A FLINTSHIRE woman has battled her way through both mental health and weight issues to shed over eight stone.

Emily Hill, from Shotton, has gone from being 18st 2lbs to 9st 12lbs during her incredible Slimming World journey.

With her new found confidence, the 39-year-old has even become a consultant for Slimming World and is now involved with the groups in Flint and Queensferry.

Talking about what inspired her to set off on a weightloss journey, she said: "My mental health and my weight had always seemed connected. Even at primary school, I remember being bigger than my friends, and the more I was teased by the other kids, the more I’d reach for food as a comfort – thick slices of buttered white bread, sandwiches, chocolate.

"After I left school and college, and started my first job working with children with autism, I’d have a chocolate bar for breakfast and an egg mayonnaise baguette with chips for lunch, only getting a balanced meal when Mum cooked dinner in the evening.

"I began feeling very low and went to my GP, who put it down to tiredness and anaemia. I was convinced it was linked to my weight, though, so when my mum, Jeanne, joined Slimming World, I decided to give it a go, too. I lost 2st and for the first time in years I felt confident, happy and full of energy."

At 21, Emily fell pregnant with twins Tiana and Ella, followed by Evie two years later.

She says she found herself raising them on her own, and the emotional ups and downs of that came with ups and downs for her weight too.

Then, in 2006, she met partner Chris who she says has 'loved the girls as though they were his own'.

Emily added: "With each dress size I went up, the more miserable I felt. I stopped going out and never took the girls to the park, to play on the beach or go swimming. I hated the idea of venturing out in public and became more and more reclusive.

"I worried my girls might have to grow up without their mum. But, on a recent Saturday night, our kitchen was bustling with fun and laughter as my three girls jostled to get the best topping on their pizzas.

"Lined up were bowls of home-made tomato sauce, grated cheese, sliced mushrooms, sweetcorn and lean ham, with tortilla wraps to use as bases. As I made a salad and a big tray of Slimming World chips to go alongside, I smiled at the scene in front of me.

"Although we did this at least once a week, I knew I’d never take for granted these joyful family mealtimes, with the kids and Chris, gathered around chatting and eating healthy food that somehow felt like such a treat.

"It reminded me how different things had been once, before I’d gone on a journey to finally fix my relationship with food."