Woman's colleagues 'didn't recognise her' after 12-stone lockdown transformation

One woman’s colleagues didn’t recognize her after losing more than 12 stones in weight during the coronavirus lockdown.

Sharon Hayes of Garston, Liverpool, lost 50 pounds in less than two years – and left those she worked with “shocked” by her transformation when she returned to the office.

The 53-year-old Student Experience Administrator at the University of Liverpool weighed in at her heaviest weight at 23st 9lb (150kg).

“I’ve been overweight since childhood,” she told the Liverpool echo.

“It was probably lifestyle – everything was fried in the 1970s.

“That was the culture, however, the poor management of the food, and the way my family cooked.

“My dad and brother were fine, but my mom and grandma had severe weight problems. I think I picked up the wrong genes.”

Ms. Hayes said she tried various weight loss plans to lose weight – but it didn’t stop.

She added that since she has always been taller, she doesn’t care as much about her size as she does with leaner friends.

She said: “I never knew it any other way – I have always been like that.

“I’ve tried them all – Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Rosemary Conley. Every time I lost the most, it was five stones. “

Ms. Hayes has said over the years that her “needs have been put on the back burner” and that she “would just pick up food on the go”.

She added that she also had a “savory tooth” and would snack on things like chips between “unhealthy meals”.

But when the lockdown hit in 2020, Ms. Hayes said the problem seemed to be getting worse.

She said, “We started working from home in March, I was working from our dining room and the kitchen is right next to it.

“Of course I had a serious weight problem, but since we were working from home and in the kitchen, it got a lot worse than it was.

“But I didn’t mean to lose weight because you will hear that people have thought a lot about it and what diets they are on.

“It hadn’t even crossed my mind. But something made me think of Rosemary Conley.

“When I looked it up on the internet, I found Get Slim. I thought, ‘What do I have to lose?’

“It turned out to be a life changing moment. I haven’t looked back since. This time something just clicked. “

Ms. Hayes signed GetSlim’s 28-day Lean and Clean plan which worked well for her.

She said, “It was exactly what I needed to get myself going.

“I cut out all the cakes, sweets and what we call ‘naughty’ food for a month.

“It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought. Since it was only a month, I knew the end was in sight and I could still eat a lot so I wasn’t hungry. “

After that, Ms. Hayes did not stick to a specific daily eating plan, instead sticking to the calorie limits to give her a bit more flexibility.

By November 2020, she had lost five pounds – at which point she realized that if she wanted to lose more, she had to increase her activity level.

After sustaining a severe knee injury seven years earlier, Ms. Hayes gently increased her mobility through regular walking. Now she can do 9.7 km a day.

When she returned to the office in October 2021, her colleagues did not recognize her.

She said, “The family back home saw me from the beginning, but a lot of people didn’t see me initially because we were in lockdown.

“I think it was October 2021 when the shock hit people when I went back to work one day during the week – physically to work – and then a lot of people saw not just my head and shoulders, but me as a whole.

“And then there were a lot of shocks.

“My family and very close friends saw it and were shocked at the transformation.

Sharon Hayes, 53, after her weight loss

“But people who hadn’t seen me in a long time didn’t even believe it was me.”

Now Ms. Hayes has lost more than 12th – from 23.9 lb (150 kg) to 11. 7 lb (73 kg) and lost an impressive 20 dress sizes.

She said she “felt a lot more positive” now and was aiming to shed a little more weight so her BMI was in the healthy range.

She added, “The absolute best part about losing weight was improving my mobility.

“I would probably have ended up in a wheelchair if I had continued like this.”

It also gave her the confidence to participate more in life: “My life was nonexistent.

“Whenever I was invited to dinner, there was always the risk that I would not fit into the seating.

“I feel a lot more positive now that I don’t have to worry about doing ordinary things.”

Ms. Hayes added, “Maybe I’ll go away for a weekend when we’re back to normal.

“I haven’t been abroad in many years with a future trip. My size made it difficult to fly and it was very uncomfortable to get hot in the sun.”

The 53-year-old admitted she’s still getting used to her new, leaner self.

She said, “Sometimes I go to sleep and think I’m going to wake up and it’s all a dream.

“I recently bought a pair of pants online.

“When they arrived I thought I was optimistic when I ordered them, but they fit.”

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