A DUBLIN woman has told how she managed to lose half her body weight after embarking on a health and fitness regime.
Elaine Forsyth (42), who lives in Dun Laoghaire, now weighs a trim nine and half stone -- down from the 18 and a half stone she was at her heaviest.
It took her a year and two months to get to the ideal weight for her 5ft 4in frame, and she said the 9st weight loss had made such a difference.
She is now enjoying taking swimming lessons for the first time, and a whole raft of active hobbies including jogging and boxing.
Elaine can empathise with the people who recently participated in Operation Transformation, the RTE diet and exercise programme, and the UK show The Biggest Loser hosted by Davina McCall which she watched.
"I can understand how they are feeling and how much it means to them. They did really well," she said.
She said that she began her bid to lose weight in 2009, having turned 40 earlier that year. "I was very aware of the health implications obesity has, and knew something had to be done," she said.
She said that she felt she had to do something to get healthy and feel better in herself.
"I joined my local Weight Watchers class and started to lose a couple of pounds a week. By Christmas, I had lost four stone without even trying to exercise -- the healthy eating just made it come off," she said.
And from the beginning of last year, she embarked on getting active as well as maintaining her healthy eating lifestyle.
"So I started walking every day which then led on to joining a gym and now I work out five to six times a week and jog," she said.
Elaine, who has been married to James for 18 years, said her husband had been very supportive and helped her with her training, as he has attended a gym for many years.
She said that she began putting on weight when she was still in secondary school at the age of 15 or 16. "I was a good size 16 getting married at the age of 23, and from then on, I never addressed it until a couple of years ago."
She said that previously she would have eaten a lot of pre-prepared meals and takeaways. "Now I cook everything from scratch."
Her advice to others in the same boat is that: "It can be done." She pointed out that, no matter what someone's circumstances are, it doesn't cost anything to walk. "There are loads of walking groups I have come across."
And she advised: "Go back to cooking things from scratch."