A woman who became so heavy she couldn’t climb stairs and was forced to spend four years sleeping on her sofa has revealed her amazing transformation after shedding 12 stone.
At her 27st 10lb heaviest, Clare Sims, 40, from Bristol, wore a size 32.
Unable to make the stairs to bed, she slept on the sofa, with her loyal courier husband Shane, 37, sometimes keeping her company by lying on the floor beside her.
But now, through diet and exercise alone, the mum-of-four has shed an amazing 12 stone and fits comfortably into a size 14.
“At my heaviest, I barely left the house. I couldn’t fit into seats that had sides to them, and couldn’t even get up the stairs to my bed, so had to sleep on the sofa,” said Clare, a healthcare assistant.
“My health was at rock bottom. I’d ache all over.
“Eventually, I knew I had to change. Doctors offered me a gastric band, but I said no – I’d got myself into this mess, it was up to me to get myself out of it.”
Clare – whose children Kayleigh, 18, Alex, 16, Lily, 11 and Phoebe, eight, are all delighted by their mum’s weight loss – said her size issues began in her twenties.
In a difficult relationship, she turned to food to cope with the stress and put on weight.
On a typical day, she’d gorge on crisps, bread and chocolate biscuits, following a diet completely void of fresh fruit and vegetables.
She would also tuck into fatty takeaways around twice a week.
“I could get through an entire loaf of bread a day,” she admitted. “I must’ve been eating around 4,000 or 5,000 calories. Maybe even 6,000.”
Then, when she first met her now husband Shane in a bar 14 years ago, Clare weighed 17st 10lb.
Settling into the relationship, she gained what she called “happy weight.”
She continued: “Shane never said anything about my size. He’s the most amazing husband ever.
“But because I was happy and content, I wasn’t watching what I ate at all.”
In 2009, Clare’s health took a turn for the worst, when she contracted pneumonia, which led to her developing asthma.
From there, life became a carousel of hospital appointments as she battled chest infection after chest infection
Then, in April 2014, she suffered a severe asthma attack during a romantic weekend away in Bournemouth with Shane.
Racing home to Bristol, medics at Frenchay Hospital placed her in a coma for four days, giving her body a chance to recover.
Coming round, she felt she’d been given a second chance at life – and realised she had to get healthy.
“Before my coma, I’d been feeling really low. I’d been ill for so long, and my size was getting me down,” recalled Clare.
“But waking up I felt fantastic, like I’d been given a second chance. I’d been slimming a little bit beforehand, but had only lost around two stone.
“Doctors told me the asthma attack could have killed me. That gave me the kick up the bum I needed.”
Clare soon joined a local Weight Watchers group and was forced to face up to her size.
With the support of Shane, her children and her Weight Watchers group leader, after a slow start the pounds began to melt away.
“It fluctuated. One week I lost one pound, the next I lost 11,” said Clare. “But it was such a buzz every time I lost weight that it spurred me on to keep going.”
Around a year ago, Clare even joined a gym, which she now hits three times a week, for a full body workout including 40 minutes on the treadmill, 20 minutes on the bike, 10 minutes on the rowing machine and weights.
She’s also completely overhauled her diet, swapping takeaways and snacks for fresh, home-cooked meals.
On a typical day, she’ll eat cereal for breakfast, a vegetable stir fry for lunch and salad for dinner, with fruit or crackers as a snack.
Now 15st 10lb, she has three stone left to lose, before she hits her 12st 10lb goal weight, but her confidence has already soared.
“I’ll catch sight of my reflection and still not quite believe that it’s me,” she said.
“I walk everywhere now and don’t feel worried about getting the bus or taking the kids out. I’m even going to Alton Towers in a few weeks, which is something I haven’t done in years, because I never used to be able to fit in the rides.
“Best of all, Shane and I can share a bed again. He’s got much more room now.
“To anyone else out there wanting to lose weight, I’d say just take it one day at a time. Look at me – if I can do it, anyone can.”