Covid-19 fears inspires March mum on weight loss journey
A March mum who was forced to shield during the first lockdown for fear of catching the virus is now an inspiration to others.
Zoe Gowler, a mum of two from March, was at greater risk from suffering severe Covid-19 symptoms because not only does she suffer from asthma, but was also overweight with a BMI of over 40.
Having been a member of Weight Watchers since 1999 and having lost around three stone in her first year, Zoe went on to become a helper at her regular WW meetings and hovered around the gold range until she had her second child in 2002.
Zoe said: "Over the following years I seemed to gain a stone with each major event: divorce, house move, operation, new relationship, illness.
"Fast forward to March 2020 and my boss phoned me early one morning and asked if any of the following applied to me: The flu jab, followed by several health conditions ending with obesity - a BMI of over 40.
"Easy - yes I have a flu jab for asthma and so I was told to work from because I was vulnerable to the coronavirus.
"The following week we went into lockdown and I barely left the house as I was afraid of meeting someone in the street who may have the virus.
"Boris was talking about how being overweight increased your chances of severe symptoms of the virus.
"I started to think how I was more at risk with asthma and being overweight. By this time we had a
road map for reopening the country and we knew we would eventually be going back to work. Myself and my colleagues who had been declared vulnerable were told that we would have to have an assessment with HR to see if we were fit to go back.
"Out of interest I thought, what is my BMI? I was horrified to find it was 41.4. I was mortified about the idea of my fellow asthmatics going back to work, and everyone knowing I was still at home because I was obese. I worked out that if I could lose 9lbs in 9 weeks, I could be below 40 BMI, before I was due back at work on August 1. I dusted off my WW app, and started tracking and was delighted to lose 7lb in the first two weeks.
"I had been afraid to go out walking in lockdown, and probably only left the house half a dozen times. At the start of July, during a Zoom meeting I pledged to walk around the block in my lunch break every day the next week. I realised that it was something I could continue that would help my weight loss and my mental health. And I have walked every day since, no matter what the weather.
"The walks have got longer and faster and I now walk over 100km each month. And I have posted a photo every single day, knowing that my new friends will be checking up on me if I don't. When I had to self isolate after being track and traced I walked indoors, still clocking every km.
"By August 1 I had lost 1st7 and my BMI was 38.1 and I returned to work without anyone knowing it was ever in doubt. "
Boris's threat had been what I needed to hear - it was the bigger incentive to ever be a healthy weight. Even on my son's 18th birthday I didn't have cake or booze as I wanted my blue dot more. I have had a blue dot for tracking my food every single day, even over Christmas.
"Over 40 weeks I have never had a gain - I have stayed the same nine times - I admit this disappoints me. I have now lost 4 st 12 lbs and my BMI has gone down to 30.7 - a massive drop of over 10 points.
Whilst three lockdowns have been devastating for everyone it has helped my journey - with my son shopping I couldn't add naughty treats to the basket on a whim, and instead of eating out with my partner once or twice each weekend, and going out drinking with friends, I now like to try new recipes at weekends, pointing everything to fit in to the WW purple plan.
"I am now excited about my next mini goal of being 'overweight' on my birthday (rather than obese). Due to lockdown I have not seen my in laws for over a year, and I really hope they don't recognise me next time I see them."
Zoe attends WW sessions run by Helen Webster in March she said: "Zoe has been a huge inspiration to so many WW members since Lockdown one and she continues to do so today."
Helen can be contacted on 07988445580.