New Me! 4 Stone and 5 Sizes Down, January to October

Sharon lost over 4 stone and dropped 5 dress sizes in under a year - she improved her heath so much she stopped needing blood pressure medication!

New Me! 4 Stone and 5 Sizes Down, January to October

Sharon, Age 65, Height 5'6"
  Weight Dress Size
Start 15 stone 2 lb 20
Current 11 stone 10-12
Sharon's Lost 4 stone 2 lb 5 dress sizes
Time Taken 10 months
Sharon's fabulous weight loss graph
After starting in January, Sharon's achieved fantastic weight loss success!

A bit about me and my lifestyle...

I’m in my mid 60’s, have two daughters and 4 grandchildren and live happily in Essex with my partner and nutty spaniel, Hamilton. I was married at 20 and had my first daughter at 25 - from that point onwards I have had a constant argument with my weight!!

After she was born my weight shot up from 9 stone 10 lbs to 11 stone (funnily enough, what I weigh now!), I wasn’t happy at this weight so decided to join another young mum who went to a slimming club, Weightguard. Over the next 6 months I managed to get down to just under 10 stone then fell pregnant again and had my second daughter when I was 26.

Over the next 15 years I lived a relatively normal life, starting back at work for a well known chilled/frozen food distributor to the catering trade and worked my way up from an admin assistant in their motor transport department to fleet planning manager. My weight during this time was relatively stable, although I was a ‘bit’ overweight hovering between 11 stone and 12 stone.

"With 2 teenage daughters, a mountain of debt and very low esteem, my weight started to creep on."

Then, my, now ex-husband, moved on to another relationship leaving me with 2 teenage daughters, a mountain of debt, and very low esteem... my weight started to creep on. Then in my early 40’s I decided that it was time to get a grip and do something about my weight, so I joined a gym and started swimming everyday before work - which helped to an extent, but all I did was change shape and build muscle, so I actually put more weight on and by now my weight was hovering around 13 stone.

How I've tried to lose weight in the past...

Over the next 5-6 years I carried on as normal, eating and drinking as I always had, but now I had introduced red wine into my life and found that I was drinking perhaps two bottles of wine a week. I did try the cabbage soup diet, for all of about two weeks, lost no weight at all and felt bloated and ‘windy’ most of the time.

In my late 40’s I met a lovely man through work who loved me for who I was and wasn’t bothered about my size, so I made no adjustments to my life. I still worked for the same company and enjoyed by job and by then had been there for 20 years. My daughters by this time, although still at home, were both fully qualified chefs and my eldest had a rather large weight problem, at 21 she weighed just over 20 stone.

With my lovely man

Our doctor suggested a clinical trial that a local pharmaceutical company were carrying out where they were researching the effects on the body and blood composition of various diets. We both went along and were allocated to a group that were trying the low GI diet. Over the next six months we had to go every couple of weeks to be weighed and have blood tests and during that time we both lost about a stone.

In 2007, both the girls had moved on with their lives which me left at home by myself, so the drinking red wine, and stuffing myself with chocolate and all things sweet increased with a vengeance, However, my lovely man still liked me as I was, so I wasn’t fussed.

"the drinking red wine, stuffing myself with chocolate and all things sweet increased with a vengeance."

Anyway, in mid-2007 we decided that we would like to live together, and I took the bold step, sold my house and moved to Essex to live with him.

"By that time my weight had hit an all time high of 15 stone 5 lbs. I went to visit my new GP who put me straight on to medication for high blood pressure."

My GP told me I should really try and lose some weight and asked if I would I like to see a nutritionist – err, no I didn’t! So I didn’t go.

My eldest daughter came to live with us a year later and about six months after that she told me that she wanted to lose some weight. She asked if I would go to Weight Watchers with her. So, I thought, well yes, why not, I’ll go and keep her company, my goal weight was set at 11 stone 1 lb.

That started nearly two years of counting points, going for weekly weigh ins and not bothering to stay for the meetings.

"We used to go to the supermarket straight after our weigh in, buy pizza and a bottle of wine each..!"

Anyway, after two years I had actually managed to get down to 12 stone, but then my daughter moved back to Surrey, and as I had only gone to keep her company I stopped going!! Needless to say over the next 2-3 years my weight crept back up to 15 stone 2 lbs!

"over the next 2-3 years my weight crept back up to 15 stone 2 lbs!"

I briefly tried Slimming World, but couldn’t get by head around their diet so gave up after a couple of months. I also tried Weightwatchers again, online this time, but by this time they had changed their points system so gave up.

