‘Frightening wake-up call helped me shed 11 stone’

11 stone weight loss after frightening wake up call

by take-a-break |
Updated on

I was all set for weight-loss surgery but a piece of shocking news changed my mind — and my life. By Sophie Ratcliffe, 29

I lost 11 stone in weight

Gasping for breath, I ground to a halt as my kids, aged eight and five, ran ahead.

We’d gone for a walk but after just a few steps up a hill, I felt as if I’d climbed a mountain.

‘Come and play, Mummy!’ my youngest called over.

‘In a minute,’ I replied, panting heavily.

But the truth was, I was flat-out exhausted.

At 23st 13lb, and a size 26, I knew I was overweight and I knew why.

I was an emotional eater and had been since my teens.

Over the years, I’d tried various diets but I’d always kept them hush-hush because I was convinced I wouldn’t lose any weight.

And true enough, I hadn’t.

I’d find myself slipping back to my comfort foods of deep fried chicken and chips, and family-size pizzas just for me.

In a last bid to shed the pounds, I even secretly hired a personal trainer, but I couldn’t keep it up when the kids were born.

Now, however, I was fed up of feeling heavy and tired so I booked an appointment to see my GP, who referred me for gastric band surgery.

It seemed like the only solution but then two things happened to make me wonder.

First, my best friend’s mum died. We were close, and it hit me hard.

Then, I started having what I thought were panic attacks.

One attack turned into a 13-minute seizure, and I was taken to hospital where the diagnosis was shocking.

I lost 11st in weight

‘We think you have a cancerous brain tumour,’ a doctor told me.

I was stunned. But further tests revealed the truth.

It wasn’t cancer, it was epilepsy.

I was put on medication to control my seizures and had to quit my job as a barber.

It was devastating but it was also a wake-up call.

I felt I’d been given a second chance and I wanted to make sure I didn’t waste it.

So I phoned the hospital and said: ‘I want to cancel my weight-loss surgery.’

The doctor I spoke to was sceptical, but I was determined to change my habits and be healthier for my kids.

First of all, I signed up to a Slimming World group in Hayle, Cornwall, with three friends.

The group and my consultant Charlotte were so welcoming and I was delighted to discover I didn’t have to give up all the food I loved.

Instead, I swapped my night-time snacks for Slimming World Hi-Fi bars and tasty low-cal ice cream, and in the first week, I lost 11lb.

I was thrilled.

As the weeks went by, it wasn’t always as easy as that, but my friends and I encouraged each other, and 15 months later, I’d lost 11 stone.

Now, I’m so much more energetic, I haven’t had a seizure in nine months, and I believe my new healthy lifestyle has made the difference.

I’ve been left with some excess skin but part of me sees it as a badge of honour. It’s proof of just how far I’ve come.

* For more information, visit slimmingworld.co.uk

5ft 10in

23st 13lb Size 26

12st 13lb Size 12

Total loss
11 stone

Diet before

Breakfast: full English fry-up with lots of ketchup

Lunch: deep-fried chicken and chips

Dinner: family-size pizza, ice cream with chocolate sauce and cream

Snacks: crisps, bars of chocolate, sweets, fizzy drinks

Diet now

Breakfast: banana with low-fat yogurt

Lunch: chicken skewers with pitta bread

Dinner: SW’s pizza-topped chicken with SW and veg

Snacks: grapes, apples, high fibre bar

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