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Shedding 6st was a life-saver; Alison's delight at amazing transformation.

Byline: LAURA DAVIDSON

All through her teens and early 20s, Alison Bell felt like the ugly duckling among her fashion student friends.

At just 5ft tall and weighing more than 16st, she could barely find clothes to fit, never mind clothes she felt looked good.

Look at her today - 25 and gorgeous - and you'd struggle to believe she's the same person who was once refused onto a fairground ride because the safety bar wouldn't pull over her bulging tummy.

After losing more than 6st, determined dieter Alison is a shadow of her former self - now a size 10 instead of a 20, virtually half the woman she used to be.

It's taken a lot of effort but she reckons the changes have not only made her look and feel better, but saved her life.

YOU She said: "I was classed as morbidly obese and, with a history of diabetes and heart problems in my family, I was asking for trouble.

"I honestly didn't realise how bad my diet was - I had no concept of calories or fat content and I was overloading on both.

"As soon as I began to re-educate myself about what was healthy, I was appalled at the damage I'd been doing."

Alison's weight crept up when she hit her teens. She stopped the active games, including badminton, she'd played as a child but maintained a hearty appetite.

She remembers the milestone of being weighed by her doctor when she was 14 ... and finding out she was 14st.

Sharing a flat with friends when she went to study business at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh made matters worse as she got stuck into a regular diet of take-aways and convenience foods.

Alison, of Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, recalled: "My friends were all fashion students and most of them were a size eight. They all wore the clothes I wanted to wear while I hid away in jogging bottoms or black trousers.

"I was self-conscious about my arms, legs and stomach and didn't want to show any flesh.

"I'm still good friends with a lot of the girls from uni and they were so supportive when I started to diet, they really encouraged me."

The turning point for Alison came in December 2007 when she started her first post-uni job as a business admin trainer with Robert Wiseman Dairies.

But with hefty student loans to pay off, she wanted to find a method of dieting that wouldn't cost her excess pounds in her purse.

She signed up with Tesco online diets' Light Choices 1200-calories-per-day plan which includes three meals and one snack every day.

It provides 50-65per cent of calories from carbohydrates, 20-25 per cent from protein and less than 30 per cent of calories from fat.

Alison said: "I make virtually all my meals from scratch now and can still enjoy things like curries and spaghetti bolognaise - just in a more modest portion and made without added fat. I lost 2st in just under two months and that gave me the incentive I needed to carry on."

Alison began exercising, going out for walks, took up badminton again and swimming, building up to aerobics and weight training classes.

In 2008, she walked the 5K Race For Life with mum Isobel - a breast cancer survivor - and last year she did the 46-mile Glasgow-Edinburgh Pedal for Scotland cycle event in aid of Maggie's Cancer support centres.

It's her goal to start running this year and jog the entire route of next year's Race For Life. Now weighing a healthy 10st, she has another goal that's spurring her to reach her 8st 7lbs target by Christmas - her wedding to fianc Andrew Marden, also 25. The couple met in 2006 before Alison started her diet and she says Andrew has been with her through thick and thin... literally She said: "He's always loved me, regardless of my size. We find it funny when I get attention from blokes in the pub now. I never had that before. They seem interested now I've lost all the weight, just because I look different. People can be so shallow - I'm still the same person inside.

"Andrew's always seen that and I can't wait for our wedding. We're hoping to do it next year. I've got my eye on a gorgeous fishtail-style wedding dress that would just have been out of the question before.

"It's going to be nice to wear exactly what I want, rather than making do with something simply because it fits. After all the effort I've put in, I'll never go back to my old ways now."

For more on Tesco Diets, see www.tescodiets.com.

diet before Breakfast: Two rolls on bacon or large bowl cereal Lunch: BLT sandwich, crisps, one or two chocolate bars.

Dinner: Pasta with creamy sauce and chicken or takeaway pizza or Chinese Snacks: Ice cream, popcorn, crisps.

diet now Breakfast: Porridge or smoothie or peanut butter on brown toast, piece of fruit.

Lunch: Home-made ham salad sandwich, or home-made soup, with yoghurt and fruit Dinner: Home-made vegetable curry with brown rice or fish with baked sweet potatoes and steamed veg.

Snack: Low fat crisps, glass of wine, bowl of air-popped popcorn.

Fish odour Syndrome Casebook If you think there is something a bit fishy about this condition then you would be right. Patients who suffer from Trimethylaminuria lack an enzyme in the body that breaks down a certain chemical leading to a build-up in the skin, sweat and urine. Unfortunately, this chemical smells of fish leading to a strong fishy odour being produced. Sadly for the poor patient there is no cure. Sometimes cutting out certain foods can help, such as eggs, peanuts ... and fish. Low-dose antibiotics can help as reducing the amount of bacteria in the intestines helps reduce the build-up of fishy chemicals. It's an inherited condition but can sometimes only become noticeable when a woman goes through the menopause. Thankfully, it is quite rare.

To this..

PRETTYE Alison and her new slim-line look.

CAPTION(S):

TIME FOR ACTIONE With Andrew at graduation WEIGHTYISSUEE Alison at 16st Thanks to Taylor Ferguson, Bath Street, Glasgow, for hair and make-up
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 5, 2010
Words:1023
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