One woman shared how she cracked her emotional eating disorders and lost 12.5 stones.
Sarah Irving was even able to manage her beloved husband’s life threatening illness and pandemic without turning to food for the sake of convenience.
A lifelong struggle with her weight resulted in Sarah reaching 25.5 stone in her forties.
The 58-year-old civil servant who lives in Roade, Northamptonshire and her husband Andy, 65, a retired NHS estate administrator, finally addressed her height – she lost several stones on a popular diet program.
When her weight rose to a plateau at 8 p.m. in the summer of 2017, the mom of two joined the WW slimming club – supported by Andy, who joined her in the weekly weighings at 16.5 and 6 ft 1 inches.
Sarah, who has been married twice and has a 30-year-old son James who works for a real estate agent and a 29-year-old daughter Emily who works in student accommodation, said, “I’ve always been a comfort eater. Food was the only thing that made me happy when other things went wrong.
“I had so many emotional triggers that I ended up eating too much when I was happy, when I was sad, and when I was stressed.”
She continued, “It was like I didn’t have an off switch. I’ve just grazed, had chocolate, chips, and snacks all day, and now when I look back I can see that I’m out of control. “
With Andy’s support, Sarah felt a real obligation not only to fight her bulges, but also to re-educate herself not to turn to food when she was experiencing extreme emotions.
“Andy was very motivated and lost weight very quickly, so I was happy for him, but it was frustrating for me that I wasn’t losing weight as quickly as he was,” she said.
Sarah added, “Even so, it was the first time in my life that I felt supported by the person I was in a relationship with when I was trying to lose weight and that made a huge difference to me.
“Even after losing weight – he lost 5 to 5 pounds total – Andy still came to the WW meetings with me.”
Sarah, a grandma of two, said relationship problems were her biggest trigger for overeating – what she now recognizes as an eating disorder – before settling down with Andy, who she has been with for 18 years and has been married to for eight years .
“This is my longest relationship,” she said. “Andy is incredibly supportive.
“When we got to WW together, I’d been using food as a crutch for so long that I became like a mouse on a wheel and just didn’t know how to get out.
“Sometimes I would even say that I didn’t want to get out because my weight had become my safety blanket.”
On January 2019, Sarah won her fight – she was just 19 years old and a size 18 – only to have Andy hospitalized for gastric volvulus, a rare and life-threatening condition that causes the Twisted stomach and obstructed bowel
He was hospitalized for a year and died almost several times after suffering from sepsis – a potentially fatal reaction to infection – pneumonia and an abscess on his spleen.
Even so, instead of sipping plates of food to comfort herself, Sarah resisted – and stood strong for her husband.
She said, “It was the worst year of my life.
“There were a few times when we thought we were going to lose him.
“He ‘died’ twice and it was frustrating to have no control over what happened to him.”
She continued, “But I think that made it even more important for me to control what I was eating.”
Too emotionally and physically exhausted to cope with a weight fight as she remained on high alert for Andy despite all the stresses and strains, she continued to lose the pounds and keep them off.
Andy was released from the hospital in January 2020, a ninth shadow of his former self. He was then sent to rehab for three months to learn to walk again.
“I got 75 percent of my husband back,” said Sarah, who finally welcomed him home the week before Britain’s first national lockdown on March 23, 2020.
“We had a wonderful collaboration.
“Andy was shielded, so I was allowed to work from home and we had all the nice weather.”
When the lockdown came in, Sarah – then 18 pounds – was a fully qualified WW trainer helping other people reach healthy weights.
And instead of being discouraged when all of her coaching sessions went online, she saw it as a challenge.
“I was giving about 15 WW classes a week online,” she said.
Now that she is back in meat classes and seeing the emotional toll the pandemic has caused on many other WW members, she realizes how lucky she is to be in control of her own emotional eating.
An online survey commissioned by the European Association for the Study of Obesity last fall found that more than half of adults in the UK struggled to control their weight during the Covid-19 lockdowns for piling the pounds.
Sarah, who is currently 14 and 13 to 7 pounds and is currently the only WW trainer in Northampton said, “I would say 95 percent of my clients have had problems during the pandemic and for convenience they have Facing food. It’s easy to see why. “
She continued, “People were scared and some became bereaved and they still mourn the people who lost them.”
But she credits her continued success in losing weight with a change in her mindset that kept her from overeating.
Fortunately, she now shared her tips with other WW members and said: “I was always so self-critical and I realized that I had to change this attitude.”
She added, “I had to convert my negative thinking to positive thinking and regain control.
“I had to learn to like and love myself.”
Now that she wants to see more government support for healthy eating – including helping low-income families who may be forced to offer their children the cheapest but most unhealthy food options – education is paramount to her.
“We have to change as a society because it’s just too easy to eat crap,” she said.
“I can see that the generation that is the same age as my children is getting bigger and bigger, and I want to tell them not to delay like me, but to do something to lose weight now because it is increasing Age becomes more difficult.
“I also want to encourage more young men to sign up for a weight management class as this is still a stigma for men.
“Losing weight and tackling my emotional eating was one of the best things I’ve ever done.”