A woman who turned to comfort eating after the breakdown of a relationship has now lost an incredible 11st 6lb.
Amy Woolliscroft, 34, a day nursery manager from Hatton, Derbyshire, says the driving force behind her drastic weight loss was so she could be here for her son, Noah, six.
Weighing 21st 11lb at her heaviest and wearing a size 28, Woolliscroft hated seeing her reflection, but was shocked into overhauling her lifestyle after seeing festive photos from Christmas 2017.
With the support of her best friend, Lucy, 30, she joined a diet club online, started exercising and saw her waistline shrink until she felt like she had a “brand new identity”.
“I wanted to make sure I was here for my son and that I was fit enough to run around with him," she explains. "That was why I decided to do something about my weight.
“I always knew one day I would lose it. I just never knew when.”
In January 2018, Woolliscroft weighed 21st 11lb and had a body mass index (BMI, used to gauge a healthy weight), of 49 – compared to the NHS healthy range of 18.5 to 24.9 – which made her dangerously obese.
“I’ve always been the ‘big girl’," she explains. “Throughout my life, when I’ve looked in the mirror, I’ve hated what I saw, as I just didn’t love myself.”
While she describes being a fussy eater and refusing to eat vegetables as a child, Woolliscroft believes her parents splitting up when she was nine accentuated her already unhealthy relationship with food.
“My brother and I just ate crisps, potatoes, bread and sweets," she says.
“After my parents split up, we lived with my dad and I remember stepping onto the scales in the bathroom for the first time when I was 15 and being horrified because I weighed 15st.
“It really hit home, because I knew my dad weighed 18st, so not that much more than me. ”
She believes splitting up with Noah's dad in May 2017 had a further impact on her weight.
“I’ve always had a big appetite, so I’m not sure whether it was comfort eating or just the fact I didn’t care much about my weight after Noah’s dad left,” she explains.
After being confronted with photos of herself at her 2017 Christmas celebrations, she decided to do something about her weight.
Too shy to go to a slimming club in person, Woolliscroft joined WW – formerly Weight Watchers – online and gradually saw her weight drop from 21st 11lb to 10st 5lb.
As well as overhauling her diet, Woolliscroft also started following hour-long YouTube dance exercise videos, which she describes as the "perfect exercise plan for me to start with.”
Exercising alongside her weight loss has also helped the mum-of-one reduce the “apron effect” experienced by many people, who have had drastic weight loss, causing them to end up with large folds of loose skin.
Woollicroft believes using a weighted hula hoop was key to toning up as the pounds fell away.
At first, she ended up with bruises to her hips and thighs when she used it but is now an expert and can keep the hoop circling around her waist for an hour at a time.
“I’ve lost 22.5ins from my hips and 20.5 ins from my waist – which now measure 37.5in and 27.5in – thanks to working out with the hoop," she says.
“When I started this, I couldn’t even run for a bus. Now, I run three times a week on my treadmill at home which is the equivalent of 15-20 miles each week.
“And I’m hoping to do a 10k run for charity.”
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Now wearing a size 10-12 with a healthy BMI of 23.5, each week Woolliscroft, who restricts her calorie intake to 1,400 a day, weighs herself on a Sunday, which is also her ‘treat’ day.
But she says she will forgo all snacks if her weight creeps up, so she can get back on track.
“I know people are surprised by my determination, because they’ve seen there’s nothing I won’t say no to if it means keeping my weight healthy," she explains.
“As a result, I’ve only gained weight about five times since losing it and I’ve always managed to lose it again.
“A pizza is my all-time favourite food, but I will say no if I need to."
Not only has her weight loss made her feel physically better, Woolliscroft says that psychologically, she feels far more positive.
“I can go into any clothes shop and wear anything I want now and when I look in the mirror, I like what I see,” she says.
“I’ve learned to love myself and although it sometimes still doesn’t feel real, I know that I’ve achieved this.
“People tell me I am an inspiration and that makes me so happy I want to cry.
“But even better, I can now race Noah across the field and run around with him in the park.”
Woolliscroft's main advice to anyone hoping to achieve their own transformation is never to give up on their own weight loss goals.
“If you have a bad day or a bad week or a bad month, just move on and start again,” she says.
“I’ve had a motto for some time now which is, ‘I can and will. Watch me.’
“This, basically, says to anyone that ever doubted what I was capable of, that actually it is and was possible.”
As for Woolliscroft’s son, Noah, he just has one question for his mum.
“He asks me, ‘Where’s your tummy gone?’”
Breakfast - nothing.
Lunch - Sausage roll, crisps, chocolate, fizzy drink.
Dinner- Chicken Kiev and chips
Snacks - chocolate and Cadbury yoghurts
Breakfast - overnight oats, Greek yoghurt and fruit
Lunch - sweet chilli chicken and couscous, with fruit salad pudding
Dinner - Salmon fillet with vegetables
Snacks - fruit, rice cakes, protein yoghurt
To find out more about WW’s newest programme, PersonalPoints, visit ww.com/uk
Additional reporting PA Real Life.