A mum of two who struggled to walk with arthritis because of her weight has lost nearly six stone in less than a year and dropped 10 dress sizes in the process.
Karen Atherton, from Camelford, had been in denial that she was overweight, telling herself that it was clothes sizes in shops that were getting smaller and smaller until health problems started creeping up on her.
“The truth is, that for the past 17 years, since having my two children, the weight had been creeping on and on, but instead of doing something about it, I told myself that the clothes sizes in shops were getting smaller and that I was fine,” she said.
“With the increase in weight, my blood pressure had also been going up alarmingly, and when I stood up after sitting for any length of time, my feet would hurt, which I put down to being the wrong side of 50, rather than my massiveness.
“The arthritis in my knee is fairly new and luckily not too bad, but it would ache constantly and I was taking pain-killers daily.”
By her own admission the self employed jeweller, who makes silver jewellery using sea glass and other beach-found treasure, had always been reluctant to join any slimming group and always found excuses not to tag along with her friend, who has been a member of their local Slimming World group for years.
“After a city-break with my family at the beginning of 2020, which involved lots of walking from place to place, I was very aware of my aching feet and knee in particular and when I looked back at the photos I’d taken, I realised that I was in very few of them, the reason being that I felt I ruined pictures, simply by being in them.
“I finally admitted to myself that I had no more excuses and needed help to lose weight. I called my good friend Anita and arranged to go along to Slimming World with her at the very next meeting.”
Karen joined her local Slimming World branch days before the first lockdown and has since lost more than 5.5 stone in weight, and is gunning for more.
The 53-year-old said: “When I got on the scales at that meeting, I was 18 stone 6.5 lbs – much heavier than I had expected!!!!! After discussing it with Julie, I set a target weight of 11 stone, groaning inwardly at the number of years it was likely to take, for me to reach that target.
“I went home and the following day I started food optimising. After having tried various diets over the years, I knew that fasting and calorie counting did not suit me.”
Lockdown happened but to Karen’s surprise she lost more than eight pounds the first week, which in turn gave her the incentive she needed to lose even more weight.
As well as looking at what she ate, Karen joined her children in front of the TV doing PE with Joe Wicks workouts every day and also took part in the Slimming World Body Magic programme, which is less about losing weight and more about body shaping after losing that weight.
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Karen added: “I have gone from a size 20-22 down to a size 12-14 which is amazing, but even more amazing is the improvement to my health – my feet no longer hurt when I stand up, my knee hardly ever aches, and at my last blood-pressure appointment, the reading was text book.”
To find your nearest group, please call 0344 897 8000 or visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk
For general enquiries call 0344 892 0400.