SHE may have only gone along to give her sister moral support but, more than two years on from her first diet club meeting, Zee Quraishi is a new woman.

The 26-year-old has shed an amazing eight stones and is now in the running to be crowned Slimmer of the Year. Unlike many women who turn to slimming groups, Zee had no real concerns about her weight;.

Looking back, she now sees how unhealthy her eating regime had become.

“I was looking at a photo recently from when I was bigger and thought: ‘Was I really that large?’ because I don’t remember it,” she said.

“My sister was going to the diet club with friends from work but I said ‘No, I’m fine as I am’. But I tagged along and my sister fell off the wagon after a few weeks.

“The weight had started dropping off for me and I have never looked back.

“I used to be able to eat a copious amount of food and feel fine. Now I struggle after a big meal.”

While she walked regularly, it was only after her initial weight loss that Zee joined a gym, starting slowly by using cross trainers — as she watched the high intensity ‘spin’ cycling classes.

“I used to watch the skinny minnies killing themselves, going for it, and thinking I would never be able to do it,” she said.

“The time has gone by now and for the past 18 months I have been doing a spin class five times a week. It’s intense and hardcore but it’s really helped shift the weight.

“If I don’t get my exercise fix now I really miss it.”

The Slimming World diet Zee has followed, attending weekly classes at Blackburn Rugby Club, encourages home cooking and she has upped her intake of fruit and vegetables.

Zee, who works in the resources department at Blackburn with Darwen Council, has cut out takeaways and admits she ‘used to do bucketfuls of fried chicken’. That vice has been replaced by grilled meat, or stuffed peppers — her new favourite dish.

Guiding her through the weight loss was consultant Vicky Jackson. She said: “Zee’s results are stunning. Our group is so very proud of her.

“She is an inspiration and proof there is no need to starve yourself. Zee has changed her lifestyle and is happy, fit and healthy.”

The group has nominated Zee as its slimmer of the year and has put her forward for the national title — which carries a prize of a week in St Lucia or £3,000 cash.

Zee said: “It’s turned into a bit of a whirlwind really; people are talking about me as a success story at the club; which is really strange, as it just becomes part of life.

“I’ll try a dress on now, not expecting it to fit but it does and it looks great.

“Someone said to me once: ‘If you stop eating like a pig, you’ll stop looking like one’. And I can say that’s true.”