LIFESTYLE

Woman Who Didn't Want A Gastric Band To Lose Weight Shed 20st And Is Now A Size 8

07/10/2014 12:45 BST | Updated 07/10/2014 12:59 BST

A woman who was too overweight to wear a car seatbelt opted against weight loss surgery and instead turned to dieting and exercise, which helped her lose 20st.

Emma Sealey, who is 35-years-old, believed her health would deteriorate and she would die before she reached her 40th birthday unless she slimmed down from 28st 8lb.

Despite family members recommending that she request an NHS gastric band operation, she decided to lose the weight naturally and lost an incredible 19st 9lb - slimming down from size 32 to size 8, in just two years.

weight loss story

weight loss success

“I could barely walk from my house to my fiancé’s car, let alone walk around the block," she said. "When I got there I couldn’t even fit the seatbelt over me without it squeezing me in."

She added: “I hadn’t stepped on scales for years. When I found out how much I weighed I was disgusted with myself.

“I needed to do something about it, but I knew it was my problem and I had to get myself out of it. I didn’t want surgery on the NHS - I want the NHS to concentrate on spending money on people who actually need it.”

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Miss Sealey, of Redditch, started experiencing weight gain in childhood after a close friend died.

She said: “I was devastated, and I expect it was one of the triggers for my comfort eating. I had a fairly tumultuous childhood. At one point I was sent to boarding school, and didn’t want to go home at the weekends because I was so unhappy there.

“I found it easy to turn to food to cheer me up - things like chocolate and crisps. But the lift was always temporary. Before long I was overweight and I was suffering inside, feeling ashamed of myself.”

By the time she was 22 years old Miss Sealey had ballooned to size 22.

“I left home when I was 16 because I wanted to take control of my life, but in fact I lost control. My bad eating habits just got worse," she revealed.

“It got to the point where I didn’t want to go out of the house. I couldn’t face going into town because I was worried that people would look at me, and make nasty comments. I bought all my size 32 clothes online.

“I was terrified of what the scales would say so I never bothered checking my weight.”

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Despite her social anxiety, Miss Sealey met her current fiancé, Brian Inett who is 44 and a plant equipment supplier, through online dating in 2006. During this time she was approaching her heaviest weight.

She said: “Brian was amazing. He didn’t care what I looked like - I only found out later that he was very worried about my health.”

By September 2010 Mrs Sealey weighed nearly 29 stone and her health was starting to fade.

She said: “Looking back, I was lucky I wasn’t in a wheelchair. I couldn’t walk up stairs without becoming out of breath and putting the seat belt on in Brian’s car around me left me hugely uncomfortable.

“My mother told me to apply for a gastric band on the NHS. I totally refused.

“I don’t agree with weight loss surgery on the NHS in general. It should be given only to those who can’t exercise. If your legs work, and there’s nothing critically wrong with your body, you can find a way out of it.”

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She visited her local GP in the hope of getting a referral for weight-loss classes.

She said: “I hadn’t stepped on a weighing scale for years and I was terrified about what it was going to tell me. When I realised I was 28st 8lb I was absolutely disgusted with myself.

“It was the first time I’d been weighed in years. I didn’t need the doctor to say anything. I knew I had to do something - in my heart I knew that if I didn’t do something, I wouldn’t live to see my 40th birthday. My BMI was 73.2.

“It was nothing to be proud of. It was the wake-up call I needed.”

She sought the help of a local Cambridge Weight Plan consultant who weaned her off the hugely fattening convenience foods she was used to.

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Before beginning her weight loss regime, Miss Sealey typically ate:

:: Nothing for breakfast

:: Sausage rolls and a sharing bag of cheese and onion crisps for lunch

:: Chicken curry, rice and naan bread for her evening meal

:: Snacks included chocolate, particularly Kit Kats, during the day.

While losing weight, she enjoyed a diet of the following:

:: Bran Flakes with skimmed milk for breakfast

:: Tuna sandwich on brown bread for lunch

:: Steamed white fish with fresh vegetables for her evening meals

:: Snacks included apples, oranges, strawberries and pears.

As her weight started to fall away at a rate of a stone a month she began to regularly exercise.

She said: “I go on a cross-trainer at home and I love jogging and cycling when the weather is good enough.”

Miss Sealey now weighs 8st 13lb and can wear a size eight dress, having dropped 12 dress sizes - an incredible total weight loss of 19st 9lb.

She said: “I’m a lot more confident now - I love walking past the shop window and looking at my reflection.

“Being with Brian is more fun than ever, and he loves my new figure. It’s so nice to be able to take trips in the car with him and not have to worry about fitting into the seatbelt.”