Sonja I’Anson, 42, had always struggled with her weight, but after a series of health scares she realised that she needed to change her food habits so that she could live a healthier life, and have a baby.
“I had a really unhealthy relationship with food, I hated cooking so I would order a takeaway most nights and I didn’t know how to make healthy life choices,” said Sonja, from Cudworth.
“I was in complete denial about my clothes size, I used to fasten my jeans with a hair bobble and I would always order clothes online so that I didn’t have to go to the shops to try on clothes.
“I was always known as the ‘bubbly’ friend, I think because of my weight. But I was really self-conscious and I wasn’t comfortable at all. I would often avoid going out with my friends so that I didn’t have to go out.”
Sonja realised she needed to lose weight when she suffered what she thought was a heart attack, and how her weight dramatically reduced her changes of having a baby.
“I was sat in the back of the ambulance after my ‘heart attack’ and I remember asking the ambulance crew if it could be because of my weight and they replied that it was a factor. Luckily it was only a pulled muscle in my chest but it really gave me a wake-up call.
“I knew I wanted to have a baby, and I knew with my age there are risks so I decided to lose weight to give me a better chance of carrying a baby.”
Sonja joined Slimming World after trying a series of ‘fad’ diets which left her feeling unwell.
“I tried a milkshake diet for a while which did make me lose weight, but I was fainting all the time because the milkshakes didn’t contain enough calories. I eventually realised that I needed to completely change my habits around food instead of starving myself to get quick results.”
During her first nine months on the programme, Sonja lost four-and-a-half stones which helped her to conceive her son, Albert, now five.
“I felt absolutely amazing when I found out I was pregnant,” said Sonja. “I had wanted children for the longest time and I knew I wanted to be one of those parents who could run around and play with them so it was a really great feeling on top of the weight loss.”
Now Sonja is helping other people to reach their target weight in her role as a Slimming World consultant.
“I love running my groups because I have been in my members’ shoes and I know how it feels and we are all like a family because we support each other. I can fit my work around caring for my son.
“If I didn’t lose weight, I wouldn’t have the confidence I do now, and I wouldn’t have Albert. I never knew that losing weight could start me on the path to a new career but I am so thankful it has because I would be miserable if I hadn’t lost the weight.”