Woman lost 10st because she didn’t want to be known as husband’s ‘fat wife’
Whenever her husband planned a night out with work friends, Sonia Greensill always found an excuse not to go.
Weighing more than 20 stone, she was too ashamed to meet new people.
"I didn’t want to be an embarrassment to my husband, or to anyone really," she says.
"I used to think, if they meet me then they’ll know he’s married to a fat woman.
"I didn’t want to be the one that people saw and thought, oh god, look at the size of her.
"So I’d find a reason not to go, because then I didn’t have to face it.
"I missed out on so much because of that, but still it wasn’t enough to stop me eating all the wrong things. I really wish it had been."
Sonia, who has two grown-up children and two grandchildren, was approaching her 50th birthday and weighing 20st 2lb when she decided it was time to change her life.
"I realised I was at the age where it was now or never," she remembers.
"I thought if I didn’t do it then it would be too late. It wasn’t just about being slim, I didn’t want to stand out anymore, I wanted to be unnoticeable.
"Being so big, I honestly felt abnormal and I just wanted to feel normal. I felt judged all the time, and I couldn’t really argue with it. I was fat and I’d made myself that way so people had every reason to be judgemental, but it was still a horrible feeling.”
When Sonia’s daughter Sharn suggested they go to Slimming World together, she initially refused.
“My daughter had put on four stones when she was about 16, then joined Slimming World and lost it, but put a couple back on so she thought it would be a good idea if we both went,” says Sonia. “But when she first asked me I said ‘I’m not going there, no chance.’
"I hadn’t stood on the scales for years, my attitude was if I didn’t know then I didn’t have to think about it. But I started thinking maybe my daughter was worried about me, and should I be worrying about me too?”
Sonia’s weigh first started to creep up in her teens – “when everyone was getting a figure, mine just kind of exploded!” she jokes.
“I met my husband Colin when I was 15 and started eating at his house, having curries and things I’d never really eaten at home. It was this new world of food and I couldn’t get enough of it.”
Rather than over-eating, Sonia says she ate the wrong types of food.
"Butter was my real weakness. I’d lash it on thick white bread toast in the mornings, or on a bacon sandwich, then on a couple of crusty cobs at lunchtime. I just loved it."
As the weigh piled on, Sonia found it more and more difficult to indulge her passion for fashion, despite working at Evans plus-size clothes chain at the time.
"I went up to a size 26 so I was really limited to what I could wear – everything was stretchy and elasticated or loose-fitting. I absolutely love clothes, but I became a bit mumsy and just faded into the background.
"It bothered me but I never said it, I just concentrated on being the best mum I could be and I think I dressed my teenage daughter how I would have loved to dress if I could.”
Sonia, who lives in Cannock, Staffordshire, says she never shared her feelings about her weigh with anyone and her family never mentioned it.
“My husband just loved me for how I was, whatever size I was, and I’m grateful for that but sometimes I wish he’d turned said ‘you could really do with doing something about your size’ even though I don’t know how I’d have reacted.
"Since I’ve lost weight he’s told me he’d often hear people snigger or make comments, but he didn’t tell me then because he didn’t want to upset me."
With walking even short distances starting to become impossible, Sonia, joined her local Slimming World group in February 2017.
“I actually didn’t find it that hard to stick to the meal plans because it was basically the same food, but just cooked in a much healthier way,” she says.
“My mindset totally changed. I thought I loved toast with loads of butter so I never gave anything else a chance, but now I love fresh fruit for breakfast and I’d choose it over toast any day.
“I’ll have fruit every morning, or grilled bacon with poached egg and mushrooms at weekends, then I’ll make my own soups for lunch in the winter, and have something like Cajun chicken with salad and veg or pasta for dinner. It’s all the food I like so I’m having it because I enjoy it, not because I’ve got to.”
As the weight fell off, Sonia joined a gym for the first time – “I thought they were places fit people went, not people who wanted to get fit,” she admits – and she now goes running three times a week.
She reached her target weight a year ago and is now down to just 9st 12lb – a loss of 10st 4lb.
And the 52-year-old is finally able to shop where she wants and go where she wants.
"I tell my daughter that in a way she saved my life because she wasn’t going to take no for an answer and I’m so glad she didn’t,” says Sonia.
"Instead of turning down every invitation, I say yes to them all.
"I go clubbing with my daughter and daughter-in-law and I dance everyone under the table! I’ve had a new lease of life and I feel like I’m living my 20s in my 50s.
"My husband is so proud, everywhere we go he tells people how much weight I’ve lost, and I don’t feel like an embarrassment to him anymore – now my daughter tells him he’s punching."
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