'Too many people have weight-loss surgery on the NHS': Woman who shed 10st on £20 exercise bike wants others to lose pounds healthily, not 'cheat' with gastric band
From Dailymail.co.uk -
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A mother-of-four who lost an impressive ten stone and slimmed from a size 28 to a size 8 wants to help others lose the weight- without NHS help.
Catherine Powell, 37, who weighed 20 stone, lost half of her body weight in just 16 months thanks to hard work and determination.
She is now trying to convince others that they shouldn't resort to NHS gastric bands to lose weight.
Catherine, from Alsager, Cheshire, piled on the pounds thanks to years of 'secret eating'- snacking in between meals and even hiding chocolate in the back of the vegetable tray in the fridge.
But she lost the weight thanks to hard work- instead of tax-payer funded gastric bands or weight loss surgery, and she wants to help others realise they can lose the pounds this way too.
Catherine said: 'I have completely changed my lifestyle and it really is the only way to do it.
'Losing this weight has completely and utterly changed my life.
'Too many people resort to fad diets, which they see celebrities following or having weight loss surgery on the NHS.
'But a whole lifestyle change is the only way to do it- and keep the weight off.
'I want people to know it is do-able- no matter what size you are. But it takes hard work- there is no denying that.
'There needs to be more support to help people lose weight the natural way..'
Catherine decided to lose weight after she thought she was having a heart attack in bed one night.
She said: 'I ate some chocolate and went to bed and my heart started racing- I was convinced I was having a heart attack and I knew things had to change. It scared me to death.
'I had so many health problems as a result of my weight- I was on the waiting list for a knee replacement, but I needed to lose weight before they would operate on me.
'I can't believe I let myself get so big. I was always tired and it wasn't good for my children to see their mum so big.'
Catherine joined her local Slimming World group in January 2012 and determined, she set about cooking her own meals and following a healthy eating plan with lots of fruit and vegetables.
She bought a £20 exercise bike and would work out while watching her favourite soaps on television, in a year she had shed eight stone, losing another two stone in just four months after that.
And as a result of her amazing transformation from a size 28 and 20 stone, to a slim size 8 and 10 stone, Catherine's health problems vanished.
Now she doesn't need her knee replaced and she is even a keen runner.
The self- confessed 'gym bunny', will wake up at 6.30 am five days a week and do a work out before her four children Matthew, 21, Jacob, 16, Tiffany, 13, and ten-year-old Caitlin wake up.
Catherine said: 'I have managed to tone up and have completed changed my body shape.
'A lot of overweight people end up with lots of excess skin, but I've been lucky I haven't and I'm sure it's down to all the exercise I do.
'I have never had a personal training session, or counted a calorie- I just do what feels good and it has worked so far.
'Anyone can exercise- even if it is getting on the exercise bike in front of the soaps, as I used to do.'
Two years on Catherine has maintained an enviable size 8 figure, which is an incredible 10 dresses smaller than she was.
'One of the great things about losing weight is that I now have the wardrobe I've always wanted, full of beautiful size 8 dresses.
'When I was bigger I hated having my picture taken and would hide in dark clothes, but now I love glamming up and taking time over my appearance.
'Everyone who is big should have the opportunity to feel this good and I say if a fat person could feel what it's like to be thin for just one day, they would commit to losing the weight.
'It is a fantastic feeling.'
Catherine now runs her own Slimming World group in Alsager because she wants to help others who are in the position she was- without them resorting to weight loss surgery.
Her slimmers are always gobsmacked to look at the 'before' pictures of Catherine.
She said: 'I now just want to help others to get to where they want to be, and I have a lot of empathy for people who have weight to lose, because I was there and I know how it feels.'
'People are always shocked to look at my old pictures but I assure them it is me.
'It hasn't been easy but I can show it is do-able without resulting to surgery.
'There is so much money spent on bariatric patients and I think people need more help- without having to resort to tax-payer funded surgery.'
'I am busy single parent and not only have I lost the weight- I've kept it off, but that's why is has to be a whole lifestyle change- there is no quick fix which lasts in the long term.
'It sound silly but it's true- you are what you eat.
'Before I was eating fatty foods but now I have whole new lease of life-and a new body- thanks to eating healthily.
'I don't deny myself- but I advocate everything in moderation.
'People make excuses not to exercise- and I've been there. But if it is important enough anyone can make time.'