Lifestyle

Woman uses Boris Johnson as motivation to lose half her body weight and avoid Covid death


Emma before and now (Picture: Emma Forrest-Leigh / SWNS.COM)

An obese mum lost half her body weight after hearing she’d be more likely to die if she got Covid-19.

Emma Forrest-Leigh, 46, weighed 18 stone and was a size 22 when the pandemic hit. She was terrified when she realised her weight made her very vulnerable to coronavirus.

Determined, Emma watched Boris Johnson’ government daily virus updates to ‘scare’ her to keep on track and stay away from wine, meat, and sweets.

Over the last six months she has shed 9 stone and is now a size 10.

Emma, a jeweller from North Kesteven, Lincolnshire, said: ‘I’ve got two small children, I’m in my 40s now and I thought I need to sort my health – losing weight was completely for health reasons, not for vanity.

‘When the pandemic broke and the message was coming out about weight and everything, it made me think I need to stick with losing weight and really knuckle down.

‘I was starting to read the articles that said my weight would make me more likely to get seriously ill from coronavirus and it was really scary, especially as a mother.

‘I made sure to watch the updates every day as it was a really stark reminder about the obesity level and why I was losing this weight in the first place.

‘The daily updates helped to keep me motivated, seeing how health is a major priority for everybody at the moment.’

Emma used Boris’ news briefings to stay motivated (Picture: Emma Forrest-Leigh / SWNS.COM)

Emma realised that she needed to lose weight after her husband suffered a serious stroke in 2016, but struggled to stick to any diet.

Busy at work, Emma would live on snacks that were easy to grab, reaching for chocolate biscuits and diving into bags of Haribo sweets whenever she felt hungry.

Determined to make a change, Emma cut sweets out of her life and ditched booze completely, sticking to three meals a day without any snacks.

Her plate is still as full as before but large portions of vegetables have replaced chips and she has completely cut meat out of her diet.

Working from home next to the fridge proved to be a challenge, but Emma stayed strong.

Emma said: ‘I was making the kids lunch and dinner regularly so it was really tempting to pick at their meals when preparing them. I found that really hard but I was determined.’

She cut out junk food, alcohol and meats (Picture: Emma Forrest-Leigh / SWNS.COM)

After a few months, Emma bought a bike and started getting up at 5.30am every weekend to cycle for an hour so she didn’t miss time with her sons, aged five and 10.

Emma said: ‘I’ve got two small children and I need to be there for them, that’s all I care about really.

‘My aim was to get into a healthy BMI range which I’ve just got into now and I think I could probably lose a little bit more weight still and then my job will be to maintain it.

‘I feel like I can do things with the kids now and we can go on longer walks. My bike rides have been really good for my mental health as well as physical health too.

‘During lockdown, I taught them an awful lot about cooking which is something I’d never really be interested in before so I feel really proud in that respect.’

Emma doesn’t plan to pick up alcohol again (Picture: Emma Forrest-Leigh / SWNS.COM)

Since she gave up on alcohol and hasn’t missed it, Emma says she won’t be picking it up again.

Emma added: ‘My husband is really proud of me – we’ve been together 16 years and so many times, I’ve said I’m going to do it and then lose half a stone and stop.

‘Every time, he’d support me and although he never says it, I’m sure he must think “oh here we go again” but this time I’ve actually done it so I think it’s probably shocked him a little bit!’

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