Life Changer winner, Andrea Whitcombe, is beyond excited to be wearing her first pair of women’s shoes ever for The 1:1 Diet’s annual Slimmer Awards.
The 73-year-old widow from Gloucestershire could only wear men’s shoes before losing more than six stone with The 1:1 Diet.
And she recently bought a size pair of 14 trousers, after years wearing size 32 clothes thanks to being given one-to-one support from her Consultant daughter.
“I wish I’d found The 1:1 Diet years ago,” she said. “At 73 years old this was my last chance to get things right. And it is the only time I have got it right.”
Andrea’s weight problems stemmed back to her childhood when she was diagnosed with lymphedema.
“It causes my legs to swell excessively, and they were so big,” she explained. “This all affected my confidence and my ability to join in with certain sports and activities, which led to me being bullied at school. It would hurt to stand up and comfort ate with the wrong food.
“I went into a little box on my own and was quite lonely and depressed at such a young age.”
Andrea also had endometriosis and had tried for 12 years to get pregnant.
“I lost a big of weight to have my beautiful daughter, Shelley, successfully. It was group work which got me so far, but my weight crept back up.
“The doctor, who had treated me all my life, had flown in from the Channel Islands to the hospital and rather than ask me whether I had had a boy or a girl, he asked me how much weight I’d lost.
“Pretty much immediately after I had my daughter, I went to group therapies and took over the counter remedies. The group sessions didn’t work. I was always the largest person there so my self- confidence was on the floor from the get-go. It was an uphill struggle all my life.”
Andrea always felt embarrassed about her weight and used to dread picking Shelley up from school.
“I was not only embarrassed at the school gates about my size, but about the embarrassment it might have caused my daughter,” she recalled. “Even at that stage people would look at my huge legs and I’d be in unfashionable clothes and ridiculed because of it. My self-confidence was knocked all the time.
“On sports days it was terrible because all the mums and dads were asked to compete in a race and I could not participate; it was awful.”
At her heaviest, Andrea was wearing size 30/32 clothes and weighed around 25 stone. Her leg condition meant she also wore men’s size 10 triple width fitting shoes.
“It’s meant I’ve never to be able to feel as elegant as I wanted. I couldn’t buy normal clothes and it’s meant I’ve never to be able to feel as elegant as I wanted.”
Andrea’s BMI was 43, she had stomach pains and doctors diagnosed her with a mild heart condition. She was also taking tablets for her blood pressure.
In May 2020, having lost a couple of stone on her own, Andrea had plateaued again. She was desperate to be able to keep up with her two young grandchildren, who are her world.
“I needed to lose weight to save and prolong my life. It was a bleak outlook,” she said.
“My daughter had just qualified as a Consultant for The 1:1 Diet and I’d seen how much weight she had lost on it and how much of a difference it had made to her life.
“I dreaded getting on the scales in front of my daughter every bit as much as I dreaded going into group weigh-ins. But she supported me all the way, relaxed me and treated me as she would a person on the street.”
Shelley said: “Mum was very much treated like a client to get the best out of the programme rather than being let off, shall we say. She has been put through her paces and I am so proud of her.”
14 months later, Andrea has lost more weight than she ever thought possible.
“I’m very close to my daughter and she is very precious to me. She’s got me where I want to be and she means the world to me.
“I have surpassed my original goal weight set and the difference this has made to my life is indescribable. I have been able to reduce some of my medications; I’m no longer in pain every day and can move better and keep up with my grandchildren, something I never thought possible.
“I have been able to buy clothes from whatever shop I like and recently bought a pair of size 14 trousers, which was a very emotional moment.”
Not only has Andrea lost stones, but she has lost 10cm off her ankles.
“It is marvellous. Now I have a knee and bones; things I had never found before. The girth of my legs has gone down as well as my ankles. I stand in a mirror now and now I fit into one. I used to always avoid them.”
And it’s meant she’s able to wear a pair of women’s shoes to our Slimmer Awards.
“I am in men’s shoes today, which are rather big now!”
Andrea said her life has changed beyond belief.
“The 1:1 Diet has saved my life,” she said. “If I had not found this Plan, I am very aware my life would have been cut short. My life is so different; it’s exciting now.
“I’ve had friends walk past me and not recognise me because I’m half the size I was. When they realised it was me, they cried and said I was tiny. It was like winning the Lottery.”
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