BARBARA WILLIAMS, CANDELO, NSW
“Despite being large my whole life, I didn’t realise how overweight I was until I saw a photo of myself in my local paper. I am a dementia adviser, and the paper was promoting Dementia Awareness Week. Being obese increases your risk of dementia, and I started to realise how hypocritical it was for me to advise others being the size I was. I bought some scales and was shocked to see I weighed 143.3 kilos.
“I joined Weight Watchers in 2007 and took up walking. In 2009, I reached my goal weight of 75 kilos. I felt like a totally new person.
“I wanted to create a new life for myself, so I enrolled in a social work degree and had a full-body health check. My mammogram results indicated I needed to go for the next level of screening.
“I had a tumour far back in my left breast. It was so small and well hidden that the specialist said if I hadn’t lost the weight it was possible the mammogram wouldn’t have picked up on it.
“I recovered quickly from chemotherapy and radiotherapy, another testament to my new healthier body.
“If I hadn’t lost the weight, I wouldn’t have gone for a health check. Losing weight has definitely prolonged my life in many ways and I feel incredibly lucky.”