A super slimmer has reversed her diabetes and beaten anxiety that left her 'pretty much housebound' after shedding nearly five stone.
Biggleswade mum Emma Enright, 40, spent years struggling with her weight - and at her lowest point was convinced that she was going to die.
At her heaviest, Emma remembers how rubbish she felt: "I was exhausted all the time, I ate rubbish and generally just felt awful about myself”.
Lacking confidence, and struggling with anxiety after having her first daughter, Emma was then diagnosed with gestational diabetes with her second pregnancy.
She said: “It was horrible and I felt terrible I had put Orla and myself at risk of health problems and this inevitably meant unless I lost weight, I was told by doctors I was pretty much guaranteed to develop Type 2 Diabetes at some point in my life because of this.”
Working from home with two small children and a husband who worked very long hours, Emma’s mental health deteriorated further.
She said: “I suffered with terrible anxiety and some days, I was consumed inside my own head, I become completely anti-social. I was pretty much housebound most of the time and only ventured out if I had to. It was too stressful to be out and I had zero confidence.
"I lived in black leggings and a baggy top. I didn’t feel remotely attractive and was convinced that all people saw when they looked at me was my weight.
"My health in general was taking a bashing, I had pain in my feet caused by my weight, migraines, heart palpitations and sciatica. With my mental health issues at the time, I was convinced I was going to die and leave my girls. I would get upset just looking them."
Determined something had to be done, she turned to her local Slimming Word group for support.
Knowing her 40th birthday was coming up, Emma embarked on a new weight loss journey at the end of 2019. She lost 8lbs in her first week and had lost a stone within her first month.
Emma said: “Going to group every single week – even those weeks you’d prefer to hide under a rock… It’s those weeks I needed group, it was those weeks I needed the motivation from others to help me get back on track. It always worked. It was so vital to my journey.”
Emma’s success is a prime example of how losing weight with the right support can improve your mental health and resilience. New research released this week proves that losing weight with the support from a group leads to greater results and improved mental toughness.
The findings of the study come at a time when the UK population faces a spiralling obesity crisis and increased mental health challenges.
Government figures suggest more than 40 per cent of adults in England gained weight during the pandemic, with the average gain being half a stone (just over 4.1kg) - while more than half of adults (60 per cent) and over two thirds of young people (68 per cent) said their mental health got worse during lockdown.
The UK’s first ever study of its kind, from the University of Lincoln, examining the relationship between weight control and mental toughness, revealed that members of Slimming World groups didn’t just lose weight more successfully than a comparison group - they also significantly improved their mental toughness!
The study, ‘Longitudinal Investigation into Mental Toughness, Weight Loss, and Eating Behaviours’, conducted by Dr Elizabeth Stamp, now a lecturer at Loughborough University,
found that members of a Slimming World group participating in the research lost on average over two stone more than participants wanting to lose weight without the support of a weight-loss programme).
During the six months the study was undertaken, the mental toughness of Slimming World group members rose 10 per cent, from a low to an average score, whereas the comparison group had no statistically significant change to their mental toughness.
To find your nearest group Slimming World group visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk or call 0344 892 0434
Emma's menu before losing weight:
Lunch: bags of crisps – or anything that was there to grab quickly as would be so hungry
Dinner: Take Away Fish & Chips or something quick like a pie in the oven with chips
Snacks – share bag of crisps every night without fail
Emma's menu now:
Breakfast: Fresh fruit, Fat-free yoghurt
Lunch: Deep filled wholemeal pitta, with chicken, salad. Bag of low-fat crips
Dinner: Lean steak, chunky homemade chips, mushrooms, peas, huge salad
Snacks: fresh fruit or low-fat bag of crisps