By this time, I was the National Fleet Operations Admin Manager, in charge of the motor transport team and responsible for all the company’s operator’s licences and the various legal aspects of running a large fleet of vehicles in the UK and Ireland, with all the stress that brought. I was now drinking 5-6 bottles of wine a week and eating so much chocolate! I was offered voluntary redundancy, which I took with welcome arms, but despite the lack of stress, I made no changes to my diet, until last Christmas!!

How my weight affected me...

My blood pressure was still high and over the last few years my medication had been increased to keep it under control.

"I was in so much pain with my right hip I considered going to my GP to see if I perhaps needed a hip replacement, especially as I was now 64."

Thinking about it and talking with my partner, we both came to the conclusion that if surgery was needed I would probably be told to lose weight first.

Finding Weight Loss Resources...

So I started to research the internet for diets as I didn’t want to try Weightwatchers or Slimming World again and I came across WLR.

After a great deal of discussion, and remembering what a colleague of mine had mentioned in passing at work one day (he said that he had lost a stone over a couple of months by having to walk a mile each way to where his car was parked), I thought, well, if I go out for a walk at lunchtime every day, as well as my dog walk, and join WLR and count calories, I may just be able to lose the extra weight.

My Motivation to Lose Weight...

Speaking with my partner, whose weight on the 30th December 2018 was 11 stone 1 lb, I decided that I would join WLR and get down to a pound less than him, in other words, 11 stone.

"The difference this time was that I was doing it for ME, because my hip hurt, and I wanted it to be better."

How WLR Helped Me Get Started...

I signed up, decided I would go for the maximum weight loss of 2lbs a week with a goal of getting to target by August, go for a walk at lunchtime and I bought myself a Fitbit to help me along the way.

My daily calorie allowance was set to 1100 a day, so I was off and running (well walking anyway). I had a look at all the boards and found some great advice and read some really inspirational stories in the success stories and something just clicked with me, I’m still not sure what, but I realised that this time I felt completely different about this.

"It wasn’t a ‘diet’ as such, but a change to the way I thought about food."

What really scared me was the fact that a bottle of wine was around 600 calories and the bar of chocolate that I would treat myself too on 3-4 evenings a week was 1100 calories, MY WHOLE DAILY ALLOWANCE!

So, I made another decision - that I would cut wine and chocolate completely out of my diet, and to that I also added cheese (except for feta)!

Walking the Weight Off...

I started going for a walk at lunchtime, just round the block, which, the first time, took me 23 minutes... but it was less than a mile!

After I’d been going out for a couple of weeks, the receptionist asked my why I was going out every day, and I said that I was trying to lose some weight and thought that walking would help me. She said to me 'why don’t you join the Wednesday Walkies club?', I didn’t even know it existed!!

Anyway, I went to see the girls in the accounts department, and they said 'yes, come and join us'. Little did I know what I was letting myself in for!!

I joined my first Wednesday Walkies walk the following week... good grief, I could barely keep up with them and forget about trying to talk as well, that was just impossible!!

We walked for 40 minutes and covered just under two miles and I felt almost dead!! It wasn’t until much later that they admitted they had slowed down for me so I could keep up with them!

In the first 3 weeks I had lost just over half a stone,  3 weeks later I had lost another half a stone and was nudging the 14 stone mark. I also decided to join the WLR 'Walk the Weight Off' challenge.

"My clothes were so much looser I began to see a difference in myself that spurred me on to continue."

By the beginning of April I had lost 2 stone and even my boss had noticed that I had lost weight, I’d gone from a size 20 down to a 16-18 so had started to buy just a few new clothes. I was still finding that logging everything and keeping within calories was relatively easy and by this time was getting an addition 300 or so calories a day by walking.

I continued to lose weight steadily, not the two pounds I was expecting to, but between 1 – 1½lbs a week, which I was happy with.

My clothes started to feel looser...

June came and we went on holiday... Oops, huge shock when I got home again, I’d put on half stone!!! Horror of Horrors. So I knuckled down and managed to lose it within 3 weeks, but for the next month or so I’d only lose a little bit every week - ½ lb or so a week... so I began to feel a bit despondent.

But, I put a post on the weigh in board explaining that I was a bit disappointed that I’d only lost ½ a pound... Oh boy, did that create a reaction!! It was pointed out to me by one of the long-term maintainers that it was indeed a loss and to keep going, I would get there eventually!

