She had dieted for more than 20 years.
But still Alison Halliday’s waistbands tightened and she was forced to buy her clothes from plus-size shops — until one day she realised her stomach was touching the steering wheel.
The tell-tale signs that her weight was creeping up prompted the Dundee nurse to overhaul her lifestyle and lose five stones.
Alison started eating more fruit and vegetables, went for long walks with her dog and joined weight-loss group Scottish Slimmers.
And now the 56-year-old has dropped from a size 20-22 to a svelte size 12-14 after a lifetime of struggling with her weight.
Alison, from the West End, said: “I joined my first slimming group when I was 15 and ever since then I’ve been a serial dieter.
“Atkins, Cambridge, yoghurt, cabbage soup diet — you name it, I’ve tried it.
“I would diet and go to slimming classes for a while, then I’d give it a miss for a few months and I’d pile on several stone again.
“My biggest weakness is overeating on holiday. When I was in Florida I put on one-and-a-half stones in three weeks!
“I had to buy new clothes as none of my old ones fitted me anymore.
“I found faddy diets weren’t working for me — I needed something sustainable, a change of lifestyle.”
At her heaviest, Alison was 14st 13lb, which she felt was too much for her petite 5ft 2in frame.
She was eating a lot of chocolate, curries and bread and found that dieting on her own was far too difficult.
Alison added: “I was eating all the wrong things.
“I love clothes, especially tailored dresses but I couldn’t wear them when I was heavier.
“I hated having to go up a size and buying clothes from plus-size stores.
“Instead of the tailored dresses that I loved, I was having to buy baggy ones which looked more like tents.
“Another sign that made me want to lose weight was when I was in the car and my stomach was touching the steering wheel — it wasn’t a nice feeling.”
Four years ago, Alison joined Scottish Slimmers and now works for them — something she says helped her keep on track with her healthy eating.
She makes sure she gets weighed every week and follows a healthy eating plan.
This includes foods such as fruit and vegetables, as well as treats that she eats in moderation.
Alison said: “The good thing about the group’s eating plans is that nothing is forbidden — I can still eat all the things I did before but just smaller amounts of them.
“With diets, you lose the weight but it’s difficult to keep it off all the time.
“It’s better to just try to lead a healthier lifestyle.
“Exercise is important but I’ve decided that I’m not a gym bunny.
“I took out a year-long gym membership and only went six times.
“I prefer walking and I like to take my dog out. Since losing the extra weight I feel so much more confident and happier.”
Alison said that she is pleased with her current weight, which is 9st 13lbs.
She gives herself some leeway while on holiday, enjoying her favourite foods but being careful not to put on too much weight.
When she goes to work, she packs a lunch to avoid grabbing unhealthy foods on the go.
Alison said: “My advice for people wanting to lose weight is, join a group like I did with Scottish Slimmers.
“It’s amazing to have the support of other people who are in the same boat.
“Your weight is kept confidential but getting weighed in helps to keep you motivated.”