AN obese mum who couldn't even tie her shoe laces has lost 10st - after honouring her mum's dying wish to lose weight.
Julie Farquhar had ballooned to a size 26 after piling on the pounds.
Tipping the scales at 20st 12lbs, Julie struggled to perform basic daily tasks, and would get breathless just walking around the house to keep up with her three kids.
But her mum Vera's death in November 2014 was the wake up call Julie needed.
After hearing her mum had been worried about her health, Julie vowed to overhaul her lifestyle - and has since lost 10st after starting the Slimming World diet.
The 42-year-old, from Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire, said: "It was awful to hear that mum had been so worried about me, especially in those last few months.
"But I know how proud she would be to see how well I've done.
"It really has changed my life. Instead of just surviving, I'm finally living.
"I used to walk to answer the door slowly, like a struggling old woman, but now I run around everywhere."
The mum to Dillon, 15, Keigan, 12, and Lois, nine, said she was always a bit overweight - guessing she was about two sizes bigger than her friends in their teenage years.
"I was never huge but equally wasn't a fussy eater at all," Julie explained.
"In school my friends were a size eight whilst I'd wear a 12, which was fine until I got to the age where looks mattered more, and that was when I first tried dieting.
It was awful to hear that mum had been so worried about me, especially in those last few months. But I know how proud she would be to see how well I’ve doneJulie Farquhar
"I tried fad diets, and programmes like Weight Watchers and Atkins.
"Nothing really worked but I didn't start piling on the weight until I met my husband, John.
"We'd eat socially together - have nights in with takeaways, go out for meals or have friends over and snack on crisps and wine."
Julie was a size 14-16 when she first met husband John, 34, but by the time she'd given birth to their second child Keigan, 11, in 2007, she was a size 18 and piling on the pounds.
When her mum Vera got diagnosed with cancer in 2014, life was put on hold to make sure she was cared for, with Julie moving her into her home.
She said: "All that mattered was looking after Mum.
"I'd go to bed at night and realise I hadn't eaten anything all day, so I'd be eating some rubbish at 10pm.
"When Mum got moved into a hospice, I'd grab breakfast on the run so I could be with her, then we'd have tea and cake in the day as that's what she liked to do.
"It became easier and quicker to grab a McDonalds on an evening when I headed home, so rather than eating a balanced diet throughout the diet it would just be little bits of rubbish here and there."
In the year after her mother sadly passed away in November 2014, the weight gain continued steadily as friends comforted her with snacks, and she soon reached a size 26.
"I could barely walk up the stairs without getting out of breath and did absolutely no exercise," she explained. "When my sisters said they were going to Slimming World in January 2017, I went mainly because I didn't want to miss out!"
But it was set to change her life.
She said: "The timing was right. I'd never been honest with myself until that point - I'd always pretended I was happy with my size, even though I was watching all the fun happen from the side-lines.
"I was always worried I was too heavy for things, so when I'd take my children to trampoline parks I'd always be the one sat out.
"But at group, everything made sense. It wasn't a diet and it wasn't about weighing out 35g of pasta and then being hungry afterwards - it was all about a change in lifestyle."
After 10 months, she had lost eight and a half stone, and had shrank from a size 26 to a 16.
She said: "Whereas before I'd be eating erratically, I plan it all as much as I can now.
"I'll do a big shop on a Sunday morning and know exactly what meals I'm making for the week - it's all much more level-headed.
"I went on holiday to Florida in the October and it was the time of my life. I felt so free and didn't worry once about being too big for any of the rollercoasters."
She reached her goal weight on Christmas Eve 2018 - 10 stone 3lbs - and got her 10 and a half stone award while wearing a comfortable size 10-12.
She later got a touching message from her mother's friend, Helen, to tell her how proud she was - and how worried her mother had been.
Julie said: "I was so upset to think Mum had been concerned for my health before my died.
"I knew she'd have wanted me to get fit and wished she could have seen me now.
"Everything I do, I do with her in mind. Losing Mum has made the bond between my sisters and I even closer, as well as our brother Ben, 31.
"It sounds cliché, but losing the weight really has changed my life - I'm finally living."
Breakfast - Bagel/toast with butter and jam
Lunch - Sandwich, crisps and a chocolate bar
Dinner - Spaghetti Bolognese made with a jar sauce and garlic bread, or a takeaway
Snacks: crisps, bread and butter
Breakfast - Fruit with fat free yoghurt, homemade wheetabix muffins
Lunch - Chicken salad or a jacket potato
Dinner - Homemade chicken fajita pasta, paprika pork or homemade chips with sausage and beans
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Now, Julie is hoping to renew her vows one day with John and have a wedding day in a dress of her choice, feeling confident and beautiful.
"I remember looking for dresses with my mum and sisters and the shop lady insisted I wouldn't fit into any of the dresses I liked the look of. She even suggested my sister try it on instead!
"I liked my dress, but I bought the one that I could try on. It wasn't my dream dress. I'd love to do it all again and feel more comfortable and love all the picture.
"John has always been amazing and never made me feel fat or ugly or unloved, but I'd love for him to see me in the dress of my choice. Hopefully we can make that happen one day!"