GAZING at a framed photograph of her late mum and dad, Sharon Blakemore knows she has a lot to thank them for.
The super-slimmer lost a staggering 26st — and thanks her much-missed parents for saving her life.
The full-time mother-of-two weighed 38st and wore a size-38 when she promised her parents she would get healthy.
Sharon lost her mum Yvonne to stomach cancer in 2011, aged 56. Tragically, her dad Frank died of the same disease less than 18 months later.
At her heaviest, Sharon, 39, had to buy men’s 8XL clothes. But she was inspired to shift the weight after promising mum Yvonne she would get healthy.
Now barely recognisable, she loves shopping for clothes to fit her size-ten frame.
Sharon, from Crewe, says: “I love the way I feel and look now. Losing the weight is the best thing I ever did.
'THERE'S A LOT MORE ROOM IN THIS BED'
“I feel much healthier. I hope the promise I made my parents has helped me to live a long, healthy life. It’s given me more of a fighting chance than I ever had.”
Sharon’s weight problems began as a child. The mum of Rebecca, 15, and Alex, 14, remembers: “My mum was a children’s nurse and tried for years to help me eat better but I never listened.
"I’d just pinch food out of the cupboards. I’d scoff two pies a day from the age of 15. I’d buy a pack of two meat-and-potato pies on my lunchbreak and eat them both, three or four times a week.
“I’d even put them in sandwiches with a side of chips, or binge on curry and pizza. Breakfast was five rounds of buttered toast.
"I had to buy men’s shirts with a 20in collar for my school uniform. At 18, I weighed 37st 7lb. Men’s sports clothes from Jacamo in 8XL were the only thing that fit.”
Sharon worked in a shop and fell in love with warehouse operative Ian Blakemore in 1999, when she was 20. Four years later, the first of their two children was born.
Sharon says: “I threw myself into motherhood but life came crashing down in September 2010, when Mum was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer.
Our hearts broke. But she was worried about my health. “Mum said, ‘You need to sort yourself out — if not for us, for the kids’ sake’.”
Sharon swore she would get healthy — but four months on from that devastating diagnosis, Yvonne passed on In a year, Sharon lost five stone, ditching pies in favour of healthy meals.
But more heartbreak followed a year later, when her dad got the same diagnosis.
I’d just pinch food out of the cupboards. I’d scoff two pies a day from the age of 15
Sharon says: “It was incredibly sad. Dad said to me, ‘You’ve done well but you promised your mum — you have to carry on’.”
Just two months later, he too died. Sharon says: “After the shock of losing both parents, I never forgot the promise.
“Ian and I always said we’d marry and after my parents left us some money, we did, in 2013. By then I’d dropped 17st to 21st and a size 20.
“At the wedding, we had a video montage of pictures from when we were growing up — pictures of my mum and dad, and some of my kids, too.
“The backing track was If You Could See Me Now by The Script. My brothers gave me away and said in their speeches how proud Mum and Dad would be and how beautiful they’d think I looked.
“When I bought the wedding dress, it was a size 28 or 30. But I kept losing weight and at every fitting they had to take it in more.
Eventually, the women at the fittings told me they couldn’t take the dress in any more than what they already had. It was the first time in my life that someone told me to stop losing weight!
“By the time I walked down the aisle it was a size 22 and I just felt like a princess. Everyone at the wedding said how proud my parents would have been.
"They knew they had kick-started this journey for me. After the wedding, people’s comments spurred me on even more and I decided to walk 12 miles for St Luke’s Hospice in Crewe.
“They had supported us emotionally with the loss of Mum and Dad. So in the run-up to that, the weight dropped off even more.
'BINGE ON CURRY AND PIZZA'
“After our lovely wedding, I added exercise to my routine and lost nine stone over the next five years in a controlled way.
“I hit 12st in January this year. This week, I bought size-ten clothes for the first time. It feels amazing.”
Sharon now plays netball, works out three times a week at Gymophobics and does a weekly Clubbercise dance workout.
She says: “I’ve switched from processed baked goods and takeaways to healthy, home-cooked meals such as omelettes, soups and chicken with vegetables.
“I follow the 5:2 programme, fasting on 500 calories a day for two days a week. I’ve lost more than 67in from my figure all over.
“Doctors told me two stone of my current weight is excess skin but I’m not bothered about having it removed.
"People ask me why not but I’d rather spend the money making memories with my kids than on surgery. Excess skin won’t kill me. Being overweight would have done.
“I’m determined to send an empowering message to my children. I want them to grow up confident and loving themselves.
“My husband has been amazing. He’s supported me all the way. Now he jokes that he’s got a new wife and there’s a lot more room in the bed.
“People who haven’t seen me in years follow me round the supermarket trying to work out if it’s me! The only thing that upsets me is that my parents never saw me make this change.
I am what they wanted me to be but it took them to die for me to get this way. I hope they are somewhere watching over me and are proud of how healthy I’ve become.”
Source: Read Full Article