I lost nine stone after breaking a church pew!

I lost nine stone after breaking a church pew!

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Karen Dawson headshot


Funeral crasher! A mother-of-three lost NINE stone after a church pew broke under her weight at a memorial service.

By Helen O’Brien Google

Tipping the scales at a whopping 26st 13lbs, Karen Dawson, 40, was morbidly obese and had ballooned to a colossal size 38 when she attended her mother-in-law’s funeral.

Mrs Dawson, a customer services advisor, was mortified when the wooden church pew split underneath her as she sat down for the service.

Embarrassed, she vowed to change and, by swapping greasy takeaways for salads and lean meat, the super-slimmer lost a staggering 8st 12lbs.

Nine stone weight loss before
Karen before nine stone weight loss

Mrs Dawson, from Rhondda, south Wales, said: “It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. As soon as the bench cracked underneath me, I knew my weight was a problem.

“After a year of dieting I now feel so much more confident about myself and I’m no longer terrified of breaking any chairs I sit on.

“My big fat funeral shame was excruciating but it was the kick start I needed to ditch the dead weight.”

Mrs Dawson began struggling with weight gain after moving out of her parents’ house shortly after she turned 18.

Away from the watchful eye of her health-conscious mother, Mrs Dawson was able to munch on sweets, crisps and other fatty snacks.

As an adult, she liked nothing better than spending a sedentary evening in with her husband Warren, 48, a British Airways worker.

After giving birth to three children MacKenzie, 7, Jaxon, 3 and Dexter, 2, Mrs Dawson weighed in at nearly 27 stone.

She said: “I ate what I wanted, whenever I wanted it, and I ate until I was really big. I thought nothing of what I was doing to my body – I was perfectly happy.

“Wherever I went I could see people staring at me and nudging each other.

“I would shrug it off though, I was always the fat jolly one and I used to make fun of myself – but I wasn’t happy.”

Mrs Dawson’s weight led her to experience a series of increasingly embarrassing situations.

She was refused entry to a pub on the grounds that she was ‘too fat’ and she once got stuck in a turnstile at a football stadium.

Mrs Dawson said: “I tried to get into a local bar when I was overweight, and man on the door told me I couldn’t come in because of my size. He simply said I was too fat.

“I was so shocked I just walked away. I didn’t know what to say.

“I went to a football match with my husband, and I was too big to go through the turnstile. Warren had to literally push me through the gap.”

Mrs Dawson also broke numerous office chairs due to her hulking frame.

She said: “Whenever I was out for dinner I had to ask for the restaurant not to seat me in a booth as I would squeeze into the space.

“If my husband and I went for a coffee I always had to look through the window to check that they didn’t have fixed seats.

Karen, after nine stone weight loss

“I also applied for a job at a supermarket who told me not to bother having an interview as they would never find a uniform which fitted me.”

In January 2011, while attending the funeral of her mother-in-law Lynne, Mrs Dawson sat on a church pew only to have it split beneath her.

She said: “I sat down and my bulk split the entire wooden pew. I was mortified.

“I didn’t break enough so that everyone fell off, but I was terrified that it would completely give way during the funeral.

“As we watched the coffin being lowered, I wanted the ground to swallow me up. As soon as the funeral ended I got out of there as quick as I could – I was really ashamed.”

Mrs Dawson joined her local Slimming World group Llantwit Fardre in Church Village and, for the first time in her adult life, started paying close attention to what she ate.

Before her dramatic weight loss Mrs Dawson would eat nothing for breakfast, have an egg mayonnaise sandwich with crisps and sweets for lunch and an Indian takeaway for dinner consisting of a chicken korma, rice, chips and onion bhajis. Throughout the day she would snack on sweets, chocolate, biscuits and crisps.

Today, she eats Slimming World scan bran for breakfast, homemade vegetable soup for lunch and a chilli con carne made with extra-lean mince served with potatoes cooked in low-fat frying oven.

In just 12 months she has managed to shed more than eight stone and has dropped down eight dress sizes. She now weighs 18st 1lb.

She said: “I still want to lose a lot more, but this last year had made a huge difference to my life.

“I can get down on the floor and play with my kids now and I feel confident enough to take them out at weekends. I was able to go to my son’s nativity play, I was too embarrassed to go last year. I was on the front row this year.

“People used to stare at me because of my size, now no one bats an eyelid.”

Karen before and after losing nine stone with Slimming World

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