A mother-of-one lost more than half her body weight in just two years after her obese frame caused her periods to stop.
Jacqueline Laing, 43, of Dawson Creek in British Columbia, Canada, has always struggled with her weight and even hid food from her family before binge eating in secret.
Tipping the scales at 298lbs (21st 4lbs), doctors urged the writer to lose weight when she went without a period for five years.
After trying everything from the grapefruit diet to Weight Watchers with no success, Ms Laing decided to go vegetarian and started exercising six times a week.
Two years on Ms Laing – who is now a svelte 134lbs (9st 8lbs) – has lost an impressive 164lbs (11st 10lb) and is finally menstruating again.
Jacqueline Laing went without a period for five years after tipping the scales at 298lbs (21st 4lbs) (seen left). Deciding enough was enough, the mother-of-one adopted a vegetarian diet. Two years on, she is a svelte 134lbs (9st 8lbs) (right) and is finally menstruating again
Pictured before her weight loss with her daughter, doctors prescribed Ms Laing medication that kick-started her period, however, it was painful. The medics urged her to lose weight
‘I have always had an unhealthy relationship with food, overeating and binge eating, sneaking and hiding food as a kid and eating it in private,’ Ms Laing said.
As she grew up, her unhealthy eating habits caused her to stop having her period.
‘My doctor prescribed medication to make me have a menstrual cycle,’ Ms Laing said.
‘The medication was too hard on me and caused my cycle to be too painful. I was told I needed to lose weight.’
In a desperate attempt to shed the pounds Ms Laing tried numerous dieting fads, including meal replacement shakes and the Atkins diet.
But it was not until she cut out meat that she really got results.
Before, Ms Laing would indulge in a takeaway breakfast sandwich with hash browns and a large latte at the start of the day.
This would be followed by lasagne, macaroni cheese or a frozen pizza for lunch.
And dinner was frozen ready meals, takeaway burgers and chips or chicken nuggets, washed down with fizzy drinks – not to mention the snacks of crisps and chocolate inbetween.
Ms Laing now starts the day with oats she soaks the night before, topped with berries and a banana.
For lunch she has cottage cheese, plain yogurt with fruit, or vegetables and hummus.
And dinner consists of beans, lentils and vegetables or squash spaghetti.
Ms Laing snacks on fruit or peanut butter to fuel her work outs and drinks water throughout the day.
‘The hardest part was training myself to eat healthier, put the effort in and make it a habit to eat better and exercise regularly,’ Ms Laing said.
‘Moving and trying to exercise when I was at my heaviest was hard, I was tired quite often and sore, it was difficult.’
Pictured left at her heaviest, Ms Laing would often feel ‘tired and run down’, and worried strangers were judging her. Now slim (right), her energy and confidence have been boosted
Ms Laing (pictured left at the gym) work outs six times a week and actually enjoys running. The right image shows how far she has come, with her old clothes now swamping her slim frame
As well as having her period again, Ms Laing’s weight loss has made her feel healthier in every sense.
‘I was tired of feeling uncomfortable in my body,’ she said.
‘I often felt tired and run down. I felt enough was enough, I needed to take control of my eating and make a change.
‘Losing weight has completely changed my life. I have more energy, I am happier in my own body, I feel strong, I have more confidence, I want to experience new things and meet new people.
‘I no longer feel stress or worry when doing things like going out to eat and clothes shopping.’
Ms Laing feels her weight loss has put her back in control of her life, with her now enjoying going out and meeting new people. She claims being heavy ‘messed with her thoughts’
Although thrilled with her weight loss, Ms Laing’s loose skin (seen left) meant she was constantly reminded of her former frame. She decided to go under the knife to have the excess skin on her abdomen removed last October. Ms Laing is pictured right after the operation
Before losing weight, Ms Laing’s obese frame affected every part of her life.
‘Being extremely overweight held me back physically and mentally,’ she said.
‘For example, physically I was tired a lot, I would get out of breath and be tired doing small things like going up a flight of stairs or walking for any long distance.’
Ms Laing’s obese frame also left her so self conscious she would dread leaving the house and was convinced strangers were judging her.
‘I did not feel comfortable in my own skin, I did not want to go out often or meet new people or try new things, it would make me feel anxious,’ she said.
‘One thing that bothered me very much was eating in public, I always felt I was being stared at or people were judging me and my food choices because I was overweight. Being overweight messed with my thoughts, I was not happy in my skin.’
Pictured with her only child, the mother-daughter duo now make exercise a way of life
Although thrilled with her weight loss, Ms Laing’s loose skin meant she was constantly reminded of her former frame.
‘The loose skin I was left with made me feel sad and self-conscious as well because I worked so hard for years to lose all the weight to be left with this big reminder,’ she said.
She went under the knife to remove it last October.
‘When I passed my weight loss goal and really started to enjoy my running, that’s when I decided it was time to have my excess skin removed,’ Ms Laing said.
‘I felt it was the final step in my weight loss journey. The reminder of being overweight is no longer there. I can move and exercise and not worry if my skin is hidden.’
To fuel her workouts, Ms Laing snacks on fruit and peanut butter. Her diet is a far cry from her past eating habits, where she would indulge in takeaways, chocolate and fizzy drinks every day
DOES BEING OVERWEIGHT STOP YOUR PERIODS?
Being overweight or obese can affect your menstrual cycle.
Carrying too much weight causes the body to produce an excess amount of oestrogen – one of the hormones that regulates a woman’s reproductive system.
Excess oestrogen can affect how often you have periods and cause them to stop.
Most women have a period every 28 days, however, the cycle can range from 21-to-40 days.
Some do not have a regular menstrual cycle, with their period often arriving early or late, as well as varying in how long it lasts and how heavy it is.
Periods can also stop because of:
- Sudden weight loss
- Extreme overexercising
- The pill
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
Ms Laing is speaking out to encourage others to be healthier.
‘I love spreading my passion for fitness and nutrition, and trying to help others with fitness or nutrition from what I have learned on my journey,’ she said.
‘People are very happy and excited for me.
‘They say I look amazing and can’t believe how far I have come.
‘They say I am brave for sharing my story about my extra skin.
She added: ‘The best comments are ones where I am told I inspire someone that means a lot.
‘I have cried with others who have said that when they read some of my posts it is like I am describing how they feel as well.’
Ms Laing’s final words of wisdom are for people to be honest with themselves about whether they live a healthy life and to encourage them to find an exercise routine that works for them.
‘You have to be patient and consistent and put in the hard work, then you will reach your goal,’ she said.