A 24 year old, 2lb 19 year old grandma who loves baking and has struggled with her weight for 30 years culminating in the loss of her husband to marrow cancer, has lost almost 9th to reach her 10th goal of 6lb size 12 just before turning 60.
Weight first became an issue for retired nurse Christine Burnell, 59, after giving birth to her second daughter in 1987, after which she was unable to change her baby’s weight and continued to yo -yo from sizes 14 to 18 for many years.
When her librarian husband John Burnell died aged 47 in 2007, both of her daughters had left home and the 5ft 4in tall Christine soon found comfort in eating, along with her own health difficulties at the age of 50. , her weight increased to 19 2lb in 2019.
She flirted with the slimming club Weight trackingnow WW, down years but now, with a body mass index (BMI) used to measure healthy weight of 45.7, compared to NHS healthy from 18.5 to 24.9, meaning she was obese, she decided “enough is enough” and went back.
“I said I wouldn’t be fat in 30, wouldn’t be fat in 40, wouldn’t be fat in 50 and I finally got there – before I turned 60 in December!
“Now, nothing is off the agenda. All doors are open.”
Christine, after losing her husband met plumber and electrician, Declan McGuckin, 64, with whom she lives, was surprised she was unable to shift the weight of her child after her youngest daughter. born.
She said: ‘I had my first daughter, right before I turned 21, and the extra weight I put on during pregnancy only disappeared by the time she was six months old.
“I was the thinnest I ever had at the time, around 11 years old and about 14.
“Back then, if I gained weight, I would just fast for a week, eat cereal or eggs, and it would drop right back.
“Four years later, when I had my second daughter, I assumed her weight would disappear again. But it didn’t happen and I went from the 11th to the 13th and stayed there. “
Combined with moving and returning to work as a nurse just three months after her daughter was born, Christine joined Weight Watchers for the first time to try to control her weight.
“Back then, you used to be assigned a target weight, for me it was 9kg 6lb, but I couldn’t get past the 9th 8lb.
“Instead of being satisfied that I did a good job, in my head I thought I had failed and went astray.
“I started eating everything I wasn’t allowed to, frying everything, such as eggs and meat, snacking on chips and chocolate.”
Turning 15, while working full time and raising two young children, Christine’s father, Reg Knight, a mechanic, was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer and died aged 57 in 1989.
“It was a very difficult time,” she said. Everything was so stressful and I would just go on and on with my weight, lose a few pounds, then put it back on.
“I don’t feel good about myself and I avoid appearing in any of the pictures.”
Before long, her unhealthy diet was ingrained.
She said: “I never eat breakfast but at lunch I would stop at the canteen or grab a sandwich or a cake.
“However, it was dinner, that was my downfall, because I lacked self-discipline.
“I always bake cakes or snacks, so there’s always something to snack on.
“I come home from work hungry and eat a sandwich while I prepare dinner, then have a snack while I clean up, before sitting down with a cake or crumbs for the evening.”
Drinking a series of diet foods, such as Diet Coke and lemonade, along with unhealthy snacking, all her efforts to control her weight quickly failed.
“I’m always stressed out and never have time to myself, so I’m stuck in an unhealthy cycle,” she said.
Turning 40, Christine fluctuated between sizes 14 and 18, then in 2004 her world was turned upside down when her husband, John, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer.
“It comes from blue,” she said.
Christine added: “He was not feeling well, went to the doctor and was diagnosed a day before his 45th birthday.
“My oldest is in college and the youngest is doing GCSEs and it has affected all of us.
“One of the small benefits he had in the years before his death in 2007 was that he was on anti-sickness medication and could eat whatever he wanted.
“He liked butter on toast and vegetables fried in butter, so when he passed away, I had a full fridge.”
A size 16 when John was taken from her in January 2007, Christine was left in an empty house, learning to cook for one while adjusting to a completely different life.
She said: “I went from a busy house with John, my eldest and her partner and my other daughter living there to be alone.
“I can eat whatever I want and use butter to make cakes, butter on toast and put in potatoes – everything.”
