Mildenhall mother who feared early death nominated for national slimming award after miraculous 17st weight loss

PUBLISHED: 11:07 16 May 2014 | UPDATED: 11:07 16 May 2014

Lesley Richardson after the weight loss.

Lesley Richardson after the weight loss.

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A mother of seven who transformed her life by losing almost 17st has reached the finals of a national slimming competition for the second straight year.

Lesley before the weight loss. Lesley before the weight loss.

A mother of seven who transformed her life by losing almost 17st has reached the finals of a national slimming competition for the second straight year.

Less than three years ago Lesley Richardson, of Mildenhall, weighed more than 27st and feared she would not live long enough to see her children grow up.

But, since joining the Mildenhall Slimming World group, the 41 year-old has lost 16st 10½lbs.

Her efforts have not gone unnoticed - last year she came ninth in Slimming World’s Greatest Loser competition, which recognises the achievements of members who have lost the most weight across the UK and Ireland.

This year she did even better, coming seventh in the prestigious competition.

Mrs Richardson said: “To be blunt, I think that if I hadn’t done something about my weight when I did it wouldn’t have been long until I’d have become housebound or, worse, been in a box six-feet down.

“I started to think that surgery was the only way I was ever going to lose weight because nothing worked for me and I didn’t want to just get bigger and bigger, which was what I was facing.

“I had a two-year-old and I knew that if I didn’t do something I wasn’t going to be alive to see her as a teenager. I wanted to be a better mum to all of my children, to be able to play and run around with them instead of just sitting on the sofa.”

Terrified at the idea of weight-loss surgery, Mrs Richardson’s husband Mike and family friend Lou, a member of the Mildenhall group, begged her to try Slimming World instead.

The results have been astounding - she has gone from a dress size 32 to a 10 and now goes for regular runs.

Her weight loss has enabled her to do a parachute jump and she is gearing up for an 11 and a half mile charity walk in September.

“Walking through the doors of the group was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I was scared people would stare at me but now I just wish I’d done it years ago. I soon realised we were all just a group of people trying to do the same thing – lose weight and change our lives – and I’ve made so many friends.

“At Slimming World you receive an award for every half stone you lose and that’s helped me to focus and push for the next goal. My family and friends have all been tracking my progress along the way too, they’ve been a big support and my kids always tell their friends how proud they are of me.

“My life has changed beyond recognition. The best thing is that my kids have got their mum back, they don’t need to worry about me anymore and I’m looking after them instead of them caring for me. That’s the best feeling in the world.”

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