FOR Emma Weaver it was the golden ticket.

She recalls the Slimming World leaflet pushed through her letterbox forced her into action - now she is half the woman she was.

The 39-year-old from Idle had battled with her weight since her 20s. At that time she was content but her lifestyle involved shift work and, consequently, led to unhealthy eating habits.

“I was working a lot of shift work back then and it was easy grab meals - not healthy meals - and a lot of takeaways. The weight just gradually started piling on,” explains Emma.

She says by the time she got married at the age of 22 she wearing a dress size 20. “It just spiralled out of control.”

Emma tried various diets but the few stones she lost she soon put back on. At 28 she had her first son and her second son was born when she was 30.

At her biggest, Emma believes she was a dress size 26 to 28 and weighed 21 stone. Comfort eating exacerbated her problems.

“I just carried on eating my way through life. I did try to do something about it but you need to be in the right frame of mind,” says Emma.

The weight loss she had previously achieved was put back on simply because she had returned to her old habits.

When a leaflet arrived through her door from Slimming World, Emma saw it as a sign and decided to seize the opportunity.

“It was like my golden ticket. I knew I had to do something,” says Emma.

For many the arrival of a New Year brings with it the life-changing opportunity to make a resolution.

Accompanied by her mum, Elaine, for support, Emma attended her first Slimming World session run by consultant Nicola Barker in January 2017.

“I was so huge I sat on the back row and I remember sitting there thinking ‘I couldn’t do this - I don’t understand what I need to do but my Mum helped me through the first few weeks and it has gone from strength to strength,” says Emma, whose determination to succeed was inspired by her sons now aged 11 and nine.

“It was a combination of different things. I knew I had to get my weight off for my children and to live a happy and healthy life.”

Emma also conscious losing weight may help ease the back pain she was troubled with.

Adopting a new approach to healthy eating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle hasn’t just helped Emma to lose weight, her mum has lost three and a half stones with Slimming World and Emma’s husband Phill has lost weight simply from the nutritious meals which are now part of the family’s healthy lifestyle.

“I don’t like to call it a diet - it’s not a diet it’s a lifestyle change,” explains Emma, an account manager for Bradford firm JCT 600.

She says she could still have the things she loved but it’s about making the right choices.

Since joining Slimming World in January 2017 Emma has now dropped to a dress size 12 to 14 and, testimony to her success, are the accolades she has clinched including Greatest Loser, Woman of the Year and Miss Slinky.

“I have a new lease of life. I have got the energy to want to do things. Nothing is an effort now,” says Emma.

Looking back on her weight loss journey, Emma says: “I was ashamed I had got to that size.”

Now she couldn’t be more proud after making it through to the finals of the Slimming World Woman of the Year awards. “It was absolutely amazing,” says Emma, referring to the inspirational people she met.

Her advice to anyone who is making a New Year’s resolution to lose weight is? “Stick to it and don’t rush to lose weight. The weight will just come off as and when it wants.”

She also recommends not to set ridiculously high targets. “Don’t be in a rush and be proud if you have lost - be proud of what you have achieved."

Nicola Barker, Slimming World Consultant and Team Developer, says: “I remember the day Emma walked into group alongside her mum Elaine, she was really shy and nervous. She’s a fabulous member in group; so passionate, enthusiastic and inspiring to everyone who meets her - Emma achieving her dream weight with Slimming World radiated - inspiring members to go forth and achieve their dreams too! I am incredibly proud of Emma for everything she has achieved, she is the most beautiful person inside and out.”

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