AN ALLOA woman has opened up on her battle with harmful eating habits and the impact of her diet on everyday life.

Kirsty Muir described herself as a "secret eater" and would sit in her car eating treats she had picked up from the supermarket before then hiding the evidence.

She felt she was hiding "herself away" in social situations with her health later becoming a real cause for concern.

The 32-year-old had weighed 18st and 5lbs when she made the decision to attend a gym and join a Wee County Slimming World club.

That was in January 2019 and since then her confidence has since soared after losing seven stone.

Kirsty said: "I had problems with my health, I was a size 20, over 18 stone, far too self-conscious to go clothes shopping and I hadn't even had my 30th birthday.

"I knew I had to change, I wanted to become a better version of myself and joining Slimming World was the best decision I've ever made.

"I've even joined a gym which is incredible to me – it's something I never thought I'd be able to do. I know I wouldn't be the person I am now without the support I get from going to group each week."

Kirsty continued: "Before I lost weight, I was diagnosed with hidradenitis suppurativa, a painful condition which caused abscesses and scarring on the skin under my arms. I was referred to hospital and advised that if I lost weight, that would help manage the problem.

"Now I've lost seven stone, the condition is easily managed, it's so much better and I can't believe I'd suffered for so long.

"When you're a bigger girl, people assume you're the biggest personality in the room. This isn't true.

"I appeared confident but deep inside I was very shy and hiding away.

"I also realised I was a secret eater as after each supermarket visit, I'd sit in the car park and eat all the treats I wanted to, from a couple of donuts to cakes, sweets, crisps, without anyone knowing.

"Then I'd have another treat when I got home. I was constantly clearing the car out, removing any evidence, and it was getting embarrassing."

Kirsty revealed not only has she improved her eating habits but so has her husband David.

She continued: "I also now walk a lot more. I have two dogs and I take them for walks three times a day.

"Before this would have seemed like a chore, now I love walking them and seeing how far I can go."

Bill Usher, who runs the Saturday morning Alloa Elim Church Slimming World group in Clackmannanshire, is Kirsty's consultant and praised her for her efforts.

He said: "I'm proud of Kirsty as I have not only seen her transform physically but in her lifestyle too, making healthy lifelong changes.

"She is such an inspiration to me and the other members in group, she's always so encouraging to everyone.

"Kirsty's an amazing member...a true success story."