A bun-loving mum lost almost half her body weight after her gym manager rang up and asked why she wasn’t going – and she said she was too embarrassed.
Lisa Parke said she was in a “dark place”, and ballooned to a whopping 18 stone by bingeing on hot cross and Chelsea buns along with buttered toast,
But when she got a call out of the blue from Gary Nicholas, the manager of her gym, who asked why she had not visited his gym for a while, she plucked up the courage to turn her life around.
The phone call prompted the 51-year-old to turn her life around and start dropping weight.
The mother-of-two struggled with her weight from a young age, hitting 9st at nine years old and was unable to be lifted on her 13th birthday.
She says she also bought a size 12 at age 12.
Teaching assistant, Lisa, reached 18st after having “an unhealthy relationship with food” when gym manager Gary told her she faced years of health problems if she did not change her lifestyle in July 2016.
She said: “This would never ever have happened without that phone call. I was in a vicious circle.
“I had a very unhealthy relationship with food. I was eating because I was fed up and I would then starve myself thinking that would work only to find the next fix and put the weight back.
“I was in a a bit of dark place and Gary just said to me your at risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, he was very matter of fact, but it was what I needed to hear.
“I had tried all the diets and would starve myself, so I wasn’t really learning anything about food and how to be healthy.
“Now I have a more healthy relationship with food, I can control it and no food groups are off limits.
“I drink gin and slimline tonic now, but I still enjoy a Prosecco sometimes at the weekend.
“When my GP saw me she didn’t recognise me.”
Lisa’s training plan started with just getting round a 5k run before moving on to daily visits to the gym.
Her sister Paula encouraged her to go to Calso Health and Fitness Club in Bromley, south east London, to speak with Gary.
He said: “One day I asked Paula where Lisa was because I had not seen her in a while. She told me her sister was not in a good place.
“I told her I would ring. We had a good chat. I told Lisa if she was willing to give 100 per cent I would give 100 per cent back.
“She did a couple of one to ones and the rest is history.”
Since then Lisa has attended her one to one every single week – only now she adds more classes and 10k runs into the mix.
At the start of the journey, Gary made Lisa update Facebook each week on how much weight she had lost.
Lisa from Beckenham, south east London, said: “That was the hardest thing I had to do in my life. The comments and the likes and the encouragement I got from it was unbelievable.
“My friends and family are so proud of me. It has inspired by husband who has arthritis to join the gym and seven of my friends have joined Calso Slimming and Shape up Club (launched by Gary this year).
“I am finally happy with myself. That makes me proud. It is all down to that phone call.
“It is hard to believe I have actually done this. It has been a lifelong struggle of mine. Going into a shop and buying a size ten is incredible. This is not something I have experienced before.”