In 2010, Christine lost a size 14 and started dating again, meeting her partner, Declan, through an online dating site.
As a food geek like her, Christine soon baked and cooked hearty meals like roast dinners, large Bolognaises, Chinese and Indian dishes, as well as keeping busy with her family, after her baby was born. their first child, two girls, was born in 2011.
She said: “Declan is very active and athletic, eats a lot but is still very slim.
“So I ate with him, but didn’t exercise, so I quickly went from the 13th 7lb to the 19th 2lb over the next eight years.”
But in 2013, Christine started developing plantar fasciitis – a pain in the bottom of the foot, heel and arch.
“It was like stepping on something really sharp, through both feet, on both feet,” she said.
“If I had to walk, I would be desperate to get to the end. There is no joy in it.
“It got so bad I couldn’t walk in 2018. I even drove to the corner store, a five-minute walk away.
“If I ran to school and tried to walk, my feet would swell because of the condition, aggravated by my weight.”
She added: “I couldn’t wear shoes for a long time, just flip-flops.”
Leaving nursing and becoming an assistant to a wedding planner in 2015, Christine’s feet have improved physically, but her health problems are far from over and in the spring. In 2018, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia – a long-term condition that causes pain throughout the body.
She said: “I had pain all over my body, my hands, my arms, my back, my neck – easier to say I wasn’t hurt anywhere.
“I was depressed, I felt very, very low.”
By August 2019, when Christine hit her 19th 2lb and wore a size 22/24, she knew she needed to take drastic action and join WW again.
This time, with determination to succeed, she said: “The group of women are lovely and I did a great job, losing 4th 13lb in March 2020, so I’m 15th.
“But then the pandemic hit and I started baking. I found a recipe for a banana, walnut, and chocolate cake that I didn’t like, so I made it for Declan, thinking I wouldn’t like it.
“But I tried a slice and it was so good, I do it every week.”
Back on March 17, 2021, Christine was determined to lose weight for good.
She said: “I was very disappointed in myself for putting it back.
“I started going to live classes and was considered and felt a sense of responsibility.
“I started walking with my lovely friend Diane, hiking and enjoying it.”
The weight started to drop and by April of this year Christine had hit her 10th 8lb goal.
“It was wonderful,” she said. I always say that my children are my greatest achievement but this is only a very close moment.
“I thought it would be difficult to lose weight at this age but it is not. I have friends who are going through menopause who struggle to lose half a pound, but I’ve been losing two to two and a half pounds a week.
“To know that I’ve finally not only lost weight, but begun to feel better mentally and emotionally, is huge.”
With seven grandchildren between her and Declan, she is now able to enjoy running around with them and is active in the community again.
Christine, who plans to wear a gorgeous size 12 outfit to celebrate her 60th at a party in December, said: “I never thought of getting in a car to go to the store right now. hours.
“We are planning to go to France this summer to follow the Tour de France and I will be walking around the whole holiday.
“I can look back and think, ‘It’s a shame I didn’t lose weight all these years ago,’ but there’s no point in beating yourself up.
“You need to live in the present and enjoy what you have and plan for the future. Now if I see something I want to do, I know I can do it.”
* For more information or details on how to join WW, visit www.ww.com/uk.
CHRISTINE’S EAT FIRST
Breakfast – Two slices of rich avocado toast with two hard-boiled eggs and bacon
Lunch – Potato and leek soup with avocado ham sandwich, salad and crisps, followed by pastries for dessert
Dinner – chicken and bacon risotto fried in oil and butter with pepperoni and some butter
Dessert – Crushed fruit and custard apple
Snacks – Crispy French fries
Drinks – White wine for dinner and tea and coffee of the day
CHRISTINE’S DIET NOW
Breakfast – Two slices of toast without filling with two hard-boiled eggs
Lunch – Tuna pasta salad or jacket potato salad with tuna salad, yogurt and fruit dessert
Dinner – Pan-fried salmon with lemon, ginger and soy, with broccoli, carrots, leeks and new potatoes
Dessert – unsweetened fruit yogurt and jelly.
Drinks – water and unsweetened squash juice