Donna Gillie weighed in at 16.5st but realised she needed to make a change when she felt uncomfortable just sitting at her desk.
Determined to get fit, she joined the gym and started exercise classes which helped her drop five stone over two years.
Donna, who lives in Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia, Canada, said: “I began to struggle with my weight in my early teens.
Donna competed in her first show in 2014 to celebrate her newly svelte figure and got a taste for the competitions.
She said: ‘I entered not because I wanted a plastic trophy or any recognition but something for myself – to prove to myself I could shape my body after all my hard work losing the weight I wanted to build my body.’
As a teenager Donna gorged on food, becoming shocked to discover when she graduated college that she weighed 230lb.
‘I began to struggle with my weight in my early teens. I knew early on I struggled with food – I always overate.
‘My trigger foods are, with no question, sweets. I love chocolate, ice cream and cheesecake and always will.’
Her turning point came when she was 22 and even sitting down didn’t feel right.
She said: ‘I remember sitting at my desk at work at my new job and feeling very uncomfortable, and at about 230lb and 5ft 4ins it’s no wonder that was the case.’
Determined to get fit, Donna joined the gym in 2010 and started exercise classes which helped her to lose 70lb over two years.
However she hit a plateau and had to kick her bad eating habits too – adding more fruit and vegetables to her diet.
Donna took up Zumba, step class and body pump. Then she began running and signed up for 10k races.
‘Losing weight has changed my life in only positive ways.
‘So many people have come up to me and said I made them want to make a change and they ask for advice.
‘I always tell them my path and to keep a positive mindset because that alone can work wonders.
‘The fitness community is often thought of as very superficial but to be honest it a great support system and social atmosphere.
‘Since losing my weight I feel better physically and mentally.’
Donna is currently preparing for her third bikini show in December.