Jo Beesley had spent an idyllic weekend at a quaint B&B in the Norfolk countryside with her husband, Johnny, and their daughter, Harriet.

One of the highlights of the trip was the delicious - and gut-busting - fried breakfasts served at the hotel.

Catering assistant Jo, 51, was more than happy to pose for a picture when the owners asked if they could take a snap to show off their impressive breakfasts.

But when Jo logged on a week later, hoping the picture would bring back happy memories of the trip, seeing her 15st 7lb self about to tuck into such a massive plateful, she was filled with horror.

Jo, of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, said: "I thought to myself, 'Oh my goodness. What on earth? Is that what I look like?'

Jo had reached 15st 7lb at her heaviest
Jo had reached 15st 7lb at her heaviest

"It suddenly dawned on me how little I cared about myself. I had a short hairdo that the local barber had cut and my clothes had no style - they were thrown on to cover my lumps and bumps.

"A full English is a tradition at the Rosamaly Guesthouse where we stayed, so I was very happy at the time to have my picture taken.

"To be honest, I'd just been dying to tuck in. The two eggs and sausages were calling me."

The trip, in September 2017, turned out to be the catalyst Jo needed to shed a massive six stone and completely overhaul her life.

At 5ft 3in, and wearing a size 18, Jo's body mass index (BMI) was 38.4, meaning she was obese.

Jo had hoped seeing the picture would bring back happy memories of a nice family weekend away
Jo had hoped seeing the picture would bring back happy memories of a nice family weekend away

Having always been a slim size 12 until giving birth to Harriet, Jo admits she went up two dress sizes while she was pregnant.

She suffered from postnatal depression and instead of losing her baby belly, kept getting bigger.

Jo said: "I was 34 when I had Harriett and my friends had already had their children, who had grown up.

"I found myself feeling isolated and alone for a long time. I didn't want to go out or socialise at all - I just wanted to stay in my own bubble.

"I made up excuses to avoid seeing people. I'd say I was too busy with the baby or things like that.

"I don't know how Johnny coped, but he was always so supportive and took the pressure off me."

Jo vowed to change her life when she saw the snap
Jo vowed to change her life when she saw the snap

Struggling with low moods and her new role as a "full-time mum and housewife", Jo turned to food for comfort.

She explained: "I started wearing jogging bottoms and loose fitting clothes. I didn't wear jeans for years and became addicted to leftovers and savoury snacks.

"As soon as Johnny or Harriett said they were full, I'd hoover up what was left on their plate."

Taking antidepressants for the next three years, it was only after starting work at her local school as a dinner lady that Jo began to feel like her old self again.

But, by then a size 18, she had built snacking between meals and takeaways into her normal daily routine.

Eating an estimated 3,000 calories a day, compared to the 2,000 recommended for women, she said: "I started working again when Harriett went to nursery and felt a lot happier in myself. I got some of my confidence back.

Jo cut her calories from 3,000 a day to under 2,000
Jo cut her calories from 3,000 a day to under 2,000

"But my eating habits had drastically changed. I started relying on takeaways more, too. Juggling caring for a young child and a job could be hard and I'd treat myself to pizzas or chippy teas at least twice a week.

"I'd get a bag of scraps from the chippy as a side and eat them from the paper with my hands."

Telling herself she was happy with her larger frame throughout her late 40s, Jo's wake-up call came when she saw her picture on the guesthouse website.

She said: "After I saw the photo, I told Johnny, 'that's it,' and got him to print off a copy to put on the fridge."

Spending the next year desperately trying to keep her calorie count under 1,800, despite her best efforts, Jo kept succumbing to temptation.

She explained: "I really did try, but I just didn't have the right mindset. Working in the school kitchen didn't help.

Jo also wanted to be a role model for her 13-year-old daughter
Jo also wanted to be a role model for her 13-year-old daughter

"I couldn't bear to see food go to waste, I'd have three bowls of school dinner leftovers on the go. Baked beans, wedges, fish fingers - anything."

Eventually, nearly a year after the fateful B&B photo, realising she needed extra support she followed advice from friends and in September, 2018, she signed up with the 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan.

In her first two weeks she lost a stone and - determined not to be fat at 50 - Jo had lost an impressive four stone.

She said: "I was dreading being fat at 50 all year and, somehow, I managed to turn it around.

"On my big day, I wore a size 12 party dress and I couldn't have been happier - it was brilliant.

Jo wanted to be slim in time for her 50th birthday and is now a size 12
Jo wanted to be slim in time for her 50th birthday and is now a size 12

By the end of February 2019, Jo reached her target weight of 9st 7lb and has maintained a healthy BMI of 23.5 ever since.

She said: "I feel like a completely different person. I feel amazing.

"For the first time in over a decade I look forward to going shopping and buying clothes that show off my figure - rather than hiding it.

"People I've known for years still walk past me in the street because they don't recognise me. When they do they don't stop telling me how they can't get used to my new look.

"I feel like my self-esteem has come back with a vengeance."

But her biggest achievement is becoming a positive role model for her daughter.

Jo was able to buy a glamorous dress for her 50th birthday party
Jo was able to buy a glamorous dress for her 50th birthday party

She said: "I told Harriett when I signed up with the 1:1 Diet, 'I'm going to do this - just watch me.'

"Now, here I am, walking proof that if you believe in yourself and show yourself self-respect anything is possible.

"My life has become so positive and I know that that positivity has rubbed off on my family.

"I might not have set the best example for Harriet in her early years, but I'm confident now she has a mum she can be proud of."

Diet before

Breakfast: White toast, buttered on both sides

Lunch: Loaded cheese and tomato sarnie

Dinner: Fish and chips

Snacks: Crisps and chocolate

Diet after

Breakfast: Porridge

Lunch: Chicken with steamed veg

Dinner: Tuna salad

Snacks: None