A WOMAN who shed almost ten stones after struggling to climb the stairs is to lead her own weight loss group.

Inspirational slimmer Pauline Smith, who works in a Durham clothes store, dropped six dress sizes, changing so much customers hardly recognize her.

The 37-year-old was tipping the scales at 20 stones, but now, 14 months later she is a trim ten-and-a-half.

The mother-of-four said: “I couldn’t get up and down the stairs without getting out of breath. I could not look after my children properly. There was a time I went to my daughter’s bedroom on the top floor and I had to sit down for five minutes to rest.”

Ms Smith, of Chester-le-Street, admits she was not eating a healthy diet, adding: “It was rubbish, just takeaways and fried food, all the wrong stuff. I was eating at the wrong times.”

Ms Smith joined Slimming World in November 2016 and swapped junk food for lean meat with the fat cut off, vegetables and salad.

She said: “I saw the banner, walked in and it changed my life totally. I was really nervous so it was hard and that was the worst thing about it.

“Once I was through it was fine. It was the best decision I have ever made.

“I have been eating traditional food, but Slimming World style, by following their recipes. I have never been hungry at all and that is why I stuck to it and it has worked.”

Ms Smith said she has not been exercising much, other than ‘a couple of Zumba classes’ attributing her dramatic weight loss to the shift in diet.

She is now to lead classes herself with sessions at the Masonic Hall in Chester-le-Street on Thursdays at 9.30am and 11.30am. The first is on July 19.

Ms Smith: “I would advise anyone who would like to lose weight to take the plunge like I did and walk through that door.

“There was a one time when I was out shopping and my mam and dad walked past me because they did not recognise me.

“Sometimes people I have not seen for a long time come into work and do not know who I am.

“The change has really been that dramatic.

“I am really pleased with what I have achieved.

“I am over the moon.”