A CANDID family snap helped shock a Scottish snackaholic into shedding almost two thirds of her bodyweight.
Gail Watson from West Lothian, says she munched on crisps and chocolate day and night until her weight ballooned to a massive 25 stone.
But a rare photograph of her taken by partner Barrie as they were out walking the dogs stunned Gail into slimming down to a trim 10 stone.
Gail, 43, was so utterly transformed that her in-laws failed to recognise her at a recent family gathering, quietly asking Barrie: “Who’s your new girlfriend?”
“There have been times when people have failed to recognise me,” Gail explained.
“I have been together with Barrie for 20 years and after I lost weight we went to my sister-in-law’s engagement party.
“People kept coming up to Barrie and asking ‘what’s happened to Gail? Who’s the new girlfriend? I’ve also had family members that haven’t recognised me, it’s all very funny.”
Doing no exercise and indulging in unhealthy snacks between meals, Gail’s weight soared after she left school, to the point that she avoided travelling on planes and was too embarrassed to dress up for romantic meals with Barrie.
Before her diet Gail was a serial-snacker who would consume up to 6,000 calories a day by eating junk. Her addiction to crisps, chocolate and cans of fizzy juice coupled with her penchant for ready meals and pizza meant Gail’s weight was literally off the bathroom scales.
She said : “I hated getting my picture taken but my husband took some photos of me when we were out walking the dogs. I was horrified when I saw what I looked like.”
Now Gail, from Fauldhouse, has lost so much weight that can easily fit into one leg of her old size 26 trousers.
“I was always a big girl and after school I continued to put on weight,” she explained.
“It was embarrassing, people did make silly comments and I hated travelling because I was worried about what people would say, no one wants to sit beside the fat girl, and it hurt to think what people might be saying about me behind my back.
“Both my mum and dad became ill at the same time, while my mother was receiving treatment for oral cancer at hospital when my father had a heart attack, it was a terrible time. Then my doctor told me I would have to go on blood pressure medication for the rest of my life if I didn’t do something about my weight.
“It was a really scary period in my life and it made me think a lot more about my weight and to start to take my health seriously.”
After following a health eating plan and jogging with her pet dogs, she began to shed the pounds and she plans to run the BUPA Great Edinburgh Run in October.
Gail said: “I had always liked running but at first I was too heavy to do it.
“I began to diet and lost some weight so I started to run and took my dogs out with me too, so I was exercising them at the same time.
“Since then I’ve never really looked back and go running three to four times a week.”
She said partner Barrie, 47, of 20 years had supported her through her diet.
“Barrie has always been very supportive, he never asked me to lose weight, but I lived in jeans a jumper for our entire relationship, I never dressed up or wore anything nice,” she said.
“Since losing the weight I have been able to go out on romantic dates again, wear short-sleeved tops and dresses. I have the confidence to go out to a restaurant and not feel like everyone is staring it at me.
“It’s weird because even though I have lost all this weight, I can still vividly remember what it felt like to be a bigger girl. I would never want to go back to that size and that’s what spurs me on.”