This time last year Heather Blair was horrified to see a photo of herself looking fatter than Santa.
She was so wide she almost totally obscured the Christmas tree behind her.
A year later and the new mum has transformed her life by losing six and a half stone.
And she told how she was first inspired to diet when she suffered severe morning sickness while pregnant with her first child.
Heather, 30, said: “When I look at photos of me from this time last year it’s hard to imagine how I ever got that big.
“But now I’m here I want to tell my story to inspire any stay-at-home mums that any excuses are only in your head.
“I’m proof that anyone can do this. Anyone can become the person they want to be.”
Heather – now a healthy 12st 7lb – ballooned to 19 stone simply by eating too much of the wrong food and not exercising.
“Working all day at a desk as a healthcare administrator, I did no exercise during the day and slowly sunk into bad diet habits,” she said.
“I was just happy, and loved my food, as well as going out to friends’ for dinner.”
Heather ordered takeaways with her partner of 12 years, Craig, rather than cooking at home in Burton-on-Trent, Staffs.
At work she went to a Drive-Thru McDonalds for lunch.
“I literally never cooked and Craig didn’t mind. He never put on weight because he had an active job working on the railways.
And he didn’t seem to mind as my clothes sizes grew by the year.
“My size 20 trousers were a squeeze to put on. I’d started having to buy my clothes online to find the sizes I needed or I’d have to buy maternity wear, cutting out the labels so Craig didn’t see.”
They decided to start a family and in March 2018 Heather found out she was expecting.
It was then that she started losing weight for the first time because of severe morning sickness.
It was so bad that by the time she gave birth to their son Ollie in October last year she had managed to lose one and a half stone.
She said: “It was the first time I’d ever lost proper weight and, while it wasn’t the route I’d have chosen, that definitely sowed a seed in my head.”
Holding Ollie, and lighter than she had been for years, she felt amazing. But the old habits were still there and over the coming weeks most of that weight crept back on.
The Christmas photo of herself looking huge was the final straw.
Heather said: “There was one where I was in front of the Christmas tree and you couldn’t see it behind me. I was so wide.
“I was mortified, knowing how quickly I’d slunk back to those same old bad habits. I knew I had to do something or I’d kill myself. I was clinically obese and had a family to think about now.”
A schoolfriend had recently lost two stone with Weight Watchers, and encouraged her to do something about her weight.
While Heather had tried diets before, this time she felt more motivated so she signed up online and started on January 1.
She said: “The amazing thing was that I never once felt deprived.
I learned to cook for the first time, even if it was healthier versions of the takeaways and restaurant options that had got me fat in the first place.
I ate really tasty, normal food, nothing like the diet food I thought I’d be stuck with.
“And because of the points system, I could store up any credits to have the occasional naughty treat. I went to Boots every Saturday morning to weigh myself and print out the results to stick on my fridge as motivation.”
Heather didn’t take up exercise as part of her plan because of “childcare issues”. She said: “I was so fat, I’d have hated being stared at by other gym-goers or passers-by, so I just focused on the diet to see how I got on.”
Within weeks the weight was falling off and by her 30th birthday last month she was a size 12.
Heather said: “I feel and look amazing and I don’t miss anything about my old life.
I’ve got the energy to play with Ollie in a way I wouldn’t have before. And my and Craig’s relationship is better than ever.
“It’s amazing to think none of this would’ve happened if it wasn’t for those days of horrific morning sickness.”
“Seeing photos of me this Christmas looking half the woman I was just 12 months ago is amazing. So 2020 is going to be a new dawn. I can’t wait.”