‘I was eating myself to death’. That is the stark admission of Trixi Ellis who realised she was heading for an early grave unless she did something radical about her 23 stone bulk.
The now 47-year-old had never been skinny, but her weight ballooned after she met husband Mark in her native Germany while he was on tour there with the armed forces.
They moved to the UK and married in Suffolk. ‘I was bigger on my wedding day than I am now’, she says in amazement.
Because, two years ago, after being unable to even kneel down due to the pain in her knees, she joined Slimming World and lost an incredible 10st.
She is now a svelte size 10 and can hardly believe the transformation. In fact, she says it has still not sunk in.
‘They say it takes more than two years for your brain to catch up with what’s happened to your body. When I look in the mirror, I still see the flabby bits, not the parts where I’ve lost the weight.’
Trixi, who is a nursery practitioner, spent many years feeling embarrassed and guilty about her size – which she puts down to comfort eating.
The mum of one says: ‘I’m the kind of person who eats when they’re sad and eats when they’re happy. I never realised you could eat lots and still lose weight, like I have done on Slimming World.
‘Before I would eat Chinese takeaways. I skipped breakfast because I thought I had to cut something out.
‘Instead I would eat white bread sandwiches with mayo, two packets of crisps, a giant bar of chocolate and a packet of biscuits every day. I couldn’t possibly just open a packet and have a few. If I opened them I had to finish them.
‘I didn’t move. My favourite thing to do in the evening was sit on the sofa with the remote control in my hand drinking a couple of glasses of wine.’
Throughout the years of over-indulgence Trixi didn’t consider herself unhealthy. But what was actually happening was she thought the bloating she felt every day was normal.
‘I didn’t know how being bloated felt, because I felt it all the time. It was normal to me’, says Trixi, of Barncroft Way, Havant.
‘Now when I eat something that doesn’t agree with me – such as white bread – I feel it immediately.
‘I was tired all the time but, again, I thought that was normal.
‘Walking upstairs was a nightmare, my knees hurt so much. I couldn’t kneel down because I couldn’t get up.’
Trixi’s doctor referred her to a chiropractor and it was then that realisation hit.
‘The chiropractor said to me as diplomatically as he could, “look, the pain is down to your weight”. I was so embarrassed.’
At a size 26-28, Trixi could not buy clothes from normal high street clothes shops which left her feeling sad. She says: ‘My friends are all slim and could pick up something from a rail and I wished I could do that.’
Even a warning from her husband didn’t make Trixi change her eating habits. ‘My husband said a few years ago, “I don’t want to tell our daughter that you died before you were 40. You really need to do something about it”. But I never did.
‘My reaction was that he should love me as I am. But he was concerned about my health. My mum died young of heart problems. The bigger you are the harder your heart has to work.’
In September 2016 a good friend of the couple died of a heart attack and Mark started going to the gym.
With a smile on her face, Trixi says: ‘ By the following February he started looking rather good.
‘ I looked at him, then I looked at myself and thought “ we don’t look like we go together”. That’s when I finally realised I had to do something.’
Trixi says walking through the doors of Slimming World in West Leigh was the scariest thing she has ever done.
But, over two years she went from 22st 13lbs to 12 st 10lbs by eating even more than she did before – just healthier food.
She says: ‘I haven’t looked back. I made fantastic friends, it is a fantastic group. I joined the exercise class Fit and Funkey. That, and Slimming World, saved my life. Until then I was eating myself to death, literally. I was morbidly obese. My BMI was 48 – the healthy range is 22-25.
‘My family are really proud. My daughter comes up and gives me a hug and says she can’t believe she can put her arms properly around me. And that’s really nice.’
Over the years Trixi had tried many different diets but would always put the weight back on - and more.
There was the cabbage soup diet, the sausage and egg diet. Then her friend recommended Slimming World.
That was two-and-a-half years ago and she hasn’t looked back.
Trixi followed the club’s Food Optimising eating plan and still enjoys all her favourite meals.
She says: ‘People think slimming means going hungry, yet it’s not like that at all with Slimming World.
‘I love food and it’s never once felt like I was on a diet – in fact, people are always surprised at how much food I have on my plate and can’t believe I’m losing weight eating so much delicious food and without ever feeling hungry.’
Marrie Hough, Trixi’s consultant at the St Albans Church group, West Leigh, says: ‘The changes we’ve seen in Trixi are incredible.
‘I hope her success will inspire other people in Havant who’d like to lose weight by forming new lifestyle habits and become happier and healthier to take action.
‘There’s a warm welcome waiting at Slimming World and, just think, if you start today you could feel like a completely new person just like Trixi.’
Go to slimmingworld.co.uk.