Fitness studio owner loses 9 stone after doctors warned her to shape up or face life in a wheelchair

·5-min read

An entrepreneur who owns three fitness and wellbeing studios yet weighed 22st has lost 9st using her own facilities after doctors warned her to shape up or face life in a wheelchair.

Horrified when she stepped on the scales in 2019 and saw the dial shoot to 22st, Sylwia Sokolowska, 44, knew she had to take drastic action and started cutting carbs and working out at her own body shaping and wellness studio four times a week.

Owner of Studio Figura, a women’s only studio with branches in three locations, while she was helping others to stay fit, at 5ft 4in, she had a body mass index (BMI) used to gauge a weight of 52.5, compared to the NHS healthy range of 18.5 to 24.9, making her obese.

Sylwia has lost 9st. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Sylwia has lost 9st. (Collect/PA Real Life)

Sylwia, of Bracknell, Berkshire, said: “I opened my first studio branch five years ago in Poland. Then, four and half years ago, I opened another one, followed by a third, this time in London, two and a half years ago.

“Running the business, I saw so many people achieving their fitness goals, but I was so busy making sure everything was a success for my clients that I forgot to focus on myself, too.”

But it was being warned by her doctor that she could end up in a wheelchair if she did not lose weight that became her turning point.

At her biggest, Sylwia weighed 22st. (Collect/PA Real Life)
At her biggest, Sylwia weighed 22st. (Collect/PA Real Life)

She said: “I hated taking photos. If I had to, I would try to only take selfies with the camera angled from above, so people wouldn’t see just how big I was.

“I hated seeing pictures of myself. I just had no self-confidence anymore.

“I went in for a check-up in 2018 and was devastated by what they said. My weight was putting a lot of pressure on my back, resulting in quite a lot of back pain.”

Sylwia says she became so focussed on her clients’ successes, she forgot to take care of herself too. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Sylwia says she became so focussed on her clients’ successes, she forgot to take care of herself too. (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “My doctor told me I would either end up in a wheelchair or in the grave if I didn’t act soon.”

Luckily, Sylwia, who is single, had access to exercise facilities at her own business.

She said: “I was bigger than the people who were trying to lose weight at my studios.”

  • Breakfast – Coffee

  • Lunch – More coffee

  • Dinner – Massive portion of pasta with cheese and potatoes

She added: “I had struggled with my own weight for around 15 years, and I decided it was time to do something about it.

“It wasn’t how much I was eating because I only ate once a day before I lost weight, but it was the type of food I ate.

“So, I cut carbs out of my diet.”

Sylwia used the equipment at her fitness and wellbeing studio to shift the weight. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Sylwia used the equipment at her fitness and wellbeing studio to shift the weight. (Collect/PA Real Life)

She started working out at her studio four times a week and swapped large portions of pasta with cheese for salads and vegetables.

Sylwia said: “I learned what I should and shouldn’t be eating, cut down on carbs and upped my exercise.

“It was a slow and steady process, which took me just over two and half years to achieve.”

Sylwia says her clients encouraged her with her weight loss journey. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Sylwia says her clients encouraged her with her weight loss journey. (Collect/PA Real Life)

In 2020, Sylwia stepped on the scales and was delighted to see she weighed 12st 10lb and while she had worn a size 24, she could now happily slip into a size 14.

She said: “I couldn’t quite believe it. My clients had all been very encouraging, telling me that I could do it.

“I used to use them as proof that my studio works, but now I have my own transformation to show for it as well.”

  • Breakfast – Brown toast

  • Lunch – Salad or soup

  • Dinner – Rice with chicken and vegetables

She added: “It’s been really tough to completely change my mindset, so I’m incredibly proud of what I have accomplished.”

Now, Sylwia says she maintains her new toned figure with a regime of diet and exercise and treatments at one of her studio locations.

She said: “I’m focussing a lot on working out with the rowing machine right now, as it’s a great exercise.”

Sylwia has dropped five dress sizes since her weight loss. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Sylwia has dropped five dress sizes since her weight loss. (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “During the months of lockdown, it was tough to stay on track, but now that we’ve reopened, I want to make the most of the equipment.”

And Sylwia says her weight loss has also boosted her self-esteem.

She said: “The biggest thing for me is the change in my confidence.”

Sylwia once wore a size 24. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Sylwia once wore a size 24. (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “Since starting the process of losing weight, I’ve built up my confidence so much that I managed to change my life.

“I was struggling to walk up two flights of stairs before and now I can run.

“My future was starting to look quite bleak health-wise, but everything is different now.”

Sylwia now wears a size 14. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Sylwia now wears a size 14. (Collect/PA Real Life)

Sylwia hopes her own weight loss can be used to help other women who are trying to get into shape.

She said: “The most important thing I want to get across is how much your confidence will grow by losing excess weight.

“You can make the decision for yourself today to completely change your life around.

“I keep saying this to everyone but if I can do it, anyone can.”

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