PRESSURE from her family led Debbie Hogarth to shed almost half her body weight and hit the gym five times a week.

Debbie, 43, a support worker from Norton, near Malton, has lost almost ten stone and slimmed down from a dress size 32 to a 14/16 – enabling her to get fit and even join a boot camp.

Eating the wrong foods had left her tired and with aching joints. Debbie turned over a new leaf after a "push" from her sister, Vicki Hopper.

Debbie, who weighed almost 22 stones 20 months ago, said: "I was tired of my knee aching and feeling tired all the time. My nieces and nephew would ask whey I was so fat! I told them it's all the rubbish food I was eating. I told them the truth but never listened to it myself.

"I tried lots of different diets but they usually left me feeling hungry or miserable – or both, in fact."

Losing the weight has changed her life for the better, she says. “When I started out I never dreamt I’d be able to achieve all that I have. Losing the weight has made such a big difference – it’s changed my life. My health is better, I have more energy and I’m much happier now. I am now training at the gym five times a week, lifting a weights and I've even got myself a personal trainer."

Like many dieters, Debbie had tried to lose weight before, without success. This time around, she joined her local Slimming World group at Norton, and found the successful recipe.

"With Slimming World, it’s completely different. I never have to miss out and I don’t have to get hung up on weighing and measuring everything I eat.

"My family and friends are all amazed by how much I can eat and still lose weight. I still eat many of the same meals that I did before I started losing weight, like spaghetti bolognese, curries and roast dinners. Now I just prepare and cook them differently – and they taste so much better."

Debbie joined the group in January 2015 and lost 10lbs in her first two weeks. She was amazed to see an impact so quickly from the changes she made to her diet. A year into her weight-loss programme, she decided to join a gym – Body & Soul in Malton. She now attends five times a week and has personal training sessions. "I feel fantastic. You do need to exercise as well as change what you eat, but you can start just by walking," she says.

"I feel like a different woman to the person of 20 months ago. I remember feeling like there was no hope when it came to my weight but I’ve realised that when people believe in you – and you believe in yourself – you can do anything you set your mind to. I really hope my weight loss can inspire other people to get started on their own journey."

Simple, every day things such as putting on socks were tricky before. "Now there is nothing that I can't do," says Debbie.

Debbie is just one of the success stories in her local group. Along with fellow members Jay Freer and Katy Tasker, Debbie has been named "Woman of the Year". And alongside Anna Plews, who runs the Norton Slimming World group, the four women have shed some 30 stones in weight.

The organisation has been raising money for Cancer Research UK. Members at Norton collected some 42 bags of clothes for sale in Cancer Research UK shops which should raise around £1,000.