A mum-of-three who ballooned to a size 20 in the 20 years after having her first child decided enough was enough when she reached her mid-forties.
Diane Smith, 46, of Rosehill, Burnley, used to hate summer because it was often too hot to hide her size under big coats and dresses.
“For the rest of the year I used to walk with my head down hoping no one would notice me. But in summer when I had to put a pair of shorts on I was so self-conscious, and I just hated that time of year,” she said.
Diane, now a spritely size 12, admits she was never a sporty person and she would always catch a bus or take a taxi rather than walk.
But taking part in the Lancashire County Council health initiative Your Mile Your Way will literally be taken in her stride.
The project will see people across Lancashire being asked to walk, run, hop, skip, jump or swim a mile on 18th May.
The aim is to encourage at least 24,901 people across the county to pledge to take part on Your Mile Your Way Day. The figure is the number of miles it would take to go around the world.
Diane said: “Your Mile Your Way is a great way to motivate people who don’t normally take exercise to get involved and I will be throwing my weight – although it’s not as much as it used to be – behind it!”
In 2015, Diane’s mum Shirley Broxton was diagnosed with terminal cancer and it had a life-changing effect on Diane.
She said: “Around that time I went to the doctor and was told I was on the cusp of being diabetic and as I got older, I would have to inject myself with insulin. I was told I had to start being active or I’d be very ill later.”
That was enough for Diane to decide the time was right to do something about her size.
She explained: “I was referred to an exercise programme Up & Active at St Peter’s Sports Centre in Burnley. Apart from the exercises, we also talked about diet and what was good to eat and what wasn’t.”
Up until then Diane, office manager at Northbridge Vending in Burnley, used to skip breakfast and then snack on fast food, crisps, chocolates and cappuccinos during the day. Once home, she confesses she loved to have chips with her meals and once sitting down to watch TV would eat more crisps and chocolates.
Once Diane started to put some discipline into her everyday life, her eating habits changed and she started to regularly attend the gym.
She said: “One simple solution was to just use a smaller bowl when putting my food out. The smaller portions worked great. I started having breakfast which is a must to get the metabolism working. I take an apple, a banana, a tangerine and grapes to work to eat as snacks and at lunchtime I have a soup with oatcakes.
“For tea I might have wholemeal brown pasta with a nice sauce. All the time though the portions are smaller than I used to eat.”
Generally, Diane’s life has changed enormously.
“I can go clothes shopping with my daughter now and go into shops I would never have entertained before,” said Diane. “In fact, my daughter borrows some of my clothes now which would never ever have happened before!”
Diane and teacher husband Daniel make going to the gym together as part of their weekly routine. And the threat of diabetes? Well, that’s just a distant memory now.
To sign up and pledge your mile, visit http://www.yourmileyourway.co.uk
Picture caption: Diane Smith (left) and Linda Searle, operational manager for Up & Active Burnley, with comedian Ted Robbins, who launched Your Mile Your Way campaign.