An army wife from Hadleigh achieved her goal of looking “like a princess” in time for a Christmas ball after losing more than three stone.
Laura MacDonald, 35, from Oxford Drive, struggled with her weight after her second pregnancy.
At only 4ft 9in tall, she weighed over 12 stone and suffered from low self-esteem.
“I hated myself and the way I looked,” said Mrs MacDonald.
“Getting ready to go out was an emotional roller coaster; my entire wardrobe was strewn across the room and I would be a blubbering mess in the corner.”
In 2006, she relocated to Yorkshire with her husband, Neil, who was assigned to a unit there.
Mrs MacDonald, who is originally from Wiltshire, found the move difficult.
“I had the baby blues and it developed from there,” she said.
“I didn’t know anyone, I was over weight and depressed.”
She lacked energy and felt embarrassed when she went on trips to theme parks with her children, Asia-Mai, 14, and Ewuan, 11.
“I used to feel a bit embarrassed getting into the seats,” she said. “And I found it exhausting walking around.”
Last year, she committed to shedding the pounds by joining Slimming World in Hadleigh.
“In the beginning, it was quite hard,” said Mrs MacDonald.
“But, after that, I never looked back.”
But support from fellow members, together with the social benefits of meeting new people, became a huge motivator.
“Being an army wife is hard as we have say goodbye to people all the time,” said Mrs MacDonald.
“Slimming World is like a little family. I made a lot of friends.”
As she began to lose weight, Mrs MacDonald received compliments from friends on her progress, which encouraged her to keep going.
Eight months after joining, she had managed to reach her target weight, having lost more than three stone.
“I felt like the old me,” she said.
“I thought I had lost myself.”
Mrs MacDonald accompanied her husband to an annual Christmas ball, feeling confident.
“I wanted to look like a princess,” she said.
Since reaching her target weight, she has become a Slimming World consultant and is now looking forward to supporting other members.
“I just want to encourage people to believe in themselves,” said Mrs MacDonald.
“It doesn’t have to be a chore. They shouldn’t feel like they have to say no to food.
“They have to work to incorporate it into their diet.”