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'Losing 10st has saved my life'

PUBLISHED: 08:30 04 September 2008 | UPDATED: 11:21 28 May 2010

Before: Sharon at 24st.

Before: Sharon at 24st.

Slimmer Sharon Samways is convinced that losing 10 stone in seventeen months has saved her life.

The 33-year-old from North Lopham used to weigh 24 stone and vividly recalls the time she got stuck in a restaurant chair and had to be prised free by the waiter.

Slimline Sharon Samways after her weight loss.

Slimmer Sharon Samways is convinced that losing 10 stone in seventeen months has saved her life.

The 33-year-old from North Lopham used to weigh 24 stone and vividly recalls the time she got stuck in a restaurant chair and had to be prised free by the waiter.

“I have a sense of humour and I was crying and laughing at the same time, but all the people were looking and I was mortified,” she recalled.

Her large size also contributed to life-threatening health problems that saw her spending much of her time in intensive care units. well as suffering from severe asthma attacks requiring frequent hospital visits, in 2003 she was diagnosed with benign intracranial hypertension (pressure on the brain) which also causes blindness and is connected with obesity. Shunts were implanted into her brain and back to relieve the pressure, but kept malfunctioning because of her weight, resulting in a total of nine operations and the embarrassment of being provided with a special bed for outsized patients. And she had to give up driving because her eyesight was so bad, making her feel even more depressed.

“I was advised to lose weight and I knew in my heart of hearts that was the way to go but my self esteem was drastically low and I had no confidence at all. I'd tried numerous diets over the years without success and was dreading the thought of going back to eating nothing but salads.

“Then a friend suggested I join the local Slimming World group in Diss. I eventually plucked up courage after six weeks of sitting outside in the car park not daring to go in - because I believed I would be the largest person there - and it has really changed my life,” she said.

“It's not a diet it's just an eating plan. I used to enjoy eating two takeways a day, seven days a week. Now I eat foods that fill me up but aren't full of calories.”

Since losing weight Ms Samways, who is 5ft 6-and-a-half inches tall, has been told her eye condition is completely cured and her lung capacity is 42 per cent greater than before. She now swims and walks regularly - something it was impossible to do before as she couldn't even bend down to undo her shoes.

Her dress size has dropped from 30-32 to 16, and she is looking forward to shedding another 28lbs to reach her target weight of 12 stone, and starting a new job.

“I haven't worked for years because of the weight and now I have got a career ahead as I'm taking over the Great Ellingham

Slimming World group,” she explained.

For more details about the class, call Ms Samways on 01379 687500.

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