STRUGGLING into these jeans used to be a tight squeeze for Samantha Lilly... but thanks to a healthy living project, the St Helens mum now has room to spare.

Samantha changed her life and lost a massive nine stone over two years when she binned jumbo-sized portions at meal times after signing up for NHS Fresh Start classes.

She joined the free health improvement scheme, in January 2011 and has since shed a staggering 58 kilos.

The 29-year-old said: “I had tried to lose weight in the past but it just hadn’t worked so when I joined Fresh Start, I really didn’t think I was going to get anywhere because I never have before. I was wrong.

“I’d not been losing weight was because I was eating bigger meals than I should have been and I wasn’t thinking about my portion sizes – but now I do.”

Full-time mother Samantha started attending the Fresh Start sessions almost two years ago. The NHS ran classes last an hour and a half and consist of informative discussions, gentle exercise and cooking demonstrations.

She added: “Fresh Start showed me you can still have normal meals you enjoy without overeating and now I can do things that I couldn’t do before.

“One of the best things is being able to play with and keep up with the kids. Last summer I was running rings around them, playing games and climbing trees when they were running back to the picnic bench for a rest.”

Recent polls have indicated that the top New Year’s resolution of 2013 is weight loss and overall health improvement.

The festive period sees people eat and drink more than usual. Recent campaigns such as Cancer Research UK’s ‘Dryathalon’ encourage people to cut down on alcohol consumption for one month.

Fresh Start classes start this month. To secure a place on the programme, call 0300 300 0103.