Sarah Jane Clark, a 51-year-old mother from Swindon, was warned by her GP that she would never see her 40th birthday due to her excessive eating habits. She has now shed an astounding 12 stone, leaving her feeling fitter and stronger than ever before.
Her GP had warned she was “killing herself” and Sarah Jane was aware she’d developed an “addiction to food” as a way of coping with being in a toxic relationship.
Having avoided weighing herself for years, she estimated her weight to be around 14 stone. However, the shocking reality hit her when the scales at the doctor’s office revealed a staggering 22 stone.
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With “step by step” progress, Sarah Jane shed the weight and is now a size 10, feeling “fitter and stronger” than ever.
She said: “People don’t realise that a food addiction is just like any other addiction. It’s not recognised at all. I always felt alone when I was younger. I had a woman’s body really young and I had done Weight Watchers and the Cambridge diet by the time I was 14.
“I had such low self-esteem and I started using food in a toxic way. I was in an abusive relationship too so I turned to food.
“I would go to bed and eat in secret. I felt great shame around it.”
The wake-up call came when her GP delivered a harsh truth: if she continued down this path, she wouldn’t live to see her 40th birthday.
She said: “I hadn’t weighed myself for years and I lived in elasticated waistbands. I thought I was around 14 stone but when I got on the scales at the GP I was shocked to see I was 22 stone.
“I can honestly say it took my breath away. I had no idea how heavy I was. The GP was very harsh and said I needed to stop eating because I was killing myself. She said I wouldn’t see 40 if I carried on like this.
“I walked out crying. I can honestly say if there had been a bridge I would’ve jumped off it. I was so depressed. I was suicidal. That lack of compassion is something I want to change in other people’s weight loss journeys.”
Sarah Jane said she was tempted to “numb the pain” by turning to food, but instead began her weight loss journey from that day.
Starting with small steps, Sarah Jane began walking for 30 minutes each night, initially avoiding daylight to escape potential ridicule.
Gradually, she made dietary changes, opting for healthier options like jacket potatoes instead of chips. As she reached the milestone of 15 stone, she joined a gym.
Sarah Jane’s transformation extended beyond her physical appearance. She adopted a holistic approach, prioritising non-processed foods, consuming four litres of water daily, and looking after her mental well-being.
The NHS mental health worker said: “After two weeks of just walking I noticed I felt so much better. That spurred me on to making more change. I would say the most important thing I did to lose the weight was focusing on the basics.
“I drink four litres of water a day and eat store cupboard whole ingredients rather than processed food. I also had to focus on my mental health as addiction is mental as well.
“I had counselling, do a lot of meditation and practice self care.”
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Now, Sarah Jane shares her experience and weight loss tips with others.
She works to educate families about healthy lifestyles, conducts small group workshops, and offers one-to-one sessions via Zoom calls.
She said: “I had a very lonely and difficult weight loss journey so I now want to help others.
“I work with people to educate families about a healthy lifestyle and I do small group workshops, I do one-to-one sessions via Zoom calls. It feels really rewarding to help others as I had a very painful and lonely journey with my doctor making myself feel lonely.”
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