After a lifetime of 'fad' diets, none that ever worked, Jules Pritchard had always battled with her weight.
But when it began to dramatically affect her health, and she was diagnosed with arthritis, high blood pressure and fibromyalgia, it was the wake up call Jules needed to take drastic action.
Jules, who has shed an incredible six stone in 18 months, said: "My struggling joints gave me so much pain that even going out shopping was becoming unbearable.
"I knew that, if I didn’t act, I was facing a lifetime of reduced mobility and worsening health. Something had to change but the question was – where to start?”
Struggling with her weight since childhood, Jules often hid her lack of self esteem and confidence with humour and a bubbly nature.
“I was always the plump one in my group of friends and would mask my feelings by making jokes and being the first to put myself down. I wanted to be accepted so badly and this was my way of doing so," she said.
Going it alone seemed a daunting, if not impossible, task and Jules knew that if she was to succeed in changing her lifestyle she needed help and support.
Jules, who has three sons and five grandchildren, added: "I have tried many fad diets over the years, losing weight only to regain it."
Jules decided to join Slimming World in Burnley and said she knew 'instantly' she would get everything she needed to lose weight. Becoming a regular at classes led by Caroline Griffiths at Turf Moor and Jennifer Blevins at St Catherine’s Church community room, Jules said: "I was made to feel so welcome, everyone was so warm and friendly and understood exactly how I felt.
"Once I learned about Slimming World’s Extra Easy Eating plan I knew that this was a change I could embrace and be successful with – it was a huge relief."
With some simple changes to the way she shopped, cooked and ate, Jules soon found the pounds falling away and the continued encouragement and support of the group aided her success.
The improvement in her health and wellbeing has been phenomenal and the symptoms of her arthritis and fibromyalgia significantly reduced.
So at the age of 65, Jules has never felt better or fitter!
The weight loss has been life changing for Jules and she admits that her bubbliness and humour is now completely genuine as she has no need to mask her feelings anymore.
She said: "My life has changed completely since losing weight. I am so much more active and love to challenge myself – I have swam with dolphins, been on a zipwire and climbed Mount Vesuvius."
But Jules, who lives in Weir near Bacup, admits her proudest moment came when she could stand tall and confident at her son's wedding instead of hiding at the back while photograpsh were taken as she always used to at family occasions.
And Jules is putting that new found confidence and good health towards conquering another challenge. For has trained to become a Slimming World consultant, an extra string to Jules' bow working in childcare and teaching.
Jules' classes begin on on Monday, January 20th at Read and Simonstone village hall at 7pm.