A nurse has seen an incredible 7st (44kg) weight loss after her size 22 frame started making it difficult for her to make it through her gruelling 12 hour shifts.
At her heaviest, Sarah Wynter, 40, weighed 17st (108kg) and having witnessed first hand the devastating impact COVID had on overweight people, the intensive care nurse decided she needed to make a change.
"Working as an NHS nurse is intense both mentally and physically," the mum-of-two from Hereford explains.
"I was wearing size 2XL scrubs and would leave each shift on my knees – totally and utterly exhausted.
"My body ached all over from being on my feet all day, I had severe joint pain and I’d be breathless from running around."
Her size also impacted the effects of the personal protective equipment (PPE) she had to wear during the pandemic.
"It [the PPE] was so hot that I’d sweat profusely and would have to change my scrubs whenever I went for a break," she adds.
But it was future health concerns that really inspired Wynter into taking action.
"Working in intensive therapy unit (ITU) during the COVID-19 pandemic was a scary time and my thoughts often turned to how well I’d be able to fight off the virus if I did catch it," she explains.
"I knew that obesity was a contributing factor for many people who struggled with coronavirus, so it was a constant worry for me."
The real turning point came after her size caused Wynter to suffer an embarrassing mishap at work.
"We received some new hazmat suits for the Intensive Care Unit," she recalls of the experience. "The box was marked ‘one size’ which instantly worried me.
"I did manage to get the suit on, but the first time I bent over it ripped from my neck down to my bottom. I laughed it off with everyone else in the room but inside I was mortified."
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Having joined Slimming World just before the first lockdown. and with future health concerns acting as motivation, Wynter felt inspired to keep going.
The mum-of-two, who lives with husband John, 49, a farmer, and their children Alfie, 18, and Maisey, 14, began losing weight steadily.
She is now a trim size 10 and has been able to swap her XXL nursing uniform for a small.
"I'd tried every diet you could think of – soups, shakes, calorie counting… they’d all work for a while, but I’d soon lose motivation and end up regaining any weight I’d lost," she says of her life pre-weight loss.
"After a lifetime of restrictive diets, I couldn’t believe that I’d be able to lose weight without going hungry," she continues.
"I always thought I needed to snack on sugary treats to keep my energy levels up on long shifts, I soon found that filling up on healthy meals kept me well fuelled throughout the day though and I started to feel in control of my eating habits even during stressful shifts."
Her weight loss had an impact on her energy levels too.
"Before I lost weight I was pretty inactive," she explains. "I’d be exhausted after a 12.5 hour shift, so walking the dog to the end of the road was about all I could manage."
But reducing her size helped her uncover a new lease of life with Wynter taking up walking in the hills near her home.
"I live in the countryside, so walking in the hills soon became a bit of an escape for me," she explains.
"I built it up gradually at my own pace by walking just a little bit further every time I went out. Now I love nothing more than a hike in the Brecon Beacons.
"I’ve even completed a couple of charity challenges and would love to climb Kilimanjaro next year."
As well as having an incredible impact on her own life, Wynter says her transformation has positively impacted those close to her.
"I’m the best version of myself for me and my family too and I’m the best version of myself for my patients," she explains.
"I’m living my best life and that’s an incredible feeling."
Additional reporting SWNS.