Woman went from size 34 to 14 after losing almost 12st following decades of obesity

Carole Young struggled with what she called an addiction to food from her early 20s. By the time she reached 62 she could barely walk due to having rheumatoid arthritis which was aggravated by her weight.

She was 27st stone and 1.5lbs when something clicked in her and she decided it was time to change. Now, just over two years later, she is almost 12st lighter and has dropped 11 dress sizes.

"I feel very, very different," Carole, from Swansea, said. "I've lived with [rheumatoid arthritis] since I was 33, and I'm 64 now, so I thought to myself: 'I can't keep going on and on and on and piling on the weight' because I was just killing myself."

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Carole with two women stood in a pair of trousers
Carole and two other women were able to fit into her old size 34 trousers -Credit:Slimming World

Carole joined Slimming World at Swansea.com Stadium on a Monday morning in March 2022 and hasn't missed a class since. Carole also attends an aqua fitness class which has immensely improved her movement and fitness. She said: "I never thought I could possibly do this but I did it. I can't really see how I did it, you know, I just did it. I was determined. I changed. You've got to change your life. You have to. You have to work on your mindset. You have to. It takes time. It's taken a long two years." For the latest health and Covid news, sign up to our newsletter here.

Carole believes her issues with food began when she was 24 and her mother died. She said she turned to food for comfort and developed an appetite that had "no filter".

Carole wearing a white shirt and black trousers
Carole a year into her weight-loss journey -Credit:Slimming World
An old photo of Carole (right)
An old photo of Carole (right) -Credit:Slimming World

Explaining what she used to eat in a day Carole said: "For breakfast I would have Weetabix or honey nut cornflakes and just the size of the bowl – it wasn't a small bowl, it was a mixing bowl. I didn't have a filter – I never felt full. I would have a whole pack of Weetabix."

For lunch Carole would usually eat sandwiches – using half a loaf of bread to make them. She'd have crisps but not just one small pack – either the full multipack or a full tub of Pringles. She would snack on sweets in between and admitted the only fruit she would eat was a banana wrapped in a bread wrap. Dinner would usually be a takeaway or a frozen meal.

Carole wearing a black dress
Carole now wears a size 14 -Credit:Slimming World

"I never looked at myself in the mirror because I hated myself – I just couldn't stop. I don't understand why I was the way I was."

Carole was even considering weight-loss surgery to address the problem before she joined Slimming World. Now her daily diet is much healthier and she starts with a bowl of fruit and yoghurt followed by a salad for lunch and an omelette for dinner. One of the key things she said has helped her on her weight-loss journey is ensuring she eats enough protein.

"Cooking your own food is better because all this frozen food is no good. And everything has got sugar in it – we are addicted to sugar," Carole added.

Carole wanted to share her story to show others who are struggling with their weight what they can achieve. Carole loves supporting the other members in her group – and even took a pair of her old trousers in to share – and she and two other members were able to fit into them.

Shopping has become such a positive experience for Carole since her weight loss and she has had to purchase a whole new wardrobe, but she now has the choice of any shop she wants unlike before when she was restricted to just one or two. "I want to reach out to people, like myself with rheumatoid, feeling the way they are. I do help everybody that I come to meet but there are so many people behind closed doors," she added.