AGED just 11, Kim Freshwater was so overweight she wore a ladies size 16 clothes.
At her heaviest, the mum of three tipped the scales at 29st and was so big she couldn’t even attend her uncle’s funeral because she couldn’t walk from the church to the grave side.
It was the final straw for Kim, from Nutwick Gardens, Havant, and she sought the help of her doctor who prescribed her 12 weeks worth of vouchers for a slimming club.
It changed her life and two years on Kim has lost 16st – more than half her body weight.
She said: ‘After my uncle’s funeral, I felt I’d let my family down because I wasn’t there to support them and I was so upset I couldn’t sleep.
‘I went downstairs to watch television and there was a programme on about obese funerals, showing how obese people need special coffins and how difficult it is to cremate their bodies.
‘It was as if someone was trying to tell me something. I didn’t ever want to put my family through that.’
Kim’s weight problems began at primary school and at just 11 she wore an adult’s size 14-16.
Then in her teens Kim’s dad died and she turned to food for comfort, which saw her put on more weight.
She ended up with high blood pressure, breathing problems and severe back pain which meant she had to walk with a stick, climb stairs on all-fours, and couldn’t stand to cook, iron or do the washing up.
She said: ‘When my dad died my eating became out of control.
‘He’d always been my best friend and I suppose I used food to fill the hole he left.
‘As I got older, people would always say how pretty I’d be if I lost weight and I did try, but the diets I did were only ever quick fixes – I’d regain all the weight I lost as soon as I stopped.’
It was a hard slog but with the support of husband Lee, 53, and children Emma, David and Matthew, Kim changed her eating habits from one large meal a day to three healthy homemade meals.
In the first 12 weeks she lost 3st 2lb and now she’s dropped from a dress size 36/38 to a 12/14.
With her new-found confidence and fitness Kim abseiled down the side of the Spinnaker Tower with her family and friends from the Havant Slimming World group cheering her on.
She plays tennis, goes swimming, walks miles indulging her hobby of photography and has started cycling again after hanging up her helmet 20 years ago.
‘I can do so much more since losing weight,’ said Kim.
‘But, for me, the biggest achievements are the small things, probably things that most people take for granted.
‘I love that I don’t need seatbelt extensions on planes anymore, I can sit in chairs with arms, I can shop on the high street – the list is endless.’
Even when she was double her current weight of 12st 13lbs, her family always told her she was pretty.
Kim said: ’My husband has always loved me and has never seen my size, just loved me as a person.
‘But he jokes that if he did want to change me in for a newer model he has got one!’
The new slim Kim plans to ride her first rollercoaster and go on a zip wire.
She added: ‘I feel like I’ve got my life back.’