When Gaynor Rome's brother compared her to a Shetland pony, she knew she had to lose weight.

Gaynor, of Mansell Road, Shoreham, weighed 15st 9lb and was a size 18 or 20.

She was unhappy with her size and was too embarrassed to attend social events.

The crunch came when her brother commented on her weight.

She said: "I had all the family round about 14 months ago and the children decided to get the holiday videos out. I came into the room and there I was on TV. I was horrified, I looked terrible and literally filled the screen. My youngest child was riding this big Shetland pony and I was stood next to it, wider than it was.

"My brother Simon asked which one was the pony. He was trying to be funny and lighten the atmosphere but I knew I had to do something."

Gaynor, 39, joined a Slimming World class in Portslade and began to follow a healthy eating plan.

Her mother Beverly went along for moral support and decided to lose weight herself. Soon, the pounds were dropping off.

Gaynor said: "It was really easy and I didn't count calories. I found there was a lot of support from other people there. We would talk about our week and swap recipes and have tasting evenings.

"Things like thick peanut butter sandwiches, which I used to love, were just not possible. And dinner was served with loads of vegetables, whereas before it was chips with something fattening.

"Beforehand, a typical day would involve lots of really unhealthy food like chocolate and crisps. Now I eat very healthily but can still have chocolate."

As an overweight child, Gaynor was used to being teased. She tried lots of different diets to lose weight.

She said: "I was always a big child and I would get called names. I always thought everyone was laughing at me.

"If I was stood at the bus stop and one came along that was packed, I would wait for the next one. I tried loads of different diets but have never stuck to one."

Now the mother-of-three, who is 5ft 2in, has shed more than five stone to slim down to a trim size 12 or 14 and 10st 3lb in weight.

Husband Martin cannot stop himself complimenting his wife and their children, Charlotte, 17, Jordan, 12, and Jared, ten, are overjoyed.

Gaynor said: "Martin said he loves me no matter what size I am but he thinks me losing weight is brilliant."

She goes out clubbing now and has swapped her big clothes for smaller sizes.

She no longer shops at Evans but chooses tops at Next.