.
Carole, 47, says she has battled with her weight most of her adult life and her mum, a qualified nurse, would often warn her about the dangers of being overweight, especially in light of their family history of high blood pressure and diabetes.
Sadly her mum died after being diagnosed with cancer.
Carole, of Burnopfield, County Durham, said: “My mum was a nurse and she was always concerned about my weight and my health.
“As I got older my body changed and I knew if I didn’t do something about it I would have problems in later life.
“My mum died in 2009 and I started Slimming World in May last year. I just wish she could see me now, she would have been so proud.
“She would always tell me about it but that’s because she loved me.”
Carole had a BMI of more than 30 and had tried a number of diets but had struggled to shift her excess weight.
And because of her passion for food, Carole changed her career in her 40s and trained to become a chef.
She went on to work at the prestigious Wynyard Hall Hotel, near Sedgefield but after sustaining a wrist injury, had to cut short her new career.
Carole said: “I had been addicted to sugary and fatty foods but having worked in the industry and as I have got older, my relationship with food has changed.
“Still I needed a healthy eating plan that was generous enough to allow me to cook amazing recipes and feel full at the same time as losing weight. I never believed that would be possible, as whenever mum encouraged me to lose weight, I would go on a restrictive diet for a couple of months and then inevitably give up, and put even more weight back on.”
Carole had resigned herself to the fact that she would always be a size 20 until her friend introduced her to her local Slimming World group.
“He told me that he never stopped eating and he was having so much fun at the group that I decided I had nothing to lose by giving it a go,” said Carole.
And since joining the group in May last year she has lost five stone.
She has continued to cook her favourite meals at home like chilli, lasagne and Sunday dinners and still enjoyed eating out.
Carole said: “I’m really eating more food now than I ever have before. It seems hard to believe but I’m just eating more healthy food.
“It’s really about making small changes. Instead of cooking with oil I’m now cooking with FryLight.
“I’m just stocking up on lovely healthy foods.”
Carole says she wishes she had joined Slimming World earlier and wishes her mum could see her now, oozing with energy and in good health.
She said: “I know she would be proud of me and everything I have achieved.”
Carole has been so blown away by the whole experience at Slimming World that she has decided she wants to help support others to lose weight.
She says she wants to help people live longer and happier lives free from weight related issues such as low self-esteem, lack of confidence and depression.
Carole said: “For 30 years I have been a yo-yo dieter. I really struggled with my weight and I was miserable.
“I used to hate shopping for clothes but now I enjoy it.
“But the biggest thing for me is the health side. I just wanted to make sure I was healthier and fitter.
“I’m now a Slimming World consultant and I really want to help other people.”
Carole runs a Slimming World group in at Burnopfield Community Centre on Monday evenings at 5pm and 7pm.
If you would like to find out more you can call her on 07934 372144.
The Journal collaborated with Nova International more than two years ago to launch our Great North Fitness Revolution. The campaign is challenging everyone to make a pledge to get active and make the positive changes that will lead to a better quality of life.