It is a simple thing which most mums would take for granted. But Amanda Stevens longs to go swimming with her children.

It’s something she currently feels unable to do, for fear of being laughed at.

Amanda, from Canford Heath, is now on a mission to lose at least ten stone in a bid to fulfil her dream.

Husband Craig, 35, wants to lose five stone, and the couple’s children Zach, 15, and Morgan, 12, are also set on leading a healthier lifestyle.

We will be following the Stevens’ progress in the coming months as they work with Slimming World to try and achieve their goals, and become an altogether fitter and healthier family.

Amanda, 42, has already lost four stone with the help of the group she attends twice weekly and, despite admitting being a yo-yo dieter in the past, is keen to turn her life around once and for all.

“I’ve always had a weight problem,” she said. “It tends to run in the family. I gave up smoking a year ago, so that was another kick start, then I had cellulitis, so I realised from a health point of view that I needed to do it.”

Amanda, who works as a telephone operator for a local fast food company, had a sudden realisation that the family’s unhealthy lifestyle was also having an effect on her children.

“The kids started saying things like they had been really good this week, so did that mean they could have a takeaway. They were using food as a reward, which is learnt behaviour from us.”

The family has been attending Slimming World together and, while Amanda and Craig are working on losing weight, the boys, both pupils at Lytchett Minster School, are on a different plan focusing on making healthier choices.

“It’s to do with the way we cook things,” said Amanda. “You buy chicken nuggets and you see they’re chicken breast and you think they’re okay, you don’t realise how unhealthy they are. We do things from scratch now and we don’t use oil in anything. The children, instead of coming home and having crisps and a chocolate bar, will have an apple. They still go to MacDonalds, but instead of going every week, they will go every two months and they’ll have a wrap instead of a Big Mac. It’s trying to go for the healthier option.”

Amanda is determined that 2014 will see a more slimline version of herself, and her husband. Craig started attending the groups with Amanda at the start of the year, after realising he could do with losing weight.

“I did start playing six-a-side football and realised I was a bit overweight,” he said. “I’d like to lose about five stone, which will take me down to about 12-and-a-half stone.”

Amanda has been offered help with weight loss in the past, in the form of surgery, but decided against it.

“I have been offered a gastric band over the years,” she said. “But I want to do it the proper way. You’ve got to change your lifestyle. There are some things you don’t do because you can’t, stuff you don’t do because you feel you’re being laughed at. I had to have an extension on the aeroplane when we went to Florida.

“You push things to one side and pretend you don’t mind it, but you do care. It’s a bit of a realisation. This year is going to be our year.”