A mother-of-eight lost nearly five stone through dieting and exercise – despite breaking her NECK.
Cheryl West, 43, was depressed and felt in a rut after a road collision in December 2012 shattered a disc in her neck, leaving her in constant pain which required her to take liquid morphine every two hours.
Convinced she would never live a healthy, active life again, Miss West saw her weight pile on until she was almost 13 stone and wearing size 16 clothing.
But after a year spent in a ‘long dark tunnel’, Miss West decided to contact a fitness and weight loss consultant who helped her slim down to the eight stone weight and size six dress size she is today.
Miss West, a full-time mother of Manchester, is now almost completely pain-free following her dramatic turnaround.
She said: “I used to enjoy going to the gym but after I broke my neck everything fell to pieces. I felt I was in the corner of a dark room, with no way out.
“The fact I managed to make a change is proof that life can go on after a serious injury.”
Miss West, who is mother to Chloe, 7, Jayden, 5, and Oliver 2, and five more children who are now adults, was riding as a passenger in a car being driven by her partner Michael Morten, 45, a delivery driver, when a vehicle pulled out in front of them.
She said: “Michael slammed his brakes on and I hit the dashboard.
“I suffered excruciating pain afterwards but doctor after doctor told me it was whiplash. I finished up on liquid morphine. I didn’t sit in a chair for five months – in fact the only way I could get comfortable was to get onto all fours.”
After four months of repeated appointments, Miss West eventually had a MRI scan in April 2013 which revealed that one of the discs separating the vertebrae in her neck had been shattered.
She had an operation shortly after the diagnosis but was left with high levels of pain.
She said: “I’ve had eight children and the pain I was experiencing was was much worse than childbirth. I couldn’t even sit down.
“The only defence for me was to wrap myself up in cotton wool. It was easier to stay at home eating comfort food than heading outside, where I was worried I would be hurt again.
“I became extremely depressed and fell into a deep rut. I believed my old life had disappeared forever when I was injured. I bought oversized clothes to hide away behind.
“Finally I got fed up looking in the mirror and seeing what I saw. At the start of 2014 I decided to contact Sindy Matthews, a weight loss consultant I’d known for a few years, to see whether she had any suggestions.”
Miss West was put on a special detox diet and encouraged to commit to short daily sessions of high intensity interval training.
Despite struggling with pain at first, Miss West was amazed to witness her health improving and discomfort dissipating as the weeks went by.
She said: “Within a few weeks I started seeing definite results, which was a huge motivator. I noticed I was losing inches and that the pain from my neck was starting to go.
“Since I’ve been doing this I’ve been getting practically no pain at all. My fitness levels and health have improved enormously.
“It’s become much easier handling family life. When you’ve got a two-year-old running around at home all day, you need every ounce of fitness you can get.”
Before starting her fitness regime, Miss West typically ate toast with jam or a full fry-up for breakfast, followed by bacon sandwiches or a chip butty for lunch, and a pepperoni pizza with homemade chips for an evening meal. She would snack on jaffa cakes with tea throughout the day.
Today she eats smoked salmon and courgette pancakes with spinach for breakfast, followed by herb meatballs with spicy tomato sauce and salad for lunch, and brown rice kedgeree with haddock and sweet potato chips for evening meal. She now avoids snacking.
She said: “Becoming satisfied with myself again finally revealed the light at the end of the long, dark tunnel I was in. Now my advice to other people is: if you’re unhappy with yourself – change. I’m proof it can be done.
“If you have a serious injury, it doesn’t mean your life is over. Life is still out there, but you’ve got to want to go out and get it.”
For more information on the weight loss programme Miss West followed, visit www.kickstartfatloss.net.
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