DESPERATE to lose weight and slip into a glitzy ballgown, Kathryn Hamer always struggled for the extra motivation she needed to shed those last few pounds.
Yo-yo diets came and went without any long term success and she soon piled the weight back on again.
It was only when she was struck down by a painful bout of gallstones that Kathryn, from Longlevens, decided to give a lifestyle change one more try with Slimming World.
She has since lost four stone.
She said: “I had my first gallstone attack in December 2012 when an ambulance had to be called.
“I had never been so scared or felt so much pain in all my life.
“I thought I was going to explode from the inside out and die. After this attack I went to the doctor to find out what was wrong and after a series of tests it was established that I had gallstones.
“I was given leaflets to read through to help me understand what they are and how they are caused.
“It was at this point that I looked back and realised that my whole way of life had caused this due to the high intake of fatty foods.
“I had regular takeaways, far too much cheese in any one day, butter dripping off toast and piled high on bread for sandwiches.
“A combination of all these foods resulted in my body creating these stones that would go on to cause me several hospital visits.
“I was admitted hospital for a weekend and eventually had an operation to remove my gallbladder.
“During this time of my life, I felt the control slipping away from me as the gallstones were then forcing me to eat healthily rather than me deciding I wanted to and every time I rebelled against them, I ended up back in hospital.
“Rebellion had always been an issue from childhood, my mother used to watch what I was eating, and try to stop me with words of encouragement which just made me turn into a secret eater, so I could recognise the danger in the situation I was in.”
Kathryn joined a Slimming World group last year and took on a healthy eating programme.
Since then she has kept out of hospital and has not just lost weight, but has also stopped having panic attacks.
Her Slimming World consultant, Sam Summerfield, said: “Kathryn tried many diets before but never stuck to it.
“Her friend was coming to Slimming World and suggested she came with her. She has since lost over four stone in a year and wore a very revealing costume for her tour with her local skittles team.
“Unfortunately Kathryn suffered as a result of being overweight for so long. The amount of stress she put on her body was dire – when she lost weight her gall bladder reacted badly.
“She is so dedicated to her group and what she has achieved that she came to group the day she came out of hospital from her op, I have never before seen commitment like that.”
Kathryn has since been nominated as a district finalist for Slimming World’s biggest competition, Woman of the Year.