I knew I would be able to find people in Bridlington who had stories which would inspire me to lose weight and get fitter. I didn’t think I would find someone as remarkable as Anna Yardley though.
She has lost almost eight stones in eight months.
This time last year, Ann, who is a social worker, weighed around 19 stones and wore size 24 clothes.
Last weekend, the scales showed around 11-and-a-half stones and she was thrilled to try on size 12 clothes which fitted perfectly.
Why the sudden transformation?
She said: “I went to see my GP because I was quite stressed and do a stressful job.
“We spoke about making changes and she said ‘while you are here, shall we start tackling your weight?’
“My BMI was over 45 and we spoke about the Live Well programme.
“It was just before they closed the old gym in Gypsey Road in April 2016 and I started my Live Well journey.
The mother-of-two, who was born and bred in Bridlington, was absolutely terrified of what lay ahead.
She said: “I was petrified. If my teenage daughter hadn’t come with me, I wouldn’t have got out of the car.
“From a female point of view, I thought it would be full of beautiful, toned lycra-clad women. For me, finding clothes was a problem.
“What could I wear? I couldn’t buy gym clothes in my size because they didn;t make them that big.
“I’m not an athletic person, I never represented my school at sport, but I genuinely enjoy the classes at East Riding Leisure. It sounds like a cliche but it’s not.
“I literally live at the gym now, it is my second home.
“I have not had any surgery, it is all from hard work. I have done it through healthy eating - eat less and move more.
“It has been absolutely life-changing. I feel completely differently mentally. You don;t realise how being that large affects you.
“I can go into normal shops and buy clothes. Everything used to be so embarrassing because of my size. It’s so stressful.
“It is also the first thing everybody notices about you.”
Being overweight had been a problem for Anna, who is 38, for two decades.
“I have been this big since I was about 20. It had almost got to the stage where I had accepted I would always be like that.”
Now she goes to exercise classes five or six times a week, and is closing in on hitting the eight-stone mark in her weight loss journey.
What simple advice can she give to anyone wanting to lose weight?
“Have plenty of fruit in the house so you can reach for that instead of chocolate bars if you really are hungry.
“And take healthy snack out with you, so you don’t nip into the shops or the petrol station.
“And once the weight starts to come off, that really helps you to do it even more.”
After the incredible change, Anna’s Live Well programme is coming to an end soon, and she needs a new challenge to motivate her.
And the brilliant news is she has agreed to join the Reluctant Runners team and work towards doing the Sewerby Parkrun with me at the end of May.