A woman who weighed 19-stone at 14 and downed 15 pints of cider at the weekend was shocked into losing nearly 11 stone after her spine popped out when she fell off a chair.
Verity Kenney, 27, who is head of year at a secondary school, had been out for the night with her work colleague when after “a little too much to drink” she fell off her chair.
It was only the following morning that Ms Kenney, of Leicester, realised she had seriously injured herself in the tumble.
“I was literally just leaning over to make my bed, when I heard a ‘pop’ sound in my spine,” she said. “I screamed out loud - I was in agony.
“I couldn’t straighten my back. It was utterly ridiculous - I’d have laughed out loud had I not been in so much pain.”
Managing to shuffle downstairs, she took a taxi to her local GP who confirmed she had slipped a disc in her back.
“She explained that basically the outer portion of my disc had torn and that the inner portion was putting pressure on my nerves,” she said.
“It all sounded so horrible. I don’t think I’ve ever regretted having a few too many so much in my entire life.”
Due to the severity of her injury, Ms Kenney was prescribed strong painkillers and advised to rest at home for four weeks.
While she sat at home, getting impatient as she watched box set after box set, she came to an important conclusion.
“It was like a lightbulb moment,” she said. “I realised my weight must have been what did the damage.
“I’d begun to diet and lost a little weight, but I was still 19st 13lb. I was still massive.”
Verity's injury made her realise things needed to change
Ms Kenney told how she had started putting on weight as a teenager, weighing 19-stone at 14.
“I was 5ft 11in so carried my weight well,” she said.
“My love of food had always been there. I would spend any pocket money I had stocking up on chocolate bars and would wolf down four in one go.
“I was pretty tall so at first you didn’t see the weight start to pile on. I’d stuff myself at mealtimes, even when I started to feel nauseous.
“My body never told me, ‘That’s enough now’. I would just kept going.”
Though Ms Kenney’s parents encouraged her to eat more healthily and do some exercise, it was not enough to make her change her ways.
She started at the University of Northampton and became the life and soul of the party instead, which saw her waistband expand even further.
Her dramatic weight loss saw Verity go from a size 26 to a size 14
“I could easily down 15 pints of cider on the weekend and the drinks would inevitably be followed by a kebab or some other takeaway food,” she said.
“By the time I was preparing to leave uni, I was 23st 7lb. I was a size 26 and it was becoming very difficult to find nice clothes that would fit me. Anything I did found was totally stretched across my flabby bits.”
It was when her engagement ended in March 2012 that she began to really look at where her life was going.
“That night I took a deep breath and stepped on the scales. When they hit 23st 9lb, I thought I was seeing things.
“But I didn’t get depressed – I decided there and then that I was going to stop making excuses and lose this weight.”
Ms Kenney overhauled her diet, swapping chocolate bars for fruit, and greasy takeaways for chicken and veg. By December 2012, she had got down to 19st 13lb.
“I was out celebrating the slimmer me with Kim from school when I fell,” she said. “My back ‘popping’ the next day really shocked me – and slipping a disc just because I leaned over to make my bed made me realise I wanted to lose a lot more.”
She told her colleague when she called to see how she was that she was going to keep losing the weight, and as soon as her back was better, signed up to a gym.
“It was really scary at first, but in next to no time I was doing cardio and weights like it was second nature,” she said. “Working out gave me more energy, so I started to go running as well.”
Her fitness regime continued and by December 2014, Ms Kenney had reached 14st 8lb and was able to wear size 16 jeans. And she was not finished there.
By May this year, the new-look Ms Kenney weight 12st 13lb and was a size 14.
“I remember a time when people couldn’t squeeze past me in the supermarket aisle,” she said. “I couldn’t go to the corner shop for a pint of milk without wheezing.
“Now, I either swim, cycle or run every weekly. I couldn’t do without exercise.”
Ms Kenney has lost a total of 10-and-a half stone, and her back no longer gives her any problems. She said she hopes to lose another stone to reach her ideal weight.
“I’ve also got a gorgeous new boyfriend who adores me”, she said. “Yep, life couldn’t really get much better.”