A young Nottinghamshire mum shed a third of her body weight and won a national Slimming World title after being embarrassed by her Bridget Jones knickers on a date.
Sophie Jude, 23, struggled with her weight from a young age, but was humiliated after she spilled a glass of wine on herself and had to dry her clothes, revealing her big pants to partner Carl.
The skincare specialist has now been named Slimming World’s Miss Slinky 2018 after losing four stone and dropping from a size 16 to a size eight - after ditching her nightly sponge pudding with custard.
She said: "I struggled with my weight from a young age - at school I was always the curvy girl who tried to cover my insecurities by being bubbly and loud.
"At the age of 14 I won a scholarship to a performing arts school in London and that’s when my weight really started to affect me.
"There was a lot of pressure to look a certain way and if I felt down or missed home I would comfort myself with food.
"I remember one occasion where a teacher took me outside of the classroom in front of everyone and told me that I was talented but that I needed to lose weight if I was going to make it.
"In the end I became so upset about my size that I gave up on my dream of becoming a dancer because I didn’t feel as though I’d ever be accepted in the industry at the size I was."
Sophie, who is mum to one-year-old daughter Vogue, tried a number of diets but nothing stuck and she continued to struggle with her weight.
She was finally shocked into shedding the pounds after her friends took a photo before a night out shortly after the birth of her daughter which ‘made her heart sink’ - because she feared that it might be shared on social media.
Sophie, who is 5ft 5, added: "I had a few embarrassing moments along the way but the one that really sticks in the mind is the night Carl and I had our second date.
"I ended up spilling a glass of wine on myself and had to change into some of Carl’s clothes while I dried mine on the radiator – including my big control knickers.
"We laugh about it now but I was mortified to have to put my big Bridget Jones pants on display.
"I’ll never forget that photo, I remember looking at it for the first time and it broke my heart.
"I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and I felt so vulnerable that people had this awful picture of me on their phone.
"I was so worried in case one of them decided to share it on social media and in that moment I knew I’d had enough – I didn’t ever want to feel that way again."
Sophie joined a Slimming World group in Beeston, in September 2016 with her mum, and said she was shocked to find out just how much she could still eat.
She has swapped big bowls of cereal and chocolate biscuits for porridge and fruit, and now eats jacket potatoes instead of huge baguettes for lunch.
But Sophie, of Nottingham, can still enjoy her favourite dishes, such as curries, chocolate and even chips.
She added: "At first I was shocked at how much I could eat while still losing weight.
"In the past I’ve tried every fad diet out there – from meal replacement shakes to calorie counting.
"None of them worked though because they just weren’t sustainable and I’d give up after a couple of weeks.
"With Slimming World I can still eat curries, pasta dishes, chocolate, wine and even chips.
"It’s totally made me rethink my relationship with food and I feel so much better for it. I go to bed each night full and satisfied and I love the thought that I’m learning to cook healthy meals for my family, too.
"I was nervous about joining the group so having Mum alongside me really helped and I soon got into the swing of things.
"The group was so friendly and although I was upset with the number I saw on the scales that first night, I knew I was in the right place to make a change.
"I must admit I thought I was destined to be overweight forever, so Slimming World and the support from my mum, my consultant and other members in the group really has shown me that anything is possible.
"I want people to know that if I can do it, they can too.”
Alongside her healthy meals, Sophie has started going to the gym regularly and is fit enough to run around after her little girl, and 33-year-old Carl.
She also used to struggle with severe asthma, which her weight loss has greatly improved, and enjoys taking Vogue to soft play centres without worrying about her size.
She said: "Life is just completely different now.
"My asthma has improved greatly since losing weight and I’m much more active, with plenty of energy to keep up with an inquisitive one-year-old.
"If I was still bigger I think I’d feel self-conscious taking Vogue to soft play centres, but now I can go up and down the slides with her without a care in the world.
"My confidence is sky high too, so much so that I’m going to join a local dance class.
"It’s been years since I performed in front of an audience and instead of dreading being on stage, I’m really looking forward to it.
"I used to shy away from the camera but now I have the confidence to pose for pictures with my family and friends without any worries.
"I’ve learned that social media can be a hugely positive place, too.
"It’s humbling that many people struggling with their weight send me messages and comment that I have inspired them to achieve their weight-loss dreams.
"Posting pictures of my meals and transformation on Instagram has been a really big help to me on my journey and I’ve been overwhelmed by all the positivity and support I’ve received."