Mum shed a whopping 11 stone after she almost killed her daughter in a head-on crash – because she was too fat to stay awake behind the wheel.
Jeannette Hunnisett tipped the scales at more than 23 stone when she drifted off whilst driving with her five-year-old daughter and brother, causing her car to veer into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
Her quick-thinking brother, Jamie, managed to grab the wheel and steer the car out of harm’s way before Jeannette regained consciousness.
But the near-miss pushed the 23-and-a-half stone mum to turn her life around – and be a better mother to her now six-year-old daughter Daisy.
The 45-year-old said: “It took almost killing my daughter, my brother and myself to finally make the changes.
“I had always been overweight before then – since I was a teenager – and I’d made lots of bad choices.
“I had always lied to myself and said it wasn’t a problem, or that I didn’t know why I was overweight.
“I was living a delusional life – there was no excuse I hadn’t given for my weight.
“But the incident made me realise something had to give – I want a better life for my daughter.
“I didn’t want her to not have a mummy in 20 years, and now I can be.”
Married Jeannette said sleep apnoea caused by her obesity meant she was constantly tired and resulted in her falling asleep at the wheel.
Sleep apnoea causes the walls of the throat to relax and narrow while sleeping, and has been linked to obesity as people who are overweight have extra tissue in the back of their throat.
The legal secretary from Wallington, Surrey, said the near-miss, which happened as the family travelled home from visiting Daisy’s grandparents, had proved to be a turning point – pushing her to lose half her bodyweight.
She added: “I really regret not doing it sooner, if I could go back 20 years and change my life, I would.
“I couldn’t do anything before – go on holiday, take my daughter out to the park or to theme parks – and now we do all those things.
“It was all down to my diet, I had a complete disregard for what it was doing to me health-wise.
“Not long before the accident, I had loads of mouth ulcers, I felt ill all the time, and even that wasn’t enough to make me address the problem.
“I’d done all the diets and never stuck to them because of my mind-set.
“The fact that I could have killed myself, my brother, my daughter and the people in the other car was the biggest wake up call I could have had.
“The next day, I joined Slimming World.”
Jeannette no longer has Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol or sleep apnoea, and enjoys taking her daughter all over the country to theme parks – something she would never have done before.
She said the changes she has made to her lifestyle aren’t huge, but come down to eating in moderation and walking more.
Jeannette said: “Slimming World is such an easy diet to follow – it’s the best one to do, and I’d tried pretty much all of them.
“Nothing it banned, and I can still eat a kebab now and then, I just know I have to reign it in somewhere else.
“It’s a different way of looking at eating.
“I’ve only been exercising for six months, because I didn’t feel like I could before then.
“I started off with a walking group with my friends from Slimming World, and then caught the exercise bug.
“We go to boot camps in the park, and now I walk eight to 10 miles a day – before, I would’ve driven or got public transport everywhere.
“I’ve got my husband to lose weight too.
“He didn’t think I’d stick to my diet at the beginning because he’d seen me try and fail before, but the weight started coming off really quickly.
“I told him he needed to lose weight, which was hard to tell him, but now he’s lost two-and-a-half stone.
“I wanted to lose weight for my daughter, so she had in a mum in 20 years, and I wanted to make sure she had a dad too.”
Stephanie Lawson, group leader at Slimming World’s Carshalton branch, said: “She has always been quite confident but, especially since she lost the weight, her energy has been amazing.
“She never lets her accomplishment, which is one of the best we have seen, get in the way of spurring on others to do well.
“She’s very modest about it.”