A VALLEYS mum said that she feels like she can accomplish anything after losing nearly half her body weight.

Weighing 23 stones, Hayley Edwards was motivated to lose weight after finding herself in a number of embarrassing situations.

She recalls how she couldn’t pass through a turnstile at a rugby match and was too big to go on theme park rides.

But, two-and-a-half years later, she has shed 11st 3lbs, and is only 4lb away from losing half of her original body weight.

She said: “I’m literally half the woman that I used to be.”

She explained that she had become content after getting married and having children so the weight just crept on.

Deciding that she didn’t want to be fat at 30, she joined a Slimming World group in Abertillery, and by her milestone birthday in October last year, she had smashed her target of losing three-and-a-half stones, by losing over nine stones.

Mrs Edwards, who works as a nursing assistant at the Royal Gwent Hospital is aiming to reach her target of 11st 7lb by the end of April.

She said: “Joining the group made it easier as it encouraged me and we share meal ideas. The more weight I lost, the more it spurred me on.”

Mrs Edwards, who is 5ft 7in, previously suffered from a bad back and palpitations, but now she says she feels like she can accomplish anything.

Last June, she took part in a 5K run and this year will undertake a 10k run in September.

She is also enjoying making most of her time with husband Gareth, children Olivia and Alfie and step-daughter Shannon.

Before joining the group she would snack on biscuits and crisp during the day and wash it down with a fizzy drink.

For breakfast, she would have toast, tea and biscuits, lunch would be a shop-bought sandwich and dinner would be a takeaway or ready-made bolognese sauce, with pasta and garlic bread.

But now, she has cut out the bad snacks and replaced them with fruit and low fat yoghurt and drinks squash.

She chooses porridge for breakfast, an omelette with salad for lunch and homemade bolognese with pasta.

She said: “I cook from scratch and it makes me feel good that I am feeding my family a healthy meal.”