MIRACLE mum is feeling half the woman she used to be after shedding 13st.
Gillian Close made it to the top 10 of Slimming World’s Woman of the Year 2013 competition after dropping from 23st 9.5lb to just 10st 3.5lb.
The mum of three, from Peterlee, missed out on the overall top spot, but is delighted with her new image.
Gillian, 39, a civil servant for the Passport Office in Durham, joined the local Slimming World group, which meets every Monday from 5pm to 7pm at Peterlee Methodist Church, in January 2012.
And her amazing transformation inspired members of the group to vote for her as their representative in the annual competition, where she got to meet former Westlife star Bryan McFadden.
She said: “I’d tried losing weight before but I always failed miserably because the diets I followed would leave me feeling hungry and deprived – and so I’d be miserable. I’d miss my favourite foods too much, so before long I’d have thrown in the towel and be back where I started.
“If ever my motivation did start to fade, my consultant and the rest of the group were there to remind me how far I’d come. We laugh a lot and celebrate our success too, and I’ve made so many friends that I love going to my group every week. Thanks to them – and my weight loss – I’m slimmer, but my smile is so much bigger.”
Amanda Tate, who runs the Peterlee group where Gillian goes, added: “Nowadays she’s unrecognisable from the shy, unhappy woman who walked into the group all those months ago. She’s happier, healthier and more confident, and her success is contagious.”