A mother-of-two lost more than EIGHT stone after she got stuck in a restaurant chair at Disneyland Paris.
At the time of the embarrassing incident Kathy Levick, 39, weighed nearly 20st and was languishing on a four-year waiting list for a gastric band operation. The stinging humiliation of getting stuck in a booth during a family holiday gave her the prompt to forgo the wait and begin losing the weight naturally.
Mrs Levick, a daycare personal assistant, said: “Getting wedged into the seat was horrible.
“Looking around the restaurant I realised I was much larger than everybody else – it was the wake-up call I needed to show me I had to change, and fast.”
Mrs Levick, who has a son, David, 20, and a daughter, Faoileann, 10, struggled with weight gain since childhood.
After having children she joined various slimming clubs but the weight kept piling on instead of coming off. She was later diagnosed with an underactive thyroid.
“I blamed the weight gain on my underactive thyroid – I thought I couldn’t do anything about it.
“I knew I was overweight but it isn’t until you stop and think properly that you see how much you have let yourself go.”
At her heaviest weight Mrs Levick found walking short distances difficult as her knees would ache and she would become breathless easily.
She approached her local GP in 2007 for help, explaining that she had dieted and failed and felt her weight had reached a crisis point.
She said: “I was struggling to do simple everyday tasks like looking after my two children and working full time.”
Her weight problems became starkly apparent during a family holiday to Disneyland in 2008.
She said: “While I was on the plane I found I couldn’t fix my seatbelt – I was humiliated as I had to ask for an extension belt.
“I was so large in the seat I couldn’t even put my food tray down. I had to eat off my daughter’s tray instead of my own.”
Once the family got to the Paris theme park they headed to an American-style diner for lunch, where she tried to squeeze into a fixed booth seat.
After eating her meal she found she was stuck.
She said: “When I tried to get up I found that I was wedged into the seat. I eventually managed to ease myself out and we went to one the other non-fixed seats, but it was horrible.
“Even the turnstiles at the rides proved to be a problem. I couldn’t fit through the spaces everyone was walking through. I couldn’t participate in the way I wanted to.
“I was worried about getting on some of the rides. I didn’t want to get stuck and I was worried about being too heavy for them.
“It made me desperately sad. The trip made me worry about my own health. I began to worry that my weight could kill me. I realised that I had let things go too far.”
Mrs Levick, who had joined slimming club Unifit shortly before heading out on her holiday, redoubled her efforts to eat healthily and exercise.
She said: “I cut out all the rubbish foods and switched over to wholegrain options. My leader Anne Dixon helped a lot.”
She began to exercise more regularly, starting with ten minutes walks. Soon she could walk for half an hour at a time and before long she was walking full laps of her hometown of Arklow in County Wicklow, Ireland.
She said: “After I lost the first four stone I was able to start aerobics too, which I never would have been able to do at my heaviest.”
In 2012 Mrs Levick finally received her appointment letter to speak to a consultant about a gastric band, but by this point she had already lost eight stone.
She said: “I told them, ‘thanks but no thanks’. I knew I could do it on my own. It was a great moment for me.”
Now Mrs Levick weighs 11st 4lbs and her family and children have seen a major difference in her personality.
She said: “They see I’m more outgoing now because I can do a lot more. I’m able to walk everywhere. My son thinks it’s great.”
Before beginning her weight loss, she typically ate a large all-day breakfast sandwich for breakfast, then a steak and kidney pie for lunch. For dinner she would often eat oven chips and chicken and would snack on chocolate bars throughout the day.
Today, she typically eats a porridge with blueberries for her breakfast. For lunch she will have a ham salad sandwich with more fruit. For dinner she now goes for the healthy option of fish with boiled vegetables in smaller portions. If she wants to snack, she will have an orange or banana.
She said: “If I had to wait for the gastric band for four years I think I would have been heavier now, instead of in great shape.”
“I’m happy I had that experience at Disneyland now, as that as well as healthy eating and exercise has helped me lose all this weight and my life is so much better.”
“If I went to Disneyland now I would be able to have a much better time, that’s for sure.”
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