At 25 stone, Gemma Marmalade, of Ermine Street, in Huntingdon, struggled to get off her sofa and was unable to fit in her bath. At her heaviest, she felt as though she was destined to struggle with her weight for the rest of her life. At that weight I was totally confident but I was in denial. I felt at that time like I had to justify that weight to myself I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be morbidly obese for the rest of my life, said Gemma, 38. When I had that weight on top of me I was killing myself, at that time I couldnt see that as I was putting up a front but I was actually hurting quite a lot. In 2008, at 22 stone, Gemma decided to undergo surgery to have a gastric band fitted in an attempt to lose the weight for good. After the initial post-surgery where I physically could only eat very little, I lost some weight, said university lecturer Gemma. Limiting the size of my stomach did not change my relationship with food. I was still hungry, unhealthy and I felt totally denied. Going back to follow ups and discussions with dieticians, I felt like a failure. A few weeks later, I had an upset-ting appointment with the surgeon. I felt totally invisible, like I wasnt even human. I decided then that I wanted to have my surgery reversed. Despite going to the most extreme lengths to help me lose weight and get healthy. At her heaviest, Gemma weighed 25 stone and, in December last year, decided that enough was enough and decided to join a Slimming World group. Although incredibly nervous, she felt that something needed to be done after years denying the problem. I thought I was destined to struggle with my weight for the rest of my life, but when I came to Slimming World it was different. I never felt like I was on a diet, said Gemma. The eating plan encourages you to eat lots of tasty, filling foods like pasta, rice, potatoes and lean meat and fish where the only limit is your appetite. You are never hungry and no foods are banned so theres no deprivation. She says the Slimming World food optimising plan allows her to continue to enjoy the foods she loves. I eat out in restaurants; enjoy take-aways and live life to the full. I couldnt believe Id found a way to lose weight without starving myself. I eat chocolate every day and still lose weight. And the mother-of-two says she is now able to feel good about exercising even taking on a 5k run and Zumba classes every week. It feels pretty incredible to have lost 10 stone within a year as there are now things I can do that I couldnt do before I have got so much energy that losing the weight has been life-changing. I feel like a different person, Gemma added. Gemma is so inspired by her weight loss and the changes that it has brought that she now wants to help other people lose weight by starting her own Slimming World group in January. Support is really the most important thing. It all starts with feeling that youre not alone. I couldnt have lost 10 stone without the weekly help, encouragement and understanding of my own consultant and a fantastic group, Gemma added. INFO: Gemmas Slimming World group will be held at St Annes School, in Godmanchester, every Monday at 5.30pm and 7.30pm from January 2. Contact Gemma on 07861878113 or contact her through her g roup Facebook page gmcswgemma.