Carer whose weight reached 20st has slimmed down by as much as Adele
A carer whose weight rose to 20 stone has slimmed down by almost as much as Adele.
Amy Rowlands, 41, shed six stone after vowing to get fit by the time she turned 40.
The weight loss coach from Grimsby in Lincolnshire - who battled anorexia in her teens - reached a size 24 before finally conquering her food demons.
She has recalled consuming pizza, biscuits and an entire bottle of wine most nights for years.
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Amy was the primary carer for her partner Neil Armstrong, 44, who has a long-term illness, when she decided she needed to change her lifestyle and joined a WW slimming group.
She went on to drop five dress sizes in seven months, and has landed a job helping other people lose weight.
Now at 13st 4lb and wearing a size 14, she has been inspired by Adele’s jaw-dropping transformation - which saw the singer shed a reported seven stone - to share her journey.
She said: “When I reached 19-and-a-half stone, I stopped caring and didn’t look after myself.
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“I would never look in the mirror and my confidence was at rock bottom.
“I put my life on hold. I would say to myself, ‘Well I’ll go for a new job when I lose weight.’”
Amy continued: “I used to sing in a band and I stopped that, but told myself I’d do it again after I’d lost weight.
“I would bury my head in the sand. People around me would gently try and tell me I should lose weight, but I would just brush it off.”
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Amy’s unhealthy relationship with food started when she was aged just 12 and gained some “puppy fat” – prompting her to try and lose weight, and leading to a two-year battle with the disease anorexia nervosa.
She explained: “My weight problems spiralled out of control and I would go from one extreme to another,” she recalled.
“I weighed five stone, and after being admitted into a special unit for teenagers, that helped me get sorted.
“After having anorexia, I went the other way and gained more and more weight.”
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Amy said: “Then, in my 20s, I managed to lose seven stone through dieting.
“But I put it back on again, and in my 30s went up to more than 20 stone – losing nine stone again through dieting, before putting it all back on.
“It would never stay off. Life would get in the way and I would pile the pounds back on. I would be in denial about how big I was getting and my weight just spiralled out of control.”
Eating calorie-laden food like pizza, as well as snacking on chocolate and crisps - with scant regard for portion control - did not help.
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Amy recalled: “I would eat six biscuits as a mid-morning snack and a family sized bag of kettle chips in the evening after dinner. I also used to drink a bottle of wine a night.”
With a body mass index (BMI) – used to gauge a healthy weight – of 40.4, compared to the NHS recommended range of between 18.5 and 24.9, she was classed as obese.
But as her 30s drew to a close, and with her partner spending a month in hospital with a chest infection, she experienced a wake-up call and decided to look closely at her own health.
She said: “As soon as he was discharged, I thought, ‘I’m not putting it off anymore. I have to sort myself out.’ It was a wake-up call for me.”
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“I joined WW and started to reduce my calories using the points-based system. It was about changing my lifestyle. I’m an all or nothing person so took it very seriously.
“I started to lose weight quite quickly – about five or six pounds in the first week, which spurred me on.”
She added: “I felt in control of something, because I could see the results from the changes I’d made.
“Within seven or eight months I looked and felt like a different person. It was amazing.
“By January this year I’d lost 6st 3lb and now weigh 13st 4lb and wear a size 14. I’m hoping to get to my goal weight of 10st 7lb by the end of the summer.”
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Amy noted: “My confidence has really grown. I can look in the mirror with pride.”
“I enjoy getting dressed up and going out when, before I lost weight, I would make an excuse not to go out.”
Best of all, losing weight has given her a new work opportunity.
She said: “I’d been caring for my partner full-time, but I think I was also using that as an excuse, because I didn’t have the confidence to go out to work.”
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Amy added: “In the New Year, my WW coach asked if I’d ever thought about becoming a coach myself, so I did – as I really wanted to share my story and encourage others.
“I find it really rewarding and I know it makes such a difference when you’re being coached by someone who has been through the same thing.”
Now, she sticks to healthy meals, eating porridge for breakfast and chicken or fish for dinner, as well as working out three times a week.
She said: “I have an exercise machine at home. I also have a fitness hula hoop and will do home workouts three times a week, as well as taking our Golden Labrador dog Whammo for a walk.
“Now I want other people to know that whatever has happened, they can change, too.
“Today I have a bounce in my step. Before losing weight, I felt so sluggish, but I’ve got loads of energy now.”
She added: “I don’t think you realise how much that extra weight impacts on your life until you lose it.
“I used to wear a coat 12 months of the year, just to cover up my body, but not anymore.
“I can’t wait to wear shorts in the summer – even if it’s just to go in the garden.”