January is a time when lots of people decide to get in shape – but one Cornish woman took that vow to heart by losing eight stone in just one year.

When Colleen Avery made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight at the beginning of 2019 little did she know how successful she would be.

The 58-year-old had struggled with her weight on and off for most of her life since the age of 14.

She had tried to lose weight in the past but struggled as she’d be left feeling hungry and deprived, often ending up regaining the weight she lost plus more after she gave up.

At her heaviest she was starting to feel the strain both mentally and physically.

Colleen said: “I had always been fairly active but mobility became affected and shortness of breath was a major concern, as well as embarrassment.

“I was losing a lot of confidence with abilities and it had a big effect on my self-esteem. I was desperate.”

Last January Colleen decided to do something about her size once and for all, and joined her local Slimming World group based at Threemilestone’s WI headquarters.

“I was really nervous about walking into the group that first time. I figured there would be lots of new people joining the group as it was January and hoped I’d be able to blend into the background and not have to speak to anyone.

“Now I find it funny that I was so scared because I got such a warm welcome and I soon realised there was nothing to be worried about because we were all in the same boat – we all just wanted to lose weight.

“I honestly haven’t looked back since that day. I look forward to going to group every week now, it’s my ‘me’ time and I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” she said.

She lost 5lb in the first week, despite admitting she felt “dubious” that it would work, after being told how much she was still allowed to eat.

She has now started swimming, walking and cycling and said it had changed her mentally as well.

“I feel happier, healthier and have loads more confidence.

“This has been a truly life changing experience and one of the best decisions I have ever made,” she said.

Laura Matthews, who runs the Threemilestone Slimming World group that Colleen attends, said: “Colleen is proof that if you make small, manageable changes the way you cook and eat and get the right support it is possible to make your New Year’s resolutions a reality.

“It makes me feel sad to think that so many people will embark on unhealthy, restrictive plans this January because I know that they won’t be able to keep them up for longer than a few days or weeks, so they’ll soon be right back where they started and feeling like a failure when actually it’s the programme they’ve chosen that’s failed them.”