Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

A woman who was so big she had to wear men’s clothes lost 13 stone in a “last ditch effort” to avoid gastric sleeve surgery. Charlie Eaton, 39, spent most of her life overweight because she “just loved food” and could never keep weight off if she dieted.

In 2015, when she was 17st aged 31, her knee dislocated for six months leaving her bed-bound and “barely able to move”. In that time she relied on takeaways and necked up to three litres of full-fat Coke each day – and her weight ballooned to 23st 8.5lbs.

She had to order XXXXXXXXL (8XL) clothes from the men’s sections after the largest women’s clothes – size 34 – got too tight on her. Eventually Charlie “gave up” losing weight altogether – before a dietician warned her she’d need surgery because she was “past the point of no return”.

Charlie refused an op and enrolled in a Slimming World group in April 2018, in a “last ditch effort” to turn her life around. Nearly six years on, Charlie is unrecognisable after losing 13st 8.5lbs in total and is a trim size 8-10 – and says the weight loss has “changed everything” in her life.

Charlie, now a Slimming World consultant, from Derby, Derbyshire, said: “I was always overweight growing up. I’d diet for a bit, lose some weight, then I’d give up and put it back on again. It got to the point I was just existing rather than living. I just stopped trying. Then when a doctor tried to book me in for a gastric sleeve, I realised it was this or nothing. To lose over half my body weight was never even a possibility in my mind.

“Now I’ve lost the weight I think my brain is still trying to catch up – when I walk past a mirror I don’t even recognise myself.”

Charlie says she had a big appetite as a child and teen and would put on weight easily. People reassured her it was “just puppy fat” until she never grew out of it.

When she went to university she says she gained more weight because of the drinking culture – preferring “a kebab on the way home” from the pub with pals. She would fluctuate between 14st and 17st as she would start a strict diet, lose weight, then give up and pile the pounds back on.

She tried everything from chowing down on endless bowls of cabbage soup, to strict calorie counting, to diet pills “that made you feel like you were about to pass out” – but nothing worked long-term.

After university, her weight problems were compounded by health issues – including Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS) and multiple sclerosis (MS) which caused her chronic pain – although she wasn’t diagnosed until later on.

In 2015 her knee became dislocated for six months, leaving her housebound and relying on takeaway meals as she was unable to stand long enough to cook.

Her weight rocketed to more than 23st – a women’s size 36 – larger than the largest size available to buy.

Then in 2016, she had to fully give up work, running a furniture company with her mum, due to the chronic pain caused by her health conditions.

Charlie said: “I was just existing rather than living. I got to the stage where I thought ‘I can’t lose weight, so why try?’. I gave up the diets altogether.”

She found herself bursting out of the largest clothes in women’s sizes – at a size XXXXXXXXL (8XL) and had to order from men’s ranges online.

In 2018, doctors recommended she see a specialist for her weight – who encouraged her to book in for a gastric sleeve and warned her she was “past the point of no return”.

Charlie realised she needed to lose weight or go under the knife.

She said: “Three days later I walked through the doors of my local Slimming World group. I thought I’d give it one last ditch effort.”

She started her weight loss journey in April 2018. Her much-loved full-fat fizzy drinks were substituted for diet versions, she selected low-fat foods in the supermarket, and her takeaways became “fakeaways”.

She is now a slender 10st, and sports a size 8-10 in women’s clothing. Last year she got a £9,500 tummy tuck, boob job and excess skin removal surgery in Turkey.

She said: “Before, I just didn’t look in the mirror. I didn’t even own one apart from a small face height one in the bathroom. I wouldn’t even glance in shop windows in case I saw my reflection. Whenever I used to take pictures, I’d be behind the camera and I’d avoid ever being in pictures.

“Now I love a selfie with my niece and nephew – I’m taking pictures constantly. Before, I’d go out thinking everyone was judging me because I was ashamed of how I looked. I feel lighter now, but not just physically, mentally too. I’m not worrying about what everyone else thinks. I feel so much more confident in myself – losing weight has changed everything about my life.”

Diet before

Breakfast – No breakfast

Lunch – Shop bought sandwiches or wraps with crisps and chocolate

Dinner – takeaway; Chinese, pizza, McDonalds or chippy

Snacks – ‘sharing’ bag of crisps or ‘sharing’ bar of chocolate

Drinks – full calorie fizzy drinks – Coke, Lilt and Monster

Diet after

Breakfast – No breakfast

Lunch – savoury ‘picky plate’ of meats, egg, cheese, vegetables

Dinner – pasta such as carbonara or lasagne with veg or chips and salad. Or ‘fakeaways’ such as home-made healthy KFC or home-made low calorie burgers.

Snacks – chicken pieces, Babybel, yoghurts, fruit – and still enjoys dessert in the evening

Drinks – diet fizzy drinks, Monster Zero & Slimming World-approved chocolate frappes and lattes.

Charlie is fundraising for further skin removal surgery to complete her transformation: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/CharliesOps

By admin

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