28st of grief

Cather­ine Bas­sett, 30, from Llanelli, ate for com­fort – un­til she got a wake-up call

Pick Me Up! - - CONTENTS -

When­ever I felt de­pressed or emo­tional, I stuffed my face

Look­ing at the ul­tra­sound screen, my heart thumped.

A lump rose in my throat, my eyes brimmed with tears. I’d re­mem­ber this mo­ment for­ever.

But this was not a mem­ory that I’d trea­sure.

It was May 2013, I was 27 weeks preg­nant. But I’d just lost my baby girl.

My body shook as I sobbed, and my part­ner Alex, 26, gripped my hand si­lently.

He didn’t speak. What could he say?

We couldn’t talk of the baby out­fits we’d bought that wouldn’t be worn.

I’d had a mis­car­riage, but still had a fu­neral for our baby Scar­lett on 30 May 2013.

The pain was so in­tense, it took my breath away.

But be­fore I’d even had a chance to grieve, six weeks on I found I was preg­nant again.

I was over­joyed but filled with anx­i­ety, too.

What if it hap­pens again? ‘Ev­ery­thing will be OK,’ Alex said, re­as­sur­ing me.

But would it be OK? Or would I end up mourn­ing an­other baby?

I al­ready had one beau­ti­ful lit­tle girl, Lily – who’d ar­rived safely back in May 2011. But now I was ter­ri­fied. Food had al­ways been my com­fort. And when­ever I felt de­pressed or emo­tional, I stuffed my face. Take­aways, crisps, cho­co­late. My once- trim, size-12 fig­ure had van­ished un­der a layer of fat.

And now I was scoff­ing again. Couldn’t stop my­self.

It was as though there was a Scar­lett-shaped hole in­side me that I was try­ing to fill. I daren’t think about the pain of my loss. So I kept numb­ing my hurt with food.

By the time I gave birth to lit­tle Lexi in April 2014, the size I’d been when I’d met Alex was a dis­tant mem­ory.

The thing is, although I wasn’t run­ning from my pain any more, my com­fort eat­ing had now be­come a habit.

And one that I found I couldn’t eas­ily break.

Not that I was one for try­ing to diet. Even when I hit size-26, and strug­gled to make it to the kitchen, I’d get Alex to do my bid­ding.

‘I could kill for a jam tart!’ I’d say. ‘Nip to the shops for me?’

It was only round the cor­ner, but the only ex­er­cise I did was bend­ing down to put chicken nuggets in the oven.

When Alex and I tied the knot in July 2016, I weighed a mas­sive 28st 7lb.

‘You look beau­ti­ful,’ Alex kept say­ing to me.

But, in my strap­less dress, I felt like a sausage fit to burst out of its skin.

The crunch fi­nally came that Au­gust, when I took the kids to a lo­cal fun­fair.

Clam­ber­ing into a ride with them, the at­ten­dant couldn’t close the bar over my huge tum.

‘Sorry, it’s too dan­ger­ous,’ they told me.

I was mor­ti­fied. And, as I watched the kids squeal with ex­cite­ment on the ride, I made a vow, then and there. I’m go­ing to lose weight. I grad­u­ally cut out all of the snacks.

Started walk­ing with Alex and the kids.

It was tough. Some­times I’d be drip­ping with sweat

– and that was just walk­ing to the shops.

Soon, though,

I was walk­ing for up to an hour, maybe two.

By May 2017, I’d lost a mas­sive 10st.

I was 29 and weighed 18st, was a size-20.

But I’d started to wa­ver.

I’ve lost all this weight, surely I de­serve a treat now? I was in de­nial.

That was, un­til I had a rou­tine ap­point­ment at the op­ti­cians later that month.

They found a shadow at the back of my eyes.

‘You need to see your GP im­me­di­ately,’ they said.

I got an emer­gency ap­point­ment. They did ECG scans, I had blood tests...

‘Are you an al­co­holic?’ the GP asked se­ri­ously, look­ing through my re­sults. ‘N-no,’ I stut­tered.

He told me that my fat was dam­ag­ing my liver.

The shadow on my eyes had

ap­peared as a warn­ing sign.

My liver was so dam­aged, they’d thought I had a drink prob­lem. I was mor­ti­fied! ‘You need to lose weight,’ the GP said. ‘Oth­er­wise, you won’t live to see your 30th birth­day.’ I felt numb. What have I done? My GP gave me a strict diet and ex­er­cise plan.

He ar­ranged for me to have weekly weigh-in ses­sions.

‘Your liver can re­pair it­self – if you lose weight,’ he said.

‘If you don’t fol­low the plans, your liver will fail,’

He wanted me to get down to a size -14 by Christ­mas.

But that was only seven months away.

Back in the car, I thought about giv­ing up.

What’s the point? I’m go­ing to die any­way…

But, as I thought about my lovely hus­band and two pre­cious girls, tears streamed down my face.

I knew very well the pain of los­ing a loved one.

‘I’m so sorry,’ I sniffed to Alex when I got home.

‘We’re in this to­gether,’ he said to me en­cour­ag­ingly.

Dry­ing my tears, I chucked out all the junk food. ‘We’re go­ing shop­ping!’ I told Alex.

At the su­per­mar­ket I filled my trol­ley with fruit and veg­eta­bles.

For a whole week I ate only sal­ads and kept a food di­ary.

And at my first weighin, I was

8lb lighter!

Slowly but surely, the weight melted off.

I started walk­ing again, some­times for four hours at a time! I was in agony, but I just kept think­ing of the kids.

I will be there to see them grow up, I told my­self with ev­ery step that I took.

In the morn­ing, I ate bran flakes for en­ergy.

I’d set off on a walk, then come back for jacket potato and beans for lunch.

And then I’d have tasty home­made spaghetti dish or curry for din­ner.

I snacked on fruit and ce­real bars and I felt full of en­ergy.

I stopped feel­ing so slug­gish, and be­gan to feel so pos­i­tive. And I was down to 13st! The doc­tor called me on 3 De­cem­ber, with the fi­nal re­sults of my liver tests…

‘Your liver is back to nor­mal,’ he told me.

When I hung up, I screamed in de­light and swung the kids round for the first time.

Lift­ing them up, I felt as if I’d won a gold medal.

But I wasn’t fin­ished yet… I

had my 30th birth­day com­ing up in five months.

And, in­stead of plan­ning my fu­neral,

I was plan­ning a party!

I was de­ter­mined to be a healthy weight.

So I started go­ing to the gym – did weights to tone up my belly and arms.

By this May,

I was a trim size-10 and weighed 9st 13lb.

I felt in­cred­i­ble in a short, sum­mer dress and heels at my party.

This sum­mer, we went on a fam­ily hol­i­day to Malaga.

And I wore a bikini for the first time ever!

Look­ing back,

I know it was los­ing Scar­lett that made me eat so badly.

You never get over los­ing a child, but I’ve found peace with it now.

And I’m fi­nally at peace with my­self.

I’m not go­ing to risk los­ing that ever again.

I’ll be here for my hubby and girls now

Eas­ing my agony…

FLAB… …to FAB!

With my lovely Lily, at my big­gest

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