Former Emmerdale actor and Loose Women panelist, Lisa Riley joined Ray on The Ray D’Arcy Show. She’s penned a book, Lisa Riley’s Honest Diet, which details her dramatic 12 stone (76kg) weight loss.

However, Lisa insists that she was perfectly happy with a successful career and great social life before she dropped dress sizes. 

"Always life and soul of the party. Always getting the role of the 'bigger girl',"she said.

"And I had a wonderful life and I had a great career and the roles were coming in completely and I was so happy," she explained.

Society has a habit of fat-shaming people - women especially - if their bodies fail to conform to 'perfection'.

The culture of 'before and after' pictures on social media suggest that happiness is unachievable without a small waistline. 

Of course, a healthy diet and regular exercise have a myriad of health benefits, both physically and mentally which is why Lisa threw herself into a lifestyle change.

After trying various "faddy diets", it was the death of her mother and the ill-health of her father that prompted Lisa to evaluate things.

"Was I lying to myself? Well, absolutely, yes I was…I didn’t care. I didn’t think. I just consumed.

"Whereas now I know the right things to put in my body, the good things and enjoying the training side of things, the movement. And also, the best thing is enjoying how I feel."

An unkind story about her in a newspaper was another motivator, Lisa explained. A piece ran with the headline "Emmer-whale", referring to Lisa’s appearance.

"To call someone a whale, that’s really kind of quite mean, you know. And thank God I’m strong enough to, you know, not let it get me down. It did at the time but I pulled my socks up and moved on with it…

"They knew what they were doing and they knew what they were putting in the paper and they didn’t know what hurt it caused me. And it did cause me an awful lot of hurt. But I got over it."

After changing her diet, portion sizes and exercise routine, Lisa dropped from a size 28 to a size 12. She urges to people to measure their progress by how they are feeling and the clothes they are wearing rather than worrying about the number on the scale.

"The best way to move forward is always to go by your clothing. If you get down to stones and stuff - I even had this recently in a boot camp - you can put weight on by having muscle," she explained.

You can listen to the RTÉ Radio 1 interview in the video above.