A nurse who was so horrified to find herself 'fat at 50″ that she shed five stone – plummeting from a 14 stone size 18 to a nine stone size 10 – celebrated her new body with a bucket list of adventurous achievements, ranging from flying a plane to scuba diving.
Suffering from high blood pressure, Sharon Medhurst, 51, felt so frumpy and dumpy when she turned 50 in July 2020 that two months later she joined a diet plan – losing five stone in seven months.
Sharon, who lives in Northfields, Birmingham, with her hospital porter husband Paul, 57, and their student son, Charlie, 17, said: “I felt old, frumpy and unhappy with how I looked. I struggled to walk any distance and the stairs were a nightmare. I realised that if I didn’t make a change, it would only get worse.
“As a nurse, I knew the health implications of being obese. I already had high blood pressure and was pre-diabetic. I didn’t want to go out and avoided social events. I had no interest in clothes and wore whatever fitted.
"It was simple – I loved food, but it was slowly taking my life from me.”
All that changed in September 2020, soon after her 50th birthday in July when, with the pandemic in full flow, Sharon – a yo-yo dieter, who had tried various slimming programmes before – decided to finally commit herself to a lifestyle overhaul.
At 5ft 4in and weighing 14st, Sharon’s body mass index, used to gauge a healthy weight, was 33.4, compared to the NHS healthy range of between 18.5 and 24.9, making her obese.
She chose the 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan in September 2020 and reached her target weight of 9 stone in March, while her BMI is now a healthy 21.5.
Sharon, who is now a part-time consultant for the business herself, adds, “my weight fell off and, after a couple of months, I started to feel like a different person.”
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With her confidence boosted by her physical transformation Sharon, who had written a bucket list of things she wanted to achieve for her 50th birthday, found the zest for life she needed to start working through it.
Now she has done everything from riding in a hot air balloon to a tandem skydive.
“I have changed my life completely,” she said.
Her bucket list began with 'get a tattoo' - so she had a design of flowers inked on to her right foot.
But as Sharon’s waistline shrank, she started tackling some of the more adventurous entries on her bucket list.
“I don’t like flying – so I had a flying lesson at Halfpenny Green Airport, Wolverhampton," she explained.
“Then, for Christmas, my husband bought me a tandem skydive which I did at Sibson Airfield, Peterborough.
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“I’ve also been scuba diving in Cyprus in October 2020. We fed the fish underwater and saw sea turtles. It was incredible.
“And in September, I went in a hot air balloon over Staffordshire."
Now she wants to drive a Formula One car at the famous Silverstone racetrack in Northamptonshire and plans to climb a mountain.
But while she's determined to stay slim and active, as a nurse, Sharon says temptation to over-eat is a constant problem.
“Often patients are so lovely and so grateful for our help, that they buy things like cakes and chocolates to say thank you – so it’s easy when you’re working a difficult shift to keep tucking in.”
With such a demanding job, she also devoted little time to following a healthy diet and would order Indian takeaways and grab McDonalds’ McMuffins to eat on the go, rather than putting thought into a balanced, nutritious meal plan.
The plan she followed is "quite regimented, providing nutritious 200 calorie meals, which was good for me, as it took away any choice. If you stick to it, you lose weight – it’s that simple.
“But the benefits in my case have been so much more than a shrinking waistline.
“Instead of feeling fat at 50, I feel fab at 51. My friends and family all say I look and seem like a different person.
“Losing weight means I am no longer pre-diabetic, my blood pressure is far better and, after weighing 14st for the best part of a decade, I feel better than I have in years," she adds.
* To find out more about The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan, please visit: www.one2onediet.com.
Additional reporting by PA
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