A detective from Stourbridge is proof that lockdown living doesn’t need to be unhealthy after losing four and a half stone – and dropping dress sizes from 18 to a 10-12.

Amy Johnson, a Detective Constable with West Midlands Police, admits she panicked at the start of lockdown and could not concentrate on her weight loss plans because things were so up in the air.

She wasn’t alone, with new research showing people finding it more difficult to manage their weight in lockdown, drinking more alcohol and eating more takeaways food.

But Amy has shown it can be done – and she and the people who helped her have released their top tips on how to lose weight and stay healthy under pandemic restrictions.

Amy, 33, joined Slimming World last April. She is currently on maternity leave after giving birth to her son. She already had a seven year old daughter.

She said she will be returning to work in April “proud that I’ll be leaving lockdown feeling better than I have in a long time”.

She hit her target weight just before Christmas and says it was due to the virtual groups giving her support and encouragement.

“Back when this all began I panicked a bit. I couldn’t concentrate on my weight loss or eating as healthily as I did before because everything else seemed so up in the air. Once I started in the virtual groups and after the birth of my little boy, things changed.

“It’s good to keep in touch with everyone even if it is only on screen.”

Weight loss consultant Caroline Pitt, who covers the Stourbridge and Halesowen area and had herself lost five and a half stone, said: “In these testing times, it’s really normal to feel stressed and anxious, and so for usual healthy habits like eating well and keeping active to slip a little. “

These are Caroline and Slimming World’s lockdown tips for a healthier life:

• Fall in love with food

It’s so easy to get stuck in a bit of a rut when it comes to cooking. Do you find yourself making the same handful of meals on repeat every week? If so, you could take this time to try something new. It doesn’t have to be too complicated or time consuming – just something that makes you feel excited about cooking again. Banana bread seems to be the hottest trend at the moment

•Stay in touch

It’s easy to feel isolated during lockdown – as well as missing family and friends, just missing your normal day-to-day routine can have a big impact on the way you feel and, as a result, your eating and activity habits. Staying connected is now more important than ever

• Take control

It might seem silly to suggest taking time out when many of us are spending more time at home than ever, but it’s still important to practice a little self-care. There’s a lot happening in the world that we can’t control and that can start to impact our motivation to stay in control of our eating and activity habits, but actually looking after ourselves is something we can control. So as well as staying on track with any healthy eating plans or keeping up with your regular activity, it’s important to schedule in some ‘me’ time too. Run a hot bubble bath and give yourself a pamper, pop on your favourite podcast or settle down with a book or magazine

• Get active

Your usual gym might be closed but there are still plenty of ways to get active in lockdown, if you’d like to. Remember exercise isn’t just good for your body – it’s a great mood-booster too. There are loads of online classes you can try out – from HIIT to salsa-cize. Current guidelines also suggest we can get out limitlessly in our local area to be physically active, so fit in a daily walk if you can, or set yourself a challenge like completing Couch to 5K

• Soothe your mind

In these challenging times, people will be feeling more worried and anxious than usual, and these feelings could have an impact on us making healthy choices and see us turn to food for comfort. If current events on the news are a trigger for you, try to limit your exposure. Make your own playlists rather than listening to the radio, scroll through just one social media channel, and enjoy a Netflix fix rather than watch live TV. Let those around you know if it makes you feel uncomfortable to talk about current affairs, too.