Imagine buying your dream house but never being able to climb to the top floor of it.
That’s what happened to Ester Barbosa, whose size meant she couldn’t walk up the stairs of her three-storey house in Reading...until she lost a massive 12 stone one pound on Plan with The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan.
Now mum-of-one Ester has been crowned Lockdown Slimdown winner in The 1:1 Diet’s annual Slimmer Awards and is not only celebrating her win, but being able to explore a whole new floor of her home!
“When we moved to the UK, after two years, we bought our dream home – it’s a beautiful three-storey house,” said Greek-born Ester, 35. “But when I was over 25 stones, I wasn’t able to go upstairs to the top floor because I couldn’t breathe. Even on the first floor I was out of breath.
“Now I can run upstairs and come back down in seconds.”
At her heaviest, Ester tipped the scales at 25 stone nine pounds and was a dress size 28/30.
Being apart from her family back home, not being able to find a job at first and learning a new language, all led to Ester comfort eating.
“Everything was completely different here from what I knew,” she said. “The language, no family here to support me in any way. I love my husband but it’s very different when you have friends and can go out and do things. My only way to express myself and my emotions was literally to go to the food option.
“Back in Greece, I was a sales advisor in a High Street company and when I moved to the UK I was looking for something in that field. I started as a Christmas temp in Debenhams and they told me I was the best and said I’d stay with them. It was the happiest time in two years for me. I was really happy to help.
“It was really a very good time for me working. But still I didn’t feel good about me as I gained so much weight, I lost track a bit.”
Two years later, Ester found out she was pregnant, but her high BMI was worrying.
“I was panicking I may have some complications during my pregnancy, and it was very hard. As a new mum I had post-natal depression and it was very hard for me. My weight was the highest I have ever been in my life.”
The last straw for Ester was when she developed sleep apnoea symptoms, meaning she couldn’t breathe properly, especially at night.
“The thought of dying and not seeing my family and son growing up was really a shock time for me. That’s’ when I decided to do something, on my son’s second birthday. I decided I needed to get my life and look after myself, my health and wellbeing.”
Before Lockdown 1.0, Ester visited The 1:1 Diet website after her mum saw an advert in Greece about a famous actor there who had really big health problems.
“They interviewed him and asked how he’d lost his weight in six months and he said ‘The 1:1 Diet’. My mum knew I was troubled with my weight and suggested I look for The 1:1 Diet over here. Looking for a nice, friendly face, I was really reassured by my Consultant and her inspiring story.
“I phoned her right away and said ‘I just need to start’. She told me not to panic.”
Then lockdown hit.
“Because of lockdown, I was not able to go for face-to-face weigh-ins, but in my first week on Plan I lost a stone and to me that was really amazing and completely life-saving.
“I had full support from my Consultant who contacted me every other day and messaged me; she was basically there in the house with me all that time.
“My energy levels were really fantastic; I didn’t feel tired or drained at all. I was cooking for my husband and son but making healthy food choices for me as well.”
Then lockdown threw another major spanner in the works.
“Debenhams was in crisis and we got a call telling us most stores would be closing. After a week they decided they may keep our branch, which was hopeful, but after another week they said it was not going to happen. It was devastating.”
At this point, Ester had already lost six stone and said the old her would have turned to over-eating to cope with her anxiety.
But her Consultant called and offered her the opportunity to become a Consultant for The 1:1 Diet.
“I realised this was something I could do and became really inspired. I was talking about the diet to everyone, they could see I’d lost weight. I decided to become a Consultant to help other people become active and help others. Becoming a Consultant, for me, was a massive happiness.”
Ester says she is now living her best life.
“I’ve joined a gym where I do spinning classes and go running slowly with my little one. Now I can drive again as I couldn’t sit in my car comfortably before. I love fashion and shopping - to be able to go to a shop and find my size is an amazing feeling.”
Ester’s also inspired her mum and sister to go on Plan, over in Greece and was looking forward to seeing their reactions to how she looks on a family trip back to her homeland.
“No one in Greece knows I’ve lost so much weight – I’ve not seen them in two years.
I cannot wait to see my parents, friends and the look on their faces when they see me, going on the beach in a bikini and wearing a nice, summery dress.”
Inspired to start your own weight loss story? Find a Consultant today!