Mum-of-one Sarah Harrison, 49, has gone from being called ‘fatty’ to being told she ‘looks hot’ and is thrilled to have won first prize in an autumn transformation challenge.
She struggled with her weight for 27 years but was inspired to take action in May this year and has since lost eight stone.
Sarah, who works in the Western Sussex Eye Care clinic at Southlands Hospital in Shoreham, said: “I am now nine stone from my heaviest and have lost my sister in weight.
“At my heaviest, I was nearly 22 stone and really struggled with everyday tasks, such as walking. I would get out of breath very quickly and had knee pain, I couldn’t cut my own toenails and tying my shoelaces was a struggle.
“I have also had abuse shouted at me from a car, a group of young lads shouted ‘fatty’ out of the window. I was also once followed round a supermarket by a group of girls from school, who were laughing and sniggering at me. My confidence was really affected by my weight.”
Sarah was born and brought up in Worthing and went into the Royal Air Force at 17, staying until she was 22 and had her son Josh.
She said: “I have struggled with my weight since and have yo-yo dieted over the past 27 years and tried every diet going.
“Once I took my son to watch Liverpool Football Club and I couldn’t fit through the turnstile and had to leave through the wide exit. How embarrassing for him and myself, especially as we had taken one of his friends.
“One time going on holiday, on the plane I had to have a seatbelt extension and I was too embarrassed to ask for it, so I asked my brother to.”
Last year, Sarah started helping with childcare for her one-year-old granddaughter Evie and it is this, combined with her big birthday next year, that made her want to finally take control of her size.
She said: “I thought I really need to sort my weight out due to the fact I am helping with my granddaughter and need to keep up with her, also for my health and the fact that I’m turning 50 next year.
“I was chatting to someone at work who was on a total food replacement diet called New You and I thought this sounded like something I could do, so on May 3, I started my journey.
“I started at 20st 8lb and today I am 12st 5lb. I have lost 8st 3lb since May and am hoping to get to 11st 8lb and then maintain. That will be 10 stone from my heaviest.
“I feel absolutely amazing, people don’t recognise me now, I can fit into clothes that I last wore 30 years ago. I was wearing size 32 at my heaviest, last week I brought a coat sized 10-12.”
Sarah said the diet involves four or five meal replacements, depending on weight, one snack and four litres of fluid.
She has also really increased her activity and now does aerobic exercise at least four or five times a week.
Sarah said: “My family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues and New You family have been so supportive and are so proud of me. I am getting so many compliments now, such as ‘you’re looking hot now’ and ‘you’re deflating like a balloon’.
“I have been runner-up in a transformation challenge and won £150 of New You credit in July and in October, I won the transformation challenge and won £1,000 cash.
“I feel so confident now and due to my weight, which has held me back for so long, I now feel ready to look for love again. Here’s to the rest of my healthy life!”