GILLIAN Lyttle is delighted when she gets a hug from her seven-year-old daughter, Robyn.

For Gillian, from Whitla Road, has lost five stone four pounds in just four months - the same weight as Robyn - and for the first time her daughter can wrap her arms around mum.

Transport manager Gillian joined Lighterlife in Lisburn as a birthday treat just 12 weeks before she celebrated her 30th birthday when she weighed 16 stone. She had put on weight after Robyn was born and got to love snacking on Kentucky Fried Chicken.

By the time of her birthday she had already lost three stone and during the summer more weight went until she now proudly wears size 8 jeans.

The only 'downside' is she gets ignored at work by colleagues who simply do not recognise her.

"They know the voice but they don't know who I am when they see me. I have had people just walk right past me because they just do not recognise me," she laughed.

Now with the weight loss and new found confidence Gillian is determined to quit cigarettes.

Gillian says she had tried other diets before without success so decided to give Lighterlife, a meal replacement programme, a go.

"I never even so much as lost an ounce wth other diets," said Gillian. "When I went out shopping for clothes I came home with shoes, because nothing ever fitted. I ended up with loads of shoes.

"In work we all talked about food and what we were going to eat. Dinner was normally pizza and chips and I would snack on biscuits - I would even eat Robyn's gluten-free ones. KFC was my real downfall.

"I always seemed to be on a diet but was never losing weight. There was always something that got in the way. "

In the first week of being on Lighterlife she lost eight and a half pounds and is now 11 stone her goal weight.

"You do pay for the programme but I was better off financially," said Gillian.

"I was buying good food but never touched it and it went out of date, and I was spending 5 on lunch. I was just wasting money.

"My dad paid half of the cost of Lighterlife as a birthday treat and it was the best investment.

"Lighterlife has totally changed my life. I can wear jeans without my legs rubbing together.

"I don't eat bread because it a 'trigger' food for me. I'm not happy with one slice of bread I have to have the whole loaf, so I avoid it."