A woman who shrunk from a size 30 to a size 8 says her own mother doesn’t recognise her after a shocking 15st weight loss.
Elizabeth Watkins, 38, from Princes Risborough, in Buckinghamshire, dropped from 26st 9lbs to 11st 8lbs in just 18 months, with the help of a gastric bypass and a strict diet of between 700 and 1,200 calories a day.
The results are so dramatic that friends and family do a double take when they see her and even her own mother ‘walked past her in the street’.
Elizabeth, a recruitment consultant, has also found love after shedding the pounds and is now engaged.
Speaking about the transformation, Elizabeth, who was born in Istanbul to an Armenian family and moved to the UK when she was 12, said she has struggled with weight since childhood.
She said: ‘I’ve been large all my life including throughout my childhood. A lot of factors for this were due to eating food for comfort during both bad times and in celebration at good times.
‘Also, food was very important culturally. When my parents divorced, I was indulged in even more foods.’
As Elizabeth grew older and her weight continued to creep up, Elizabeth cut herself off from the outside world to avoid strangers’ stares and pity.
Overeating meant eventually she struggled to walk, stand and sit as she tipped the scales at 26st 9lb and was just about fitting into a UK size 30. Pictured, before her weight loss
Realising she could not carry on as she was, Elizabeth decided to have a gastric bypass in May 2017. Pictured, the recruitment consultant before starting her weight loss journey
Elizabeth’s diet before
Morning snack: Nothing
Lunch: Two sandwiches, a big bag of crisps and a chocolate bar
Afternoon snack: Cake and biscuits with with a cup of tea with three sugars
Dinner: Two large adult portions of home cooked food, ready meals or take-away
Extra snacks: Sweets, chocolates or ice cream’
Elizabeth’s diet now
Breakfast: Coffee without sugar, Activia yoghurt, a plum, a clementine and handful of grapes
Morning snack: Bowl of M&S Golden Syrup Porridge with semi skimmed milk, a handful of blueberries and a cup of tea with sweetener
Lunch: Mixed salad with lemon dressing, a pack of quavers, a pear and a diet coke.
Dinner: Something with little oil in a small bowl
Extra snacks: Cup of tea with sweetener with one light digestive biscuit, apples, small bag or Haribo or Lindt chocolate ball
She only interacted with a small group of people who she felt comfortable to be around.
She continued: ‘I was skipping breakfast and then eating two sandwiches, a big bag of crisps and chocolate bar for lunch. In the afternoon I ate cake and biscuits with a cup of tea with three sugars.
‘Then for dinner I had two large adult portions of home cooked food, ready meals or take-away. I would fill in lots of gaps with more sweets, chocolates or ice cream.’
Realising she could not carry on as she was, Elizabeth decided to have a gastric bypass in May 2017.
After surgery she restricted her diet to just 700 calories a day for a year, during which time she lost a stone a month.
Elizabeth pictured here with her mother, who didn’t recognise her after losing weight
After shedding 12 stone, she continued at just 1,200 calories a day to lose the rest of the weight.
Losing weight has helped Elizabeth put herself out there and ‘transformed’ every part of her life.
She continued: ‘People just don’t recognise me anymore. Even my own mother doesn’t, she walked right past me.
Also, it’s been really great to reconnect with two old lost friends. It took me a long time to realise that the breakdown in our friendship was due to me. I watched them move forward in their own lives, they got married, had children and I wasn’t the supportive friend they deserved.
Elizabeth has finally found love and is now engaged, she is pictured here with her fiance, whom she did not want to name
‘Losing weight has transformed every aspect of my life. I’ve been able to go out in the world, travel, walk 100,000 steps in a week like it’s nothing. I’ve made lifelong friendships with previous strangers going through the same journey.
‘I feel alive, like I can do anything. I don’t look at it as though I’ve lost 15st, I see it as I’ve gained a life and I intend to live it to the full.
‘Nobody can make this decision for you, you need to make it for yourself, but there is a world of support out there for you when you are ready.
‘What works for one person is not necessarily the same for others. When I included exercise, seeing the weight increase on the scales put me down. I know it might have been muscle gain, but I really needed to see the scale to move down not up. I changed to just having more of an ‘active lifestyle’ and this really worked for me.’