JOANNE Slater is almost half the woman she used to be after losing a staggering eight stone in time for her Christmas celebrations.

Joanne, 55, of South Woodham Ferrers, lost eight stone 13lbs after experiencing pain and high blood pressure – signs that she thought were side-effects of menopause.

Describing herself as “permanently overweight, unhealthy and a secret eater”, she joined Weight Watchers weighing in at 19 stone.

Joanne said: “My weekly losses weren’t huge but steady and regular and I felt brilliant.

“By the end of the first year I had lost six-and-a-half stone, but the best news was I no longer needed blood pressure medication, my readings were normal healthy readings with no pills.

“After ten years on medication I was thrilled and knew the plan was doing so much for my health and wellbeing and the aches and pains I had excused as age were all gone.”

A self-confessed serial-dieter, she has now ditched the tubes of Pringles and tubs of Haagen-Dazs for healthier options and walks daily with her two dogs.

She added: “I love the way I look and feel. I catch myself in the mirror and just giggle at my reflection, how did that happen?

“My energy levels are great and for the first time in my life that I can remember; I actually feel like the person I wanted to be.

“I’m currently maintaining and sticking with good habits learned over the past 18 months and replacing my love of overeating with a love for the way I look and feel.

“I did it! My energy levels are so much higher with no aches and pains.

“And the dogs are very grateful – their walks are much longer now.

“I say yes to every invite to go out now instead of making excuses not to be seen in public.”

Joanne has gone from a size 26 to a size ten and says she is now looking forward to Christmas.