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A mother-of-four attributes her amazing 168lbs weight loss to a bet she made with her late grandmother. Karen Sharpe, 38, was around 370lbs and was about to join the waiting list for a NHS gastric band procedure when her 82-year-old grandmother Betty urged her to forget surgery and lose weight through tried-and-tested dieting. Mrs Sharpe, of Leicester, was challenged to lose 70lbs with the promise that if she achieved the milestone, her grandmother would pay her £1,000.
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Four years down the line, Mrs Sharpe now weighs 12st 10lb, having slimmed down an impressive ten dress sizes. She said: ‘I owe my grandmother so much. I’m so relieved that I chose to get it done the hard way rather than take the tempting surgery option. ‘Friends I know who have had surgery have had a difficult time adjusting to life after the operation. But I’m stronger, fitter and more like myself than ever before. ‘If it wasn’t for nan, I don’t know what sort of shape I’d be in today.’
Mrs Sharpe, who now works as a Weight Watchers group assistant, ballooned to a dress size 32 after falling into a cycle of comfort eating at a young age. She said: ‘I was teased for being overweight at school, and that made me want to eat more. I was drawn to processed savoury foods like Pot Noodles.’ Mrs Sharpe, who is married to floor layer David Sharpe, 35, and who has four children, Natasha, eight, Emily, 11, Nathan, 13, and Megan 14, saw her weight spin further out of control following the birth of her first child.
She said: ‘My weight went up and up after each one. I concentrated on being a mum, so didn’t pay too much attention to what I was eating myself. Although I wasn’t diagnosed, I believe I suffered with a touch of post-natal depression, which pushed me back towards comfort eating.’ In the spring of 2010, facing troubling backache and chronic fatigue, Mrs Sharpe turned to her GP for help.
She said: ‘I was approved to join the NHS waiting list for a gastric band. I was happy, because I’d tried dieting and nothing had worked. I knew that if I didn’t make a big change, then I was well on my way to being housebound. ‘When I told my nan the good news, she said quite matter-of-factly that I shouldn’t have the surgery. Karen’s grandmother Betty, here with her husband Jack, died at the age of 83, never having seen the full extent of Karen’s success that she inspired
Karen’s grandmother Betty, here with her husband Jack, died at the age of 83, never having seen the full extent of Karen’s success that she inspired ‘She had worked as a nurse and knew that invasive surgery was nothing to be trifled with. She knew how long it took to recover from major procedures. ‘She told me I could lose weight through hard work if I really wanted to. She said she believed in me, and promised to pay me £1,000 if I managed to lose five stone in weight. ‘It really set me thinking. While my NHS nutritionist was telling me to enjoy myself and eat whatever food I liked because I was due to get a gastric band, my nan was advising me to be sensible and become healthier. I turned away from the surgery route and opened myself up to encouragement from nan instead.’
via Daily Mail