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I was too fat to ride my own horse
IT was Shirley Lee’s love of horse riding which ultimately provided her with the inspiration to lose weight.
At 5ft, Shirley weighed 12 stone and three pounds – and feared she was too heavy and unfit to go riding.
Shirley says: “I would be puffed out just clearing out the stables and looking after the horses – let alone ride them. “I would manage about ten minutes on my horse, once a week, before I had to get off because I was so tired. It was upsetting because I love to ride so much.”
It was after falling of her horse and breaking her leg in 2002 that Shirley first started to gain weight.
As a naturally active woman, Shirley continued eating the same food, but was unable to exercise.
She says: “I had always eaten too much and the wrong things, but I had a busy job as a careworker and I rode the horses, so I didn’t gain weight.
“When I couldn’t ride anymore, the weight piled on.”
Shirley tried to curb her appetite and lose weight through fad diets.
Shirley, 53, says: “I tried the Atkins diet and low-calorie plans, but I just could not stick to any of them.
“When I wasn’t on a diet, I ate very badly. I had ready meals every day and lots of sweets and chocolates. Lunch would be a visit to the chip shop when I was really busy.”
Soon, the weight she was carrying had an impact on her health. She says: “I have suffered with asthma since childhood and the extra weight I had put on made it difficult to get through my day as a carer for the elderly.
“I struggled to get people in and out of the bath and generally getting around was hard because I was so tired all the time.”
But it when she became too large to ride her beloved horse Tess that she finally decided enough was enough.
She says: “It made me so sad I couldn’t do the thing I love most. It made me want to improve my health.”
She joined Slimming World in August last year. Shirley discovered a new way of eating which allowed her to lose weight and gave her energy.
Shirley says “Slimming World taught me quick easy meals do not have to be processed food laden with calories and chemicals. I could still eat a lot of food and feel satisfied.”
Shirley now weighs a slender nine stone, ten pounds and her asthma is not holding her back any more. Perhaps most importantly, Shirley can enjoy riding her horse Tess at Valley Forge stables in Hockley.
She has also found she can ditch the baggy shapeless clothes and once again wear nice things and feel proud of what she has achieved when she looked in the mirror.
Shirley is now a Slimming World consultant and relaunched a group on Thursday evenings at 5.30 and 7.30 at Hockley Community Centre, Westminster Drive. Call her on 07962 190869.
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