A HOLIDAY photo spurred overweight Paula McDonald into shedding more than SEVEN stone.
Disgusted and embarrassed, the 47-year-old was spurred into action when she saw the picture of herself, as well as another taken at a ball in her size 20 dress.
The mum-of-one, of Houghton, swiftly signed up to a Rosemary Conley slimming class to help her shift the stones she had piled on over the previous 10 years.
During her first weigh-in, Paul tipped the scales at 17 stone, but 20 months later she has successfully shed 7st 2lb.
Now weighing 9st 12lb, Paula has swapped her drab size 20 dresses for a new wardrobe of size 10 clobber.
Paula said: “One of the best moments was buying a size 10 dress at Christmas.
“When I thought back to the awful dress I had to wear at the ball a few years ago, I felt like a different woman.”
Paula’s weight started spiralling out of control 10 years ago after she gave birth to her daughter Holly.
“My downfall was dairy products and my favourite snack was buttered toast,” she said.
“Although I’m a vegetarian, I was never that keen on vegetables and I hardly ever ate salad. Even when I had a yogurt, it was always a full-fat one and I also loved sugary fizzy drinks.”
As a result of her weight gain, Paula suffered from low self-esteem and her self-confidence hit an all-time low.
So when a friend asked her to go along to a Rosemary Conley class it was the best thing that could have happened to her.
Paula said: “I enrolled in the class on April 1, 2010, and when I found out I weighed 17st, I thought it was a joke.
“I thought I weighed around 15st, which would have been bad enough, but 17st sounded so terrible.
“No one made me feel self-conscious and everyone was welcoming and enthusiastic.”
In her first week, Paula lost 6lb and went on to lose weight at a steady rate.
Paula is now hoping her success story will inspire others. She is also sharing the story of her months of battling the bulge in the April edition of Rosemary Conley Diet & Fitness magazine.
For details of Rosemary Conley Diet and Fitness classes in Sunderland and Boldon, phone Christine Williams on 549 5455 or visit www.rosemaryconley.com.
Wearsiders battling the bulge
WEARSIDERS are proving they’ve got the bottle to budge the bulge.
Last week, former heavyweight Kevin McLernon was crowned ITV’s Biggest Loser 2012 after shedding 40 per cent of his body weight. The property developer, of Seaburn Dene, won £25,000 after dropping from 32st 2lb to 19st 4lb in six months.
Kevin, 38, said: “It was about completely transforming my life.
“I really wanted to win, to know that I had completed it to the end and done everything I possibly could.”