When Ashley Anderson had previously tried to lose weight she felt under too much pressure from other people knowing she was on a diet.

So she went undercover for a new body transformation TV show to keep her weight loss a secret.

Ashley, 30, from Aberdeen, had a special body suit made for her that kept her looking the same by adding foam padding – even though she was shedding pounds underneath.

And after a 12-week programme of exercise and healthy eating she stepped out of the body suit to reveal to family and friends that she’d secretly lost three stone and shed 26 inches.

Ashley appears in new TV show Secret Body which is screened on BBC Scotland on Thursday 14 November.

She’d been struggling to control her weight for 10 years and used to be very fit when she was younger.

Ashley was a black belt in martial arts, became an instructor and swam a mile, three times a week.

Ashley at 18 when she was a martial arts instructor
 

She was dating a fellow instructor and when they split in her 20s she decided to give up the sport and without the exercise piled on the pounds and went up to a size 24-26 and weighed around 20st.

She admitted she didn’t like how she looked in the mirror and would eat too much pasta, pizza and cheese.

She runs a property maintenance company with her dad Colin but is also a make-up artist and was desperate to get back to the size 12-14 she used to be.

And she wanted to be fit enough to join her dad on his regular mountain climbs.

Ashley and her dad at her 30th birthday party
 

“I was ashamed of what I had become not because there’s any shame in being a bigger person – but because I know that’s not me and where I’m comfortable and where I’ve come from,” she explained.

“I got to the stage where I was gaining weight and was too embarrassed to go back to exercise and I was comfort eating. If I’d had a stressful day I would treat myself to a takeaway.

“I had joined a slimming class previous to this and although I had the support of my family, every time they’d see me they’d ask how I was getting on and had I lost weight. There was a pressure to lose weight and I almost wanted to rebel against that.”

For the TV show, costume makers created a body suit for Ashley that would hide the fact she was losing weight. And expert trainers Rab Shields and Stephen Clarke came up with a food and exercise programme for her.

Expert trainers Rab Shields and Stephen Clarke came up with a health and fitness programme for Ashley
 

Only her mum Maggie was in on the secret – and everyone else including her dad, who is separated from her mum, was kept in the dark.

Keeping her weight loss a secret was tough as was hiding herself in the body suit. “You’d get invited to barbecues and everyone would be in summer dresses and I’d be there with a jumper on getting funny looks.”

One time her dad popped round and she had to quickly run upstairs to get her suit on.

“That was really tough – but it was worth it to keep the secret.”

After 12 weeks of exercise and healthy eating she’d dropped 3st and got down to a size 18/20 and was fit enough to go hill walking with her dad.

After losing 3 stone and getting fit Ashley was able to go hill walking with her dad

“It felt wonderful. When I took off the body suit it was a lot bulkier than I’d thought. Even though 12 weeks is not a long period of time I could still see how far I’d come. It was a lot more emotional that I thought it would be.”

Ashley is planning a party with friends and family to watch the TV show together.

She said friends and family were proud of her weight loss and shocked she’d managed to keep it a secret. But it’s set her on a path to being healthier.

“It was the kick-start I needed and it’s given me back my confidence.”

Secret Body is on Thursday 14 December at 9pm on BBC Scotland.

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