Mum-of-three Emma Blackmore found a way to cope with post-natal depression. She comfort ate her way through the condition and ended up weighing more than 17stones (110kgs).

“I didn’t have the strength or energy to cook properly or even think about healthy food,” she says. “I ate a lot of sweet things – chocolate, cake, doughnuts – and we had lots of takeaways and ready meals. It was about convenience, I just didn’t have the inclination to stand in the kitchen.”

In some respects, taking comfort from food worked. As she explains: “At first I didn’t really notice that the weight was creeping on and then I thought ‘well I’m big now so I might as well enjoy it’. I gave myself permission to eat and it made me feel better psychologically.”

But there came a point when Emma, now 34, realised that her weight was affecting her physical health and a shopping trip to buy an outfit for a friend’s wedding shocked her into taking action. As she says: “I wanted to wear something pretty but the only thing I could find was a size 22 shapeless, flowing ‘sack’ and I felt absolutely awful. That’s when I realised I needed to do something.”

Emma’s story is not untypical. Until having her children, Jackson, 8; Fletcher, 6; and Caitlin, 5, she was slim and had no problem with food. But with each child the pounds crept on and after having Caitlin she was struck down with the post-natal depression that caused her weight to soar. The condition dogged her life for two years and was severe enough for her to need medication.

Having decided to lose weight Emma, who lives in Lindley with her partner Graham Hoyle and is a full-time mum, tried the much-publicised 5:2 diet, which allows days of normal eating followed by days of restricted calories. “I lost about half a stone, but I was miserable, starving and cranky,” she says. She considered the half stone a success – until she saw a photograph of herself sat outside her home on the day the Tour de Yorkshire passed through Huddersfield in 2014. She explained: “I was sat on a camping chair with a pint in my hand. I thought I’d done well, but when I saw the picture it absolutely shocked me.”

A friend suggested Emma join a slimming club and offered to go along with her. So in September 2014 she began attending Anne Littlewood’s Slimming World class in Salendine Nook. The group therapy and easy meal recipes proved to be just what she needed and exactly two years later she had reached her goal – losing nearly five stones (31kgs) and achieving a healthy Body Mass Index of 23 (she’s 5ft 11ins tall).

Emma now cooks meals from fresh ingredients and the whole family benefits. She says slimming clubs are not about dieting they’re about learning to adopt a healthy lifestyle. “I always said to my children ‘I’m going to my healthy eating club’,” she adds, “rather than saying my ‘fat club’, which some people call it, or a slimming club. It’s about learning healthy habits.”

Slimmer Emma Blackmore and her children Jackson (8), Fletcher (6) and Caitlin (5) who are all Tae Kwon Do enthusiasts - Kirkwood Drive, Lindley, Huddersfield.

As the pounds dropped off Emma, a former fine art student, says she began to recover her confidence and discovered that the pain in her knees she thought was arthritis had all but disappeared. Her children, who were enrolled in the Premier Taekwondo school in Birkby, persuaded her to take up the sport and a year ago she joined an adult class. Emma recently achieved her green belt and says it’s the perfect exercise for her. “I needed some form of exercise and didn’t like the idea of going to the gym or running,” she added. “I thought it looked like fun and I really enjoy it.” She’s come a long way from the days when she struggled to climb up a hill and could barely bend down to pick something off the floor because her knees wouldn’t take the strain. And there was probably a time when she couldn’t have imagined being a fit and healthy size 12. “Sometimes, I still get a surprise when I try on a size 12 and it fits,” she says.

This woman's amazing weight loss has given her new hopes of having a baby

Emma believes her experiences have helped her to understand why so many people today have become obese and find it difficult to address the issue. She says: “It’s easier to continue when you are stuck in a bad habit; changing that habit can be quite traumatic. For me it was mostly about comfort eating – if having a chocolate bar made me feel happier then why wouldn’t I have one?”

She’s now hoping that she can use her experiences to inspire others and has become a Slimming World consultant herself, with a new group meeting at St Cuthbert’s Church in Birkby every Thursday evening.