At her heaviest, Brenna Alexander weighed 17st 12lbs and never felt comfortable in her self, preferring to wear baggy clothes to hide her figure.

The 34-year-old from Minnesota, US, said she was never happy with the way she looked but rarely exercised and enjoyed eating out regularly.

It wasn’t until a routine doctor’s appointment that she decided to change her lifestyle, after discovering she had borderline high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Brenna explained: “The doctor bluntly told me that I was overweight and hearing it this way was the moment I knew I needed to make a real lifestyle change.

“Deep down I knew I wasn’t happy with the way I looked and how I felt in my clothes. I used to be shy and introverted because of how I felt and looked.”

In a bid to shape up, Brenna started an intense training regime which helped her to shed a whopping 5.5st in just 18 months.

Now the stunner does strength training and cardio five times a week – but she revealed the hardest part of her weight-loss journey was keeping it up.

Her advice to anyone who wants to shed the pounds is to start by setting small goals.

Brenna said: ”The hardest part is staying consistent, it’s easy to jumpstart and get a week or two in but it’s keeping it going past that where the real magic happens.

“I recommend setting small achievable goals.”

She continued: “Things you can actually physically control like: ‘I will work out three days this week’ as that is something you can control.

“I advise to not set goals like: ‘I will lose two-pounds this week’ because truly this isn’t in your control, our bodies are incredible yet have a mind of their own and this type of goal setting is likely to cause frustration and feelings of discouragement if not reached.

“I also host a fitness and meal plan programme every month on my website, I created this program because of the overwhelming response for help that came flooding in once my photos went viral on Instagram.

“I’ve been able to help thousands of women across the world gain confidence, feel a sense of accomplishment, conquer their fear or anxiety of strength training and lose weight.”

Now at a super slim 12st 5lbs, Brenna enjoys healthy home-cooked meals and only eats out occasionally.

The American beauty says that losing weight has helped her get her life back, after going from a UK size 26 to a slimline size 10.

She said: ”Since gaining control back from food and having exercise be a part of my daily life, I feel vibrant and energetic, I’m much more outgoing which is how I feel on the inside.

“I have a newfound love for my body, my curves, my stretch marks and imperfections.”

Brenna added: “I’ve realized that our bodies change, we fluctuate. We are not perfect, we are human.

“I have maintained a healthy weight for over ten years now and I’ve seen my body weight go up and down but the internal shift that was made has helped me love myself along this entire journey.”

For more information see Brenna’s website.