23 Jul 19
The Scottish Sun
GLAMMED up in a fitted red dress and strappy heels, Sarah Arnold is nervous but excited about her big date.
At 40, you might think Sarah would be used to dating. But all this is new to her.
Sarah is now a size 10 having lost over 18st
Previously weighing 31st, Sarah was a recluse who refused to leave the house except for work.
But after shedding an astonishing 18st 12lb, she finally has the confidence to go out. After dropping from a size 36 to a size ten, Sarah can enjoy strolls with her long-term partner Karl, go to coffee shops and enjoy meals out.
Sarah, who now weighs 12st 2lb, says: “I lived my life as a hermit. Apart from work, I wouldn’t go out.
“I was 31st and didn’t want to be seen. I couldn’t wear nice clothes, I couldn’t walk far and didn’t like to be seen eating. I felt people were judging me.
Sarah, pictured at 31st, was too ashamed of her weight to leave the house
“I was lucky to be in a loving relationship. Karl would always try to get me out and say that nobody was looking at me, but I knew they were.”
Sarah met Karl, a 40-year-old service engineer, online when they were both 21. They live together in Water Orton, Warks.
She says: “We met on a chat network. We started talking that August and met the next month. I lived in Lincolnshire at the time and he would come to see me every weekend. Then I moved to Birmingham the following April.
“I was 20st then, so Karl has always known me big and never been bothered. He has always loved me for who I am.”
Sarah can finally enjoy her relationship with Karl free from worry and insecurity
For almost 20 years, their “couple time” meant staying in to watch telly. Sarah says: “We have such a great relationship. We like the same things and love each other’s company, so staying in together never bothered us.
“Occasionally we would go to the cinema on a Friday afternoon. I knew nobody else would be there and we paid for the big seats to make sure I’d fit.
“I had every kind of chaotic eating disorder you can imagine. I was a binge eater and a grazer, so I would be eating constantly.
My meals would be doubled up. Instead of one McDonald’s breakfast I’d have two. For lunch I would have two sandwiches.
Sarah said that reaching her goal weight meant she blended in and it felt wonderful
“I’d have at least three chocolate bars in one sitting and could easily get through a six-pack of crisps.
“I didn’t have just one weakness — my weakness was all food. I loved chocolate, crisps, cake, cheese, bread
“Sometimes I’d take an hour and a half to eat my meal because I would sit and eat it all, even if I was full.
“You almost don’t realise the weight is piling on. Then, before you know it, you are so big that depression kicks in and you’re stuck. My whole life revolved around how big I was. It makes you depressed but then you eat because you’re depressed. It’s a spiral.
[quote]I’d have at least three chocolate bars in one sitting and could easily get through a six-pack of crisps[/quote]
“Karl would never push things and was never derogatory about my weight, though he worried about my health.
“I was quite lucky that my health was OK. My knees were fine and I wasn’t pre-diabetic.
“But I couldn’t walk far and would be out of breath. If we went to town, I’d get tired and have to lean on Karl to walk around.”
Four years ago, Karl finally gave Sarah the push she needed.
Putting on a brave face was a constant reality for Sarah
She says: “I’ve been on so many diets over the years. None of them worked. I’d tried the drinks diets, Atkins and low-carb.
“I was joining yet another slimming club — Slimming World — and before I set off to go, Karl said to me, ‘Remember, you need to be responsible for everything you put in your mouth. Nobody can choose what you eat apart from you’.
“I’d always blamed others for my eating, thinking I’d had that cake because somebody had made it, or I’d had this takeaway because it was Karl’s idea.
But for some reason, what he said that night resonated with me and something clicked. I decided to cut out all crisps, chocolate and cake and followed the club diet to the letter.”
She began to lose weight when she cut out all crisps, chocolate and cake
Sarah lost 7st 7lb in eight months on the Slimming World plan, on which healthy foods are “free” and others are “sins”.
Then she switched to Weight Watchers. She says: “On Slimming World, I cut out all the bad stuff. I used my ‘sins’ on mayonnaise and cheese. In eight months, I had just one takeaway.
But by January 2016, I was starting to struggle. I’d been getting into a bit of a rut.
“I found out you could eat white bread on Weight Watchers. I missed that, so I decided to give it a go! You can eat most things but you control the portion sizes. I lost 7lb that first week.”
Now Sarah is a member of her local gym and goes swimming regularly to keep fit
Over the next two years, Sarah continued to lose weight until she had lost an incredible 18st 12lb.
And she has maintained her 12st 2lb weight for more than a year. Now a size-ten, Sarah says: “When I reached my goal weight, for the first time I blended in. It was a wonderful feeling to go unnoticed.
“I joined a gym and go swimming every day now. I walk most places. I’ve got so much more confidence.
“I love every day. Karl and I started going on dates, like we should have done all those years ago. We go out for meals and go for days out and love nothing better than sitting in a coffee shop and having a skinny latte.
[boxout headline=”SARAH’S DIET”]BEFORE
Breakfast: Two McDonald’s breakfasts.
Lunch: Cheese & ham sandwiches with four slices of bread, two packets of crisps.
Dinner: Bowl of pasta with loads of cheese or a takeaway.
Snacks: Two or three chocolate bars, three or four packets of crisps, biscuits, cakes.
Breakfast: Two slices of wholemeal toast.
Lunch: Garlic chicken and potato wedges.
Dinner: Turkey bolognese.
Snacks: Stewed apple, banana, yoghurt.
[article-rail-section title=”MOST READ IN FABULOUS” posts_category=”30″ posts_number=”6″ query_type=”popular” /]
“The whole thing feels liberating. It’s nice to be normal, with nobody staring. We came to London for The Sun’s photoshoot and it was absolutely amazing.”
While enjoying the occasional dinner out, Sarah keeps her eating on track by batch-cooking, avoiding snacks and accounting for everything she eats.
She says: “I always stick to my plan. I won’t go back to that 30st woman — this 12st one is having too much fun.”
Karl says: “When Sarah was at her heaviest, I was worried about the stress on her heart and her being able to walk properly later in life. Now she’s a lot happier. It’s created a new lease of life for us. Sarah’s done great.”
[bc_video video_id=”6062098972001″ account_id=”5067014667001″ player_id=”default” embed=”in-page” padding_top=”56%” autoplay=”” min_width=”0px” max_width=”640px” mute=”” width=”100%” height=”100%” caption=”Gemma Collins shows off her three stone weight loss as she twerks in a floral swimsuit “]
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