At 34, Karen Scales was diagnosed with a health-threatening disease and was faced with 2 choices, whether to keep losing weight or give up. She found the strength to move forward and lost an incredible 9 stones.
“Clutching my husband Harry’s hand, I waited for the specialist to speak. From the look on his face, I could tell that my test results had confirmed his suspicions. ‘I need to let you know that you have multiple sclerosis,’ he said. The room began to spin. I was only 30 years old and I had two young children who needed their mum. How could this be happening?
She asked her specialist if she’s going to die and the specialist reassuringly shook his head. She also asked what she can do to improve her health and the specialist recommended that losing weight might help her control her symptoms. It wasn’t a surprise to her as she was currently weighing 16 stones and had already started her Slimming World Journey.
“All I could think about was how it might affect me as a mum. In those early weeks, many of my friends and family suggested I stop going to group. ‘You’ve got enough to deal with at the moment,’ they’d say. ‘Give yourself a break.’ I knew they were only trying to be kind as they could see how much pain I was in on a daily basis, but I was determined not to give up.
She stayed on plan and made it her focus. She had no control over what the disease might do to her but certainly, she can take care of her body by taking control of her weight.
“Food planning, keeping track of what I ate and making all of our meals from scratch also gave me a project when I desperately needed something to occupy my mind. And, when everyone realised I was determined to stick with it, they all rallied round to help. If the pain was too intense for me to drive to group, a friend would pick me up and ferry me there, and my dad would step in when she wasn’t around – between them, they made sure I never missed a week.
She has totally transformed her eating habits. For breakfast she would have overnight oats then for lunch she would make vegetable soup or a huge chicken salad and fruits for dessert. For dinner, she would cook Slimming World spaghetti Bolognese or chicken fried rice for the whole family.
Grateful to Syns, she doesn’t have to give up her daily chocolate consumption. She’d take Cadbury Freddo for 5 Syns, or a chocolate teacake for 5½ Syns, with her cup of tea.
“I’ll never forget my first annual check-up in July 2013. ‘Come through and we’ll get you weighed,’ the nurse said. When I’d stepped on the scales, she looked me up and down and then flicked through her notes, frowning. As she asked me to confirm my name and date of birth, I realised she didn’t recognise me from the weight in my notes. ‘It’s me, I’ve lost another 5st!’ I announced proudly. ‘Blimey, I thought you’d sent somebody else!’ she said, laughing. Just after that, the specialist walked in and his jaw dropped, too! In that moment, I felt so proud of what I’d managed to do for myself in the past year.
She has shed 9 stones in total since then making her reach her target weight. She never missed a meeting with the group and she believes that it’s staying with the group that made her achieve her goals. She knows that she’s not going to gain back those stones ever again.
“It may sound crazy, but even though everything has changed beyond belief since my diagnosis, I’m actually happier. Why? Because I’m so proud of myself for losing the weight that had been holding me back, and which would have made my life more difficult now. With loads more confidence and a positive attitude, I feel ready to face whatever the future may bring. And, through maintaining a healthy weight, I know I’m continuing to give myself the best chance I can to live a long, full and happy life as I watch my beautiful children grow up.”
Losing weight has been truly life-changing for her. Though her symptoms change from time to time she has no regrets losing weight because if she didn’t life would be harder than where she is now. She seldomly uses her stick or wheelchair.
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