A career woman turned stay-at-home mum is urging other women to take control of their weight problems and live life to the full.
Karen King has been given a new lease of life after losing more than 7st following a strict eating programme.
After years of dieting she was inspired to lose weight for one last time after an embarrassing incident at a theme park where staff offered her a ladder to climb down from a ride because she was too out of breath to pedal it.
Karen, of Station Road, Wing Hollow, said: “I have always been a confident person but I was feeling pretty low and very unhappy in myself and after years of being overweight, I knew I needed to make a change.
“My demons were telling me that I didn’t look that bad as I was a mummy and was allowed to be ‘cuddly’ plus I was rapidly approaching 50, so why should I be bothered about how I looked? The girl inside me, however, was singing a very different tune.
“The theme park incident was a completely humiliating experience which ultimately had such a profound effect on me. I was mortified. How could I have let myself become this way?”
Karen, 47, had heard about the LighterLife programme from friends and decided to bite the bullet and join the classes in Market Harborough.
At the start she weighed 17st and was a dress size 22-24 but she has now dropped to 10st and a size 8-10 in around eight months.
The programme provides four food packs a day but also incorporates weekly counselling sessions for people to address the reasons behind their overeating.
Karen said: “Realising that food is simply ‘fuel’ was a revelation to me as for so long it was an emotional crutch, a way of congratulating, commiserating, sometimes punishing my body rather than simply giving it the energy it needed to survive.”
Karen quit her high-powered job in purchasing and now spends more time with her nine-year-old son Ethan.
She said: “My family and friends have been amazing during my journey and have noticed how happy I am.
“I never really thought my weight held me back but my husband thinks it did affect me and now I can see that it did. I’m up for pretty much anything now and I’m much happier in myself.
“To listen to other women’s experience was very humbling and made me appreciate that I am not on my own.
“Don’t waste any more time on wishing how your life would change, stop punishing yourself and focus on really doing something about it, you will never regret it.”