A WOMAN who has shed more than half of her own body weight in under two years has launched her own slimming group to encourage others to follow suit.

Annette Garner, of Newton Aycliffe, had already starting losing weight, after she was upset when she saw photographs of herself, before joining a local Slimming World group.

The mother-of-four is adamant that everyone can transform their life if they follow the simple rules of eating and cooking.

"After learning how much losing weight changed my life, I wanted to help other people to feel the same way," she said. "I managed to lose more than 11 stone in less than 18 months of joining Slimming World.

"I had already started dieting by myself because I hated having my photograph taken with my kids and I was missing out so many days out because I was too embarrassed for them to be seen out in public with me.

"Since I lost the weight, my quality of life has improved so much but more importantly my children's lives have improved drastically as well because we are out and about all the time and we all eat healthily as a family."

Earlier this year, the 39-year-old won a place at the semi-finals of Slimming World's Woman of the Year 2017 at its Derbyshire head office after losing a whopping 10st 13lbs – she has since received her certificate for losing 13 stone.

Having been voted by members of her Coundon and Leeholme group to be their representative in the contest, she went on to triumph at the at the regional heat to bag a spot in the semi-finals.

Despite losing out on securing the winning title, Ms Garner was congratulated by Emmerdale star Adam Thomas.

And after her success at shedding the pounds, Ms Garner is hoping to inspire others to follow suit.

She said: "People really don't need to worry about being hungry when they are a member of the group – you can pretty much eat whatever you want as long as it is within reason.

"You can eat a healthy and balanced diet by altering a few simple things when cooking such as using a reduced fat products, using spray oil and avoiding food full of sugar.

"Since I started losing weight I have cooked all of my own food and it really is a lot easier than I expected it to be. If you make your own soup, always make enough to freeze, then you have some ready for days when you don't have time to cook."

  • Her group launches on New Year's Day in the Neville Community Centre, Neville Parade, Newton Aycliffe, at 7.30pm.
  • Anyone interested in joining can come along on the night or alternatively you can call 07974-696241.