A woman from Stokenchurch hopes to inspire other people who are struggling with their weight after losing a staggering seven and a half stone.

Julie Fincham, 47, weighed 17 and half stone before deciding she needed to change her lifestyle and after years of ‘yo-yo dieting’ chose to undergo a major gastric bypass operation in 2013.

Since the operation and a taking on a new healthier diet and exercise regime, Mrs Fincham says her ‘whole world has changed for the better’ and has dropped from a size 24/22 to a size 12/10.

She said: “Before I lost the weight, you name it, I ate it. Cheese, cakes, crisps, I was overeating all the wrong the things. Now I eat salads, fruit and lean meats and fish.

“It is a whole new world for me now. It hasn’t been easy, I have had to take on a whole new lifestyle, but I could never go back to how I was.”

Mrs Fincham said she struggled with her weight since she was a teenager, but realised she had to make a change when she started to develop serious health problems.

She said: “My mobility was starting to be affected, I struggled getting in and out of the car and I knew it was now or never. My BMI was 48 and just before my operation I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, but I have now managed to get it under control.”

Mrs Fincham said she was left ‘feeling very depressed’ after an application for weight loss surgery was turned down by the NHS, but decided to take a loan out and pay for a private operation at The Manor Hospital in Oxford.

She said: “It is a risky operation that may not be right for everyone, but if you look into it and research everything properly and you are brave enough, it can be good for you. It is a major operation, so of course it is scary but it has been worth it for me.”

Mrs Fincham said she wanted to share her story to help inspire other people and also credits her weight loss with finding the love of her life, Richard, who she married in May.

She said: “Losing weight definitely gave me a lot more confidence to go out and meet people and I went out and I met Richard. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to get into a wedding dress either so I wanted to get slim for that. Losing the weight has changed my whole life.”