A woman who piled on the pounds while at university has shed the weight, and last week started her own Slimming World group in a bid to help others feel happier with their bodies.

The Comet: Luanne Gould put on three stone while at university. CREDIT: Luanne Gould.Luanne Gould put on three stone while at university. CREDIT: Luanne Gould. (Image: Archant)

Luanne Gould, 22, will be running the new group every Wednesday at Barnwell Upper School in Stevenage.

Before starting university, Luanne was a happy and confident size 8 and weighed 8½ stone.

She said: “During my three years of studying I managed to pile on three stone.

“The late nights, takeaways and sugar-filled study snacks seemed unavoidable.”

By the time Luanne graduated in June last year she admits she had never felt so uncomfortable in her own skin.

She said: “I saw some photos from the day and was so shocked, as I hadn’t realised just how much weight I had put on.”

Luanne tried a number of diets that didn’t work for her and then signed up to Slimming World in August.

She said: “I was worried people would judge me, or that I wouldn’t be welcomed, but I was wrong.

“The people at my group could not have been more welcoming and I instantly felt at ease.”

In Luanne’s first week she lost 5½ pounds and was thrilled.

She said: “Before joining Slimming World we would get takeaways on a weekly basis, snack on endless amounts of chocolate and crisps, and easily drink a couple of glasses of wine when we got home from work every night.

“Now I can still have all of those, but I just know not to go crazy.

“I never used to meal plan or write a shopping list, but now I do both.

“Planning ahead really does help me stay on track and is great for the bank balance too.”

Luanne says the biggest difference losing weight has made to her so far is that she is finally back to her old self.

“I’m so much more confident in my own skin and have so much more energy,” she said.

For more information about her Wednesday Slimming World group in Stevenage, call Luanne on 07791 261385.