By Liz Thomas
Super slimmer: Emmerdale star Pauline Quirke shed a third of her body weight after she was told she was obese
It was the shock she needed after her weight hit 19st 6lb.
Pauline Quirke was told she was 'severely obese' and warned that one her hips had worn away because of the weight on it.
Seven months after that wake-up call the actress says she is a new woman after losing a third of her body weight.
The 51-year-old former star of Birds of a Feather revealed she dropped an astonishing 6st 6lbs and is now 13st.
She confessed the discovery that she was categorised as severely obese made her take stock of her life.
She was also told by doctors that, because one of her joints had worn away, she needed a hip replacement.
'I hadn't weighed myself for many, many years. Then just before Christmas, I got on the scales and it said 19st 6lbs. I was so shocked,' she told Woman magazine.
Big star: Pauline as she was ten years ago
Miss Quirke, who is now appearing in TV soap Emmerdale, added that she was determined to get to her target weight of 11stone.
She opted to go on the controversial 500 calorie-a-day Lighter Life diet, in which meals are switched for shakes, soups and snack bars, put together in food packs.
Those going on the programme need to have medical approval and have to have a health check every month.
Miss Quirke, who is now the face of the brand, said: 'I've never been hungry.
Acting up: Currently starring in Emmerdale, Pauline plays mourning mother Hazel Rhodes
The thing they're strict about is the whole counselling thing. Once a week
we have our group support sessions. So if you're wavering a bit, you know you're not alone.'
The diet has raised concerns because, while it includes all the daily recommended protein, minerals and vitamins, it only provides a quarter of the suggested daily calorie intake for women. This means the body has to use stored fat for energy.
The actress will be renewing her wedding vows this summer after husband Steve, 53 – with whom she has two children Emily, 26, and Charlie, 16 – said of her new look: 'You look fantastic. I wish I could marry you all over again.'
After Birds of a Feather ended in 1998 Miss Quirke starred in acclaimed drama The Sculptress about a woman convicted of killing her mother and sister. She has since appeared in The Bill, Cold Blood, and in drama series Missing.