A WOMAN whose ‘unhealthy relationship’ with food could have cost her her life, now helps others to lose weight after she lost more than six stone.

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.”