By now my just under a mile walk in 23 minutes was taking me about 17-18 minutes, so I decided to make my walk longer and extended it to about a mile and a quarter which took me 20-23 minutes.

My Journey to my Weight Loss Goal...

By mid-July I had lost 3 stone which left me with just over a stone to go, but as I got nearer my goal it seemed to slip further away - it didn’t, its just that everything slowed down. But, as the posts on the boards pointed out to me, the nearer I got the slower the weight loss would be, so I thought, OK, its going to take me longer than I thought so carry on.

One Wednesday Walkies, it was just me and one of the other girls, so she said rather than do the route we normally do, how about we walk as far as we can in 25 minutes and walk back again, so I thought, yes why not.

We walked 3 miles in 55 minutes, I was delighted! Plus by now I could have a conversation at the same time as walking. So, from then on, every Wednesday we walked 3 miles.

We went on holiday again in mid-September and the half stone crept on again, although I was expecting it this time. I Happened to mention to Wednesday Walkies about the weight gain and it was suggested that perhaps I should walk 3 miles every lunchtime and maybe find a walk at home to do at the weekends - which I did, and found a lovely 3½ mile walk which takes me about an hour.

That half stone went quicker this time and took me to less than half a stone from goal by the end of September.

"I'd got to 11 stone... I was absolutely thrilled!"

Achieving my Goals...

The girls from Wednesday Walkies suggested that we should make a date for a pub lunch to celebrate me getting to goal, so I said how about pay day in October...

Well, pay day arrived, I stepped on the scales and...

"drum roll!!!!!!! I’d got to 11 stone!! I was absolutely thrilled!"

The girls took me for my pub lunch which they paid for and they’d both bought me a card each and presents! A bottle of prosecco, a bar of chocolate and a model of a Kingfisher (a very tongue in cheek gift from one of them).

My 'nailed it!' celebration Prosecco

So, what are my achievements?

  • Just over a 4 stone weight loss, I’m at the top of the healthy weight range for my height
  • My BMI is 24.9, it was 34.2 when I started
  • My dress size has dropped dramatically from a 20 to a 10-12
  • I’ve lost 27% of my body weight
  • My body fat has reduced from 43.2% to 28.2%
  • I’ve lost 46 inches in total
  • On the VERY plus side my GP reduced my blood pressure medication by 75% in June and said that when I’ve lost the rest of the weight he would think about reducing it completely!
Sharon lost 27% of her body weight in less than a year!

"Oh, and the painful hip which was the main reason for me starting this?? The pain had gone by the end of January!!"

I mentioned that I’d bought myself a fitbit, according to th fitbit my heart health at the very beginning, was 21-23, not very good! It is now 41-45 which is excellent for someone my age, and my resting heartbeat has reduced from 65 beats a minute to between 48-52 beats a minute!

The Best Bits of WLR...

What helped me the most? The boards undoubtedly, and taking the Walk the Weight Off challenge - I’ve got my bronze medal and I’m just over half way to my 38th destination, so I doubt I’ll do all 50 of the destinations in 50 weeks, but I will be more than happy with my silver medal!!

Most of all, the comments that I’ve had from people on the boards and the words of encouragement from the Help Team.

And, of course, I couldn’t have achieved the fitness level that I have if it hadn’t been for the Wednesday Walkies club. They’re talking about taking part in then 100km Jurassic Coast Challenge next May, did I want to join them, I might, but they are both over 20 years younger than me.

Sharon's Top Tips for Success...

Over the last 10 months I have realised that the only way to achieve something like this is:

  • Do it for the right reasons, for me it was for ME, no-one else.
  • Use the tools available on WLR, read the boards, contribute to the boards and read the very good advice that will come your way.
  • Take part in the challenges.
  • Log EVERYTHING, weigh EVERYTHING! If something goes awry, which it will do, don’t be in a blind panic about it, just forget it and move on.
  • Don’t expect weight loss to happen overnight, it’s a long slow process, but it IS achievable.
Sharon looks and feels fantastic with her new size and shape - and she's in better health too!

How Sharon's Life Has Changed...

After all this is done and I’ve achieved the goal I’ve reached, I am much more content with my life. I am certainly much healthier and fitter than I’ve ever been. Most of all, I feel good about the way I look now AND I’ve got a brand new wardrobe of clothes!!

As a footnote to my story I’ve visited my GP this morning and he has completely withdrawn my blood pressure medication!!  Is that a result or what??!!

 

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