A mother-of-two avoided having to undergo serious heart surgery by losing eight-and-a-half stone in just 15 months.
Laura Parkinson, 36, of Wharf Street, Warwick, realised she needed to lose weight after being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, a heart condition which causes an irregular heart rate, two years ago.
Losing the weight has made such a huge difference – it’s changed my lifeLaura Parkinson
Mrs Parkinson now weighs 13st 4lbs, the lightest she has weighed in her adult life, and was named Woman of the Year at her weight-loss club.
She said: “Losing the weight has made such a huge difference – it’s changed my life.
“I’ve got so much more energy and I can do things now that I couldn’t before.
“More importantly the weight loss has improved my heart problems massively - I no longer need blood pressure medication and I’m hopeful that I might be able stop taking the tablets.
“My cardiologist said to me at my last appointment: ‘Keep at the weight loss and you’ll be a different person next time I see you.’
“Throughout my journey I’ve never quite been able to believe that the thing that I’ve wanted all my life is actually happening and that I could achieve all that I have.”
Before her weight loss, she was told by doctors she would have to take medication for the rest of her life and that heart surgery may be needed to correct her heartbeat.
Mrs Parkinson weighed 21st 11lbs at her heaviest - a result of her habit of comfort-eating as a way to make herself feel better.
The birth of her two sons also contributed to her weight.
After unsuccessfully trying to lose weight on her own, Mrs Parkinson joined weight-loss club Slimming World at the Nelson Club in Warwick last year which enabled her to lose the weight and keep it off, preventing the need for risky surgery.
Angie Baker, who runs the group at the Nelson Club, was full of praise for Mrs Parkinson’s achievements.
She said: “I’m so proud of Laura.
“Not only does she look fabulous, she’s improved her health and is bursting with energy.
“She’s a huge inspiration to everyone in our group and I hope she inspires other women in Warwick to change their lives in the same way.
“It can be hard to admit that you need to do something about your weight and to ask for help, but Laura shows just what’s possible when you do.
“She says that if she can do it, anyone can and that’s certainly true!”
A new Saturday session run by Angie will start at 8:30am on September 5 at Emscote Infant School.