18-year-old Isabelle Kennedy from Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, was just 15 when doctors warned her that if she didn’t lose weight, she’d need to be considered for weight loss surgery. Now 9½st* lighter, Isabelle embraces her new, healthy lifestyle.
“I was only 15 when the doctor sat me down to explain that if I didn’t lose weight naturally, I’d have to undergo gastric bypass surgery – a weight loss procedure that reduces the size of the stomach. At the same time, the doctor also diagnosed me with a form of liver disease, which was worsened by my weight of over 20st.
“I was worried about how this was going to affect my health in the future.
“My weight gain started from a really young age. At just 4-years-old, my mum consulted the family GP about my size. When I started secondary school, I put on 8st. I’d buy crisps and chocolate from the shop and eat them on the way home – my mum was desperately worried but it was my way of coping with everyday life.
“My mum had become a member of our local Slimming World group. After facing the possible reality of surgery, I decided to go with her.
“I was nervous about joining as I expected to be the only young person in the group. However, I was greeted with a really warm welcome and realised everyone’s in the same boat. I’d tried diets previously, but I disliked feeling deprived. Slimming World encouraged me to fill my plate with lots of satisfying foods, which I couldn’t’ believe!
“My day would start with poached eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms on wholemeal toast and for lunch I’d have a jacket potato stuffed with tuna and salad. I loved the fact that I could still enjoy my favourite treats like a fun-size chocolate bar or an ice cream.
“I looked forward to seeing my friends in group on a Tuesday night and everyone was really supportive – during the good and the bad weeks. I got to my target of 11st 3lbs and I was over the moon!
“The biggest thing for me was overcoming my emotional eating. I’d take my dog Millie for a long walk or I’d go for a run after college – it’s a great way to relax after a stressful day. It’s crazy because I used to dread exercise – I’d worry about what I looked like, but not anymore.
“My mum has also been a fantastic support through my journey and together we’ve lost more than 14st.
“Since losing weight, I have reversed my liver disease and have been discharged from hospital which is such an amazing feeling and my doctors are delighted.
“I’ve maintained my weight loss for over five months now, even during my exams, so I’m confident I’ve discovered healthy habits that will stay with me for life. Being crowned Slimming World’s Young Slimmer of the Year is a brilliant bonus, too!”