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Wedding photo shocked me into losing 3 STONE

DUBLIN woman Emma Jayne Byrne went on a diet and dropped three dress sizes after she saw a photo of herself at a friend's wedding.

Emma (27) lost 3st and is one of 20 finalists in the Unislimmer Of The Year competition.

Emma, from Dalkey, felt so unattractive about her bigger shape and had been plagued by insecurities from an early age.

As a voluptuous size 16, she tried countless diets and began wearing black to look slimmer -- but the final straw point came when she spotted herself in a photo at a friend's wedding -- and her self-esteem hit rock bottom.

"When I saw the picture of myself in the crowd I was crushed -- you really couldn't miss me among my friends -- I easily stood out," the pretty blonde told the Herald.

"That pushed me into making a proper change with my attitude and my lifestyle. I didn't want this to be me -- feeling so low about myself and always being bigger than my friends."

Deciding to make a drastic change to her lifestyle, Emma enlisted the help of friend and diet mentor Nicky Doyle, who encouraged her to sign up to her local Unislim centre in Sandymount.

"I have been dieting since I was 18 and did everything from shake diets, syrup diets, and Atkins -- but I was always hungry and nothing ever seemed to work," said Emma, who now shows off an enviable size 10 figure, thanks to a maximising, five meals a day diet.

"Finding clothes to fit me was impossible -- I used to dread going shopping and it got to a point where I'd only wear long, dark T-shirts over leggings."

Now one year on, Emma can finally shop where she wants and has been nominated as a finalist in a national motivational competition.

One of 20 finalists hoping to be crowned the 2011 LowLow Unislimmer of the Year winner on Thursday, Emma will be donning glittering cocktail dresses given to her by boutique Fran and Jane to show off her toned curves.

"I've dropped from 12st 2lb to 9st and I'm absolutely chuffed -- I have become obsessed with dresses and high heels."

Now based in Dun Laoghaire with her boyfriend Karl Murphy (29), Emma threw out 10 full bags of her oversized clothing and insists she never wants to return to her old, glum self.

"Dieting is a massive undertaking and it totally changes your life -- it's definitely had a huge impact on my bank balance, but it's worth it," she said.

hnews@herald.ie