KATY Mathers’ graduation was life-changing - in more ways than one.

Katy, like many students, had spent years studying and was now on the verge of entering the world of work - but instead of feeling ambitious and ready to make her mark on the world in a new career Katy was lacking in confidence.

The reality of seeing herself in her graduation photographs prompted Katy to take action - studying while undertaking her degree in English and History at University had led to a more sedentary lifestyle.

“I have always been overweight my whole life - as long as I can remember,” she explains.

The 22-year-old, from Baildon, had tried dieting. “But not really with any success,” she says.

She recalls being her heaviest while undertaking her degree in English and History at University when her lifestyle became more sedentary through studying.

Seeing her graduation photos made her put her life into perspective.

“After I finished at university I got to my heaviest - I was 19 stone 6 and I was verging on 20 stone. I thought ‘this has got to stop,’” recalls Katy.

“When I got my graduation photos I was mortified what I looked like. I wanted to get a graduate job and I felt I would be judged by people.

“I wanted to go out into the professional world and present myself as I wanted to be seen.”

Katy says she felt losing weight would make her feel more confident about herself.

So she put her action plan into place and joined her local WW group - the Wellness programme formerly known as Weightwatchers.

From then on Katy overhauled her lifestyle - and not just her diet. She joined a local gym and was visiting five and six times a week.

This combination of keeping active; eating healthily, swapping sugary cereals for a boiled egg and low calorie bread for breakfast, preparing a homemade sandwich for lunch instead of the usual meal deal baguette and sweet treat, avoiding processed food for evening meals, cutting out snacking and generally controlling her portion sizes contributed to Katy’s slimming success.

Within 15 months she had achieved her goal weight. “I lost exactly eight stone,” she says proudly.

Katy dropped from her previous 22/24 dress size to a size 10/12.

“The first five stone came off really quickly. Activity was a massive part of it. I was going to the gym five/six times a week. I always try to do something active and also following the WW plan,” explains Katy.

“They have an app that you use to track things you eat and I have used that every day and it has been absolute key for me,” says Katy, explaining how it enables her to stick to her daily allowance.

“It is so easy to see what you are eating.”

She says following the plan has made her ‘much more mindful’ of everything she eats and she admits seeing the weight coming off gave her the impetus to get to goal - and maintain her healthy lifestyle.

Katy, who works as an editorial assistant for a publishing company, still attends the WW meeting on Saturday mornings in Shipley.

“It’s good to keep on track and I love going to the meetings,” she says.

Now she is hoping her weightloss experience will inspire others...

“It is life changing - it’s hard to quantify in words but it’s hard for me to even remember what my life was before I lost all the weight.

“I do feel transformed and it is amazing,” says Katy.

She says one of the many benefits of losing weight is being able to fit into clothes from high street stores and not having to rely on buying plus size clothing.

“Leaving the house is easier, I don’t spend so much time obsessing what I look like, ‘can I wear this?’

“ I feel more confident in myself and being more active is better.”

Katy enjoys walking and is also hoping to conquer the Three Peaks.

“ I like to go walking in the countryside and I want to do the Three Peaks this year - things I couldn’t have done before.”

Katy says she also feels she can identify with being herself rather than as she was.

“I have reclaimed who I am. It is life changing.”

And her advice to others who may be contemplating overhauling their lifestyles?

“The rewards outweigh any struggles you may have along the way and also don’t be daunted by it.

“Take it one day, one week at a time and it is well worth it. I would recommend it to anyone,” adds Katy.

Caroline Settle who coaches the WW workshop at Shipley Northcliffe Church and Community Hall says: “Katy is truly amazing.

“She has so much confidence now, she is not the same person, she goes out with friends, goes on holiday and really loves life.

“I am so proud of her. She is such an inspiration to other members in the Workshop she is full of energy and has a real zest for life.”