As Emma Huston’s weight rose steadily her self confidence was on a downward spiral.

Every time someone mentioned going out or attending a family gathering she panicked desperately trying to find a reason not to go.

At just over 17 stone Emma, 36, knew it was time for a drastic change in her life.  But she’d almost tried every trick in the book but nothing would help her shift the weight that was now ruling and ruining her life.

The full-time accounts and payroll administrator from Cloughmills in Co Antrim dreaded shopping, feared talking about food and even avoided her doctor who blamed everything on her weight.

Suffering from eczema, asthma and debilitating food intolerances for Emma a change of lifestyle was crucial to break the cycle.  Having battled from depression in the past she was worried about relapsing.

“I’d tried other diets but nothing would work.  I managed to lose about a stone after seeing a dietician but it was hard work and any progress I was making had almost ground to a halt” explained Emma.

“I have both a wheat allergy and an intolerance of dairy.  I have absolutely no tolerance level of either one and was really quite ill every time I ate before I discovered the intolerances.

“At times I couldn’t eat enough to fill me before I would feel full, bloated and unwell so would quickly become hungry after meals and sit eat crisps, chocolate, biscuits and more instead.  

“I also had asthma which was always classed as very unstable, as well as eczema mainly in my hands which would split and bleed just from moving my fingers.

“On top of that I was on medication for high blood pressure.”

Life was bad for Emma.  Although she’d been living with her fiance for over a decade she dreaded the even thought of being centre of attention on her wedding day.

I would avoid social situations especially if there was eating involved because I would feel so uncomfortable, and would worry about becoming ill” she said.

“I would dread being invited out because that would usually mean need to go shopping for something new to wear.

“I knew I was overweight and would dread going to doctor’s appointments because I knew no matter what I was there for my weight would be mentioned.  I would then become very emotional.

“I suffered from depression in the past and was always very worried that I would end up back in a dark place by shutting myself away because I was so unhappy with how I looked.”

At her lowest, Emma began snapping at friends and family at the very mention of her weight or eating habits.  As a result she avoided being around them.

“I would make excuses not to attend even family gatherings as it made me so uncomfortable, so invitations became less and less.”

Every day became a struggle she admits: “I found myself becoming very tired easily and just having no energy, which made me want to do less and sit around more eating rubbish.”

Earlier this year Emma decided that something had to be done.  Inspired by her sister in law Lesley Bolton, who had lost six stone herself, she decided to give the WeSlimTogether plan a try.

“I joined WeSlimTogether online in around April this year.  I had thought about signing up for a long time but I was so worried about my food allergies, I had convinced myself they would make it overly complicated.

“To date I’ve lost over three and a half stone.

“I feel great! I have more energy and am getting my confidence back. I enjoy meals so much now and actually look forward to eating.”

Now at a comfortable 11stone 6lbs WeSlimTogether online member Emma’s life has changed dramatically.

“My biggest challenge was getting used to eating a breakfast because I hadn’t done that in years” she said.

“I no longer avoid talking about food and eating! In fact, I am always talking about food now.

“I’ve still a little way to go as I want to lose a little more.  However, I feel a lot better about myself now.  I even chose to wear an actual dress to a recent friends wedding.”

Emma’s also making up for all that time lost out with her family.

“I think I really realised that I had turned my life around when instead of avoiding attending a family event I organised a birthday meal out for my dad for my whole extended family.  This was exactly the sort of thing I would have avoided even going to before.”

And her health has taken a positive turn too.

“At a recent asthma review appointment, my asthma nurse told me she now classes my asthma as stable and under control.  

“I hardly ever need to use my reliever medication and haven’t had any asthma related episodes in a very long time.

“My eczema flare ups are also now few and far between, and my blood pressure medication has been reduced to a quarter of what it used to be. The doctor is expecting to stop it completely at my next review appointment.”

Do you want to start your journey for better health? Join a group on online today.