Mum’s 12st weight loss meant colleagues didn’t recognise her

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A mum’s work colleagues “didn’t believe it was her” after she lost more than 12 stone in weight.

Sharon Hayes, from Garston, lost an incredible 12st 2lb over lockdown, leaving those she worked with “shocked” by her incredible transformation when she returned to work.

The 53-year-old she was had been overweight since a child, but at her heaviest tipped the scales at 23st 9lb.

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The student experience administrator at the University of Liverpool said: “I was overweight since I was a child.

“It was probably down to the lifestyle – everything was fried in the 1970s.

“That was the culture though, poor management of food and the way my family cooked.

“My dad and brother were fine but my mum and gran had severe weight problems. I guess I picked up the wrong genes.”



Sharon Hayes, from Garston, after her weight loss
Sharon Hayes, from Garston, after her weight loss

Sharon said she had tried to lose weight with various weight loss plans, but it didn’t last.

She added that as she had always been bigger, she was not bothered by her size as much as slimmer friends.

The mum said: “I never knew any different – it was how I had always been.

“I tried them all – Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Rosemary Conley. Each time the most I lost was five stone.”

Sharon said throughout the years her “needs were put on the backburner” and she would “just grab the food on the go.”

She added she also had a “savoury tooth” and would snack on things such as crisps in between “unhealthy meals.”

But when lockdown hit back in 2020 and Sharon began working from home, she said the problem seemed to worsen.

She said: “We started working from home back in the March, I was working from our dining room and the kitchen is just off it.

“Obviously I had a serious weight problem as it was, but as we worked from home and being by the kitchen it got much worse than it was.

“But I wasn’t looking to lose weight, because you will hear that people have given it a lot of thought and about what diets they do.

“It hadn’t even entered my head.

“But something made me think of Rosemary Conley.

“When I looked her up online I then found Get Slim. I thought to myself: ‘What have I got to lose?’

“It proved to be a life changing moment. Since then I haven’t looked back. Something just clicked this time.”



Sharon Hayes, from Garston, after her weight loss
Sharon Hayes, from Garston, after her weight loss

Sharon signed up to GetSlim’s 28-day Lean and Clean plan which worked well for her.

She said: “It was exactly what I needed to get me going.

“I cut out all cakes, sweets and what we call ‘naughty’ foods for a month.

“It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought. As it was only a month, I knew there was an end in sight and I was still able to eat a fair amount so I didn’t feel hungry.”

After that, rather than follow a specific daily food plan, Sharon kept to calorie limits to give her a bit more flexibility and said she found GetSlim’s recipe collection helpful in achieving this.

By November 2020, Sharon had lost a fantastic five stone and it was at this point she realised if she wanted to lose more, she would have to increase her activity levels.

The 53-year-old had also suffered a serious knee injury seven years previously, which affected her mobility but Sharon increased her activity levels by walking and now can walk six miles a day.

But when Sharon returned to the office in October 2021, her colleagues didn’t recognise her after she lost 11 and half stone.

She said: “The family from home have seen me from the beginning but a lot of people didn’t see me to begin with because we were in lockdown.

“I think it was October 2021 when the shock hit people, this is when I went back to work one day a week – physically into work – that’s when a lot people saw not just head and shoulders but the whole of me.

“And that’s when a lot of shocks occurred.

“My family and very close friends have seen it and they were shocked at the transformation.

“But people who hadn’t seen me for a long time, they didn’t even believe it was me.”

And now Sharon has lost more than 12st going from 23st 9lb to 11st 7lb and dropping a whopping 20 dress sizes.

The mum said she feels “much more positive now” and is aiming to lose a bit more weight so that her BMI is in the healthy range.

She added: “Absolutely the best thing about losing weight has been the improvement to my mobility.

“I would probably have ended up in a wheelchair if I’d carried on like before.”

It has also given her the confidence to participate in life more, Sharon said: “My life was non-existent.

“If I was invited out for a meal, there was always a risk that I wouldn’t be able to fit into the seating.

“I feel much more positive now that I don’t have to worry about doing ordinary things.”

Sharon added: “Maybe when we’re back to normal I might go away for a weekend.

“I haven’t been abroad for many years so I could do a trip in the future. My size made flying tricky and getting hot in the sun was very uncomfortable.”

The 53-year-old admitted that she is still getting used to her new, slimmer self.

She said: “Sometimes I go to sleep and think I’m going to wake up and it’s all a dream.

“I bought a pair of trousers online the other day.

“When they arrived, I thought I must have been optimistic when I ordered them, but they fitted.”

Typical meals Sharon ate before:

Breakfast: Bacon on toast with butter

Lunch: Four sandwiches and two packets of crisps

Dinner: Something like steak and chips or a takeaway, followed by more crisps.

Typical food Sharon eats now:

Breakfast: Porridge

Lunch: Omelette or soup or bring a sandwich to work

Dinner: Chicken or fish, usually with a small amount of new potatoes and vegetables



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