A BARRHEAD woman has told how she feels she has been given a new lease of life after shedding six stones in a weight loss challenge.

Helen Kelly, 61, used to weigh 17st 4lbs, which left her struggling to get through a three-minute walk to work.

But after ditching a diet of crisps and dips, alongside a few too many cheese and crackers, Helen has dropped from a size 24 to 12.

She now makes most of her meals from scratch and has reduced her portion sizes using food scales.

Helen told the Barrhead News these simple changes have transformed her life dramatically.

“The walk to my work would only have taken three minutes if I had been fit and healthy but, sadly, I wasn’t and even such a short journey every day became a real chore,” she said.

“I was attending my GP and they referred me to WW, which is the new Weight Watchers, to join the referral programme. I was dubious but I have to say it was the best decision I have ever made.

“Thanks to them, I am now six stones lighter and what a difference it has made to my life.

“Clothes shopping is now a pleasure and not a pain.

“I can walk the three minutes to work without stopping and am very happy to walk round the town without being out of breath. I’m loving the new lease of life.”

Helen admits her previous eating habits were out of control.

“I was just eating too much food,” she said. “I now use the WW cookbooks and app and I’m never stuck for something to make. I’m more adventurous with my cooking too.”

It wasn’t just losing weight that Helen was battling with, but also problems with asthma and her heart, which led to her receiving stents at the age of 48.

The problems had been genetic in her family but being overweight made life more difficult.

Now, after putting her health first and taking steps to turn things around, Helen is encouraging others who are struggling to do the same.

She added: “I never thought I could do it but I did – and so can you.

“My tips for success would be to attend your workshop every week for support and motivation, track all the foods you eat and prepare in advance.

“These were the steps that got me to where I am.”