Carole and her husband Mike have now completely transformed their lives.
A supersized husband and wife have shed 12 stone in as many months after being so mortified by a snap of themselves that they made a New Year’s resolution to transform their lifestyles.
Previously a size eight gym bunny, childminder Carole Bonham, 56, started to pile on the pounds in mid-2017, after a foot injury left her unable to exercise.
Also developing a sweet tooth, she began scoffing cake and biscuits and, within 18 months, had gone from nine stone to 13st 2lb.
Meanwhile, her husband, chartered accountant Mike, 55, ballooned to 20st 9lb after a stressful job and irregular hours left him relying on takeaways.
But, shocked into action by an unflattering photo, the couple, of Glasgow, Scotland – who have two children, builder surveyor Andrew, 22, and IT sales representative David, 21 – signed up to slimming club WW in January 2019 and have now shed 12 stone between them.
Mike, who had been overweight since he was just 14, now weights 12st 7lb, while Carole is an 8st 9lb size eight.
Carole said: “I’d tried every diet going, but now I’ve found something that works and I have no intention of putting it back on.
“I’ve gone from a size 18 to a size eight.”
Mike added: “When Carole first mentioned WW, I didn’t talk to her for about three days. I was insulted she had suggested it- but then I decided that she was right. I couldn’t carry on as I was.”
Mike added: “I think I went through the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.”
Having struggled with his size for four decades, Mike can pinpoint the beginning of his weight gain to when he was around 14.
By the time he married Carole in 1991, who he had met three years earlier in 1988, when they were both training as accountants, he was already 16 stone.
From there, reaching for takeaways and junk food to fuel his stressful working days, he continued to pile on the pounds until, in 2017, he reached 20 stone.
Standing at 5ft 9in, this put his body mass index (BMI) – used to gauge whether a person’s weight is healthy – at 42.8, compared to the recommended NHS bracket of 18.5 to 25, meaning he was classed as obese.
Adding that, at his heaviest, he wore a size 48 waist, he continued: “I’d skip breakfast, lunch would be something unhealthy like crisps and chocolate, then I’d grab a takeaway on the way home.”
He added: “I was not very active, and you get into this cycle where you know you should exercise – but at 20 stone, you don’t want to. You don’t want to go swimming because you feel self-conscious.
“I would get the odd comment about my weight from colleagues or friends – but I’d brush them off.”
For Carole, however, it was a completely different story.
Having always looked after her health, she weighed around nine stone for most of her life.
Whenever Mike came home late from work with a kebab or a curry, she had already been to the gym and cooked her own healthy dinner.
“Even after my pregnancies, I soon went back down to around nine stone,” she explained.”
It’s week 2 of the new year and the new myWW, how are we all feeling? Whether you’re on track with your 2020 goals or dipped slightly, be proud of yourself – you’ve got this! ✨ May this third week be full of positivity and prepped meals (because we all know that helps). 😉 pic.twitter.com/nWL6nCBClb
— WW UK (Weight Watchers reimagined) (@ww_uk) January 12, 2020
“I would go to the gym four or five times a week and ate a good diet,” Carole explained.
But, in mid-2017, Carole damaged her foot when she slipped while running and, unable to hit the gym, she soon became inactive.
As well as moving less, she began to eat more, snacking on high-calorie treats whenever she had a cup of coffee.
She explained: “I would have a coffee and every time would have a snack to accompany it. It’d be things like figs and dates which, although they seem healthy, are calorific.
“Then, I would go to various things with the kids for my job and there would always be biscuits or cake served with the coffee, so I developed a taste for them.
“I felt rubbish. I was not sleeping, and I would get heartburn at night. In my head, I had always felt 27, with lots of energy, but when I was heavier, I felt a lot older.”
Feeling too heavy to go back to the gym, but sick of feeling sluggish, Carole joined a running club just before Christmas 2018 and started doing the couch to 5km programme.
Whilst out pounding the streets, she noticed she was sustaining bruises on her legs due to the extra weight she was carrying.
But, it was not until Christmas Day 2018 that she realised how desperately she needed to change.
“I saw a photo of Mike and I and realised how bad things had got,” said 5ft 6in Carole, whose BMI at her heaviest was 29.5, classing her as overweight.
“I said to Mike, ‘I’m joining WW, and I think you should do it as well’.”
Although reluctant at first, Mike eventually agreed, and in January 2019, the pair joined WW with Christine Fleming, formerly known as Weight Watchers.
Together they used WW’s points-based system to overhaul their diets and cut their portion sizes – as well as heading to weekly weigh-ins every Saturday, which they continue to do to this day.
In the first week alone, Mike lost 11 pounds, then was shedding a stone a month after that.
Meanwhile, by the end of July, Carole had lost four stone.
As their waistlines shrank, the couple noticed their fitness levels increasing, with Mike going from doing just 3,000 steps a day to a minimum of 10,000.
They also go for a stroll together every evening, as well as a longer walk on weekends.
Carole said: “We always had separate interests and it did not bother us that we were different sizes. Nobody ever commented on it.”
She continued: “But now we’re both slimmer it’s brought us closer, we can enjoy being fit and active together.”
Diet-wise, they have ditched the junk food and sugary snacks, and now enjoy fruit, porridge or cereal for breakfast, soup for lunch and a homecooked nutritious dinner like cottage pie with vegetables or fish.
Carole, who now goes running three times a week and has joined a cycling club, concluded: “We are still able to eat what we like, as long as we stick within the points, so we still go out for family meals. I love pasta on a Saturday night, so I will treat myself.”
She added: “Now, I have so much more energy, and finally love going clothes shopping.
“Before, I had three pairs of black tracksuit bottoms and three black tops and I wouldn’t wear anything else. I would end up in tears when trying to shop for party outfits – but not anymore. Now my wardrobe is bursting with colour.
“I feel like me again, I’ve rediscovered myself.”
Mike added: “Carole talks about having rediscovered herself, but I feel like I never knew who I was. I’ve been overweight for 40 years. I really feel like this is a second chance at life for me.
“I’m now 12 and a half stone. My 48in waist has gone down to a 32in and I can wear skinny jeans. My 56in chest is now 42in.
“In October I went to see my brother, and I swear I stood on the doorstep and he did not recognise me. He had to do a second take.”
Mike explained: “I’m so much more active, and not out of breath when I walk up the stairs. It’s so different to be able to shop for stuff that actually fits and not having to pay more for it because it’s larger.
“I used to criticise my kids for being vain and looking at their reflection in shop windows, but now I’m doing that myself. I look in a shop window and do not believe it is me.
“It’s really changed my life.”
Anna Hill, General Manager at WW UK, said: “With the pressure of ‘new year, new you’ ever prevalent, we want people to feel as though they are set-up for the best possible chance of success when it comes to achieving their wellness goals.
“A unique WW insight has revealed that members can lose up to 14 per cent more weight with a friend and this research has shown the great merits in being able to share your journey alongside a trusted support.”
For more information visit WW.com or download the WW app
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