A MUM-of-three who ‘used food as a comfort’ has lost an incredible eight stone.

Gillian Clitheroe, who last year weighed 23st 9lbs, went from snacking on sweet treats, to planning her meals in advance, swapping fatty foods for lean meat, fruit and vegetables.

And in just 12 months, the 63-year-old had dropped from a size 28 to a size 16, weighing in at 15st 8lbs.

Mrs Clitheroe, from Clayton-le-Moors, said: “Losing the weight has given me self-confidence and self-belief, which enables me to stand tall and stand up for myself again.

“I am now enjoying a healthier lifestyle and that in turn encourages me to go out more and socialise again.

“I enjoy time out shopping with my daughter in ordinary shops, not just for the larger girls.”

After struggling with her weight since being a teen, and trying a number of diets over the years, Mrs Clitheroe saw her weight rise when she met husband, Alan, and gave birth to their three children.

But with retirement approaching she decided to reclaim her life and joined a Weight Watchers class at Clayton-le-Moors Baptist Church, Sparth Road, in May 2018.

Stepping on the scales and seeing the number shoot past 20st, she said: “I expected my weight to be worse than it was but it was still bad.

“The programme includes a lot of new foods such as egg, chicken and turkey breast, unsmoked fish and fruit and vegetables and it was so easy to follow.”

Within the first couple of weeks, Mrs Clitheroe, who enjoyed going to concerts with her daughter but struggled standing for long periods of time, had lost 10lbs and headed off to an Ed Sheeran concert feeling healthier and fitter.

And one year on, she said the plan and tools available to her on Weight Watchers have been so valuable.

She said: “I can plan meals in advance and can track everything. I avoid taking trips if I’m hungry and enjoy treats by planning them into my daily meals.

“It’s helped keep me focussed.”

Now more than 100lbs lighter, Mrs Clitheroe has been able to enjoy two concerts recently and says life is good.

She said: “One concert included a shopping trip for me and dressing-up to go out for food and cocktails.

“And at the other, I wore leggings and a shorter dress and it was standing only at the venue but I stood all night no problem.”