Burnley mum Melanie hailed a true inspiration after shedding an incredible 12 stone
Always being the first one to make a joke about her weight made sure that Melanie Jones was protected from any hurtful jibes.
But while she pretended be bubbly and happy with her ballooning size Melanie hated what she saw in the mirror.
She had tried so many times to lose weight after it started to pile on when she began comfort eating at the age of 13 when her dad died suddenly of a heart attack.
Melanie later sought more solace in food when she lost her baby son halfway through her pregnancy. That was when the binge eating in secret began.
She said: "I thought nothing of eating a share bar of chocolate to myself followed by crisps, cakes and biscuits, all before the school run!"
The mum of four did try to shed the pounds and she gave every food plan, pill and portion a try but nothing ever worked and Melanie would soon give up a few weeks into her diet.
Melanie said: "Looking back I wanted quick fix results rather than really dealing with my issues with food but I thought I had got so overweight it was impossible to ever lose it."
As she didn't really know how to cook, meals were always quick and easy and Melanie describes takeaways as her "nemesis" with kebabs, fish and chips or pizza on the menu three or four times a week.
Melanie was at her heaviest at 22-and-a-half-stone and she struggled to walk up the stairs without getting out of breath. She endured pain on her knees from carrying the extra weight and there was no way she had any energy to keep up with her young children.
A nurse at her GP practise suggested she give Slimming World a try and Melanie was encouraged by the idea but Melanie had so little confidence it took her whole month to pluck up the courage to walk into the room.
Melanie, who lives in Burnley, said: "It was January, 2016 and I was met by the most friendliest group of people who were all so welcoming and kind to me that I instantly felt part of the group."
Within the first two weeks of following the plan Melanie had lost over half-a-stone and it was the support of other group members and her husband Neil and their children that kept them going.
Melanie who has two daughters, Bethany (18) and 16-year-old Robyn Howarth, said: "I realised that I could still eat all the foods I enjoyed like pasta, rice, potatoes and even chocolate but still lose weight.
"I started making "fakeaways" so I could still enjoy pizza, kebabs and burgers but all made from scratch."
Nineteen months after starting Melanie had lost half her body weight... 12 stone in total and dropped from a size 24/26 to a svelte size eight to 10.
In September last year Melanie was voted the group's Woman of the Year where she got through to the semi-finals and was in the final 10 out of 900,000 women in the UK.
Melanie said: "I felt like Cinderella going to the ball in my first ever size 10 ball gown."
Melanie was thrillled to meet Slimming World founder Margaret Miles Bramwell, actor Adam Thomas and singer Peter Andre.
For the first time ever Melanie has a healthy BMI and the energy for family days out, playing football with her sons Kieran (12) and 11-year-old Kye Jones and she has also taken up running. Melanie even went to her first water park last year.
She said: "I am much more confident now knowing I am in control of food rather than food controlling me.
"And just being comfortable in my own skin is the best feeling to have.
"Since losing the weight I have done more in the last year than I have in years."
Melanie's family are so proud of her success and dedication to her plan and they would all punch the air for every pound she lost.
She said: "They say I am a much more positive person than I was before and Robyn said she will never give up on her dreams because I never gave up on mine."
Melanie now hopes to inspire others as she is starting a new career as a Slimming World consultant with a brand new group launching on Wednesday, July 4th at the Salvation Army citadel in Richard Street, Burnley at 7pm.
She said: "I will be putting all my new found energy and motivation into helping people achieve their dream weight too."
For anyone who would like more information Melanie can be contacted on 07504511668.