A BRITISH woman, Jenny Eldred, 43, who had “given up” on dieting has recounted how her fear of dying from coronavirus and leaving her teenage daughter alone spurred her on to lose more than eight stone and completely overhaul her lifestyle.
Jenny, a mom-of-one had relied on a diet of packaged foods, sugary snacks and huge portions to help her juggle long hours in her financial services job with the demands of raising her daughter alone.
When the pandemic hit, Jenny – who is single and lives with daughter Faith, 18, now a final-year A-Level student – was a dress size 26-28 and knew she was at high risk of complications if she caught COVID-19.
Weighing in at 22st 13lb in March 2020, and at 5ft 4in tall, she had a BMI, or body mass index, used by the NHS to gauge a healthy weight, of 54.8 – compared to the healthy range of 18.5 to 24.9, making her obese.
Jenny said: “When the pandemic came along, I was nearly 23 stone, and all the evidence was saying the outcome would be poor.
“I really believe that if I’d got it, I could have died, and Faith would be on her own – it was quite a powerful moment.”
Until then, Jenny had all but given up trying to lose weight.
She said: “I’d always struggled with my weight and had been on and off diets my whole adult life.
“I’d actually given up a few years ago and thought, ‘I’m just not going to worry about it anymore.’”
She added: “I’d always known I was high risk and thought one day I might drop dead of a heart attack – but it had never felt as immediate and that focused my efforts to try and get healthier.”
Now, following a year of walking challenges, thrice-weekly Zoom workouts and overhauling her diet – swapping doorstep sandwiches, curries and chocolate for healthy salads, light stir-fries and fruit – Jenny has transformed her figure and fitness, with the help of Noom, a diet and nutrition app.
Born in Essex, but moving between the UK, Sweden and Japan with her father’s job at the Ford Motor Company, Jenny first became aware of her size and weight at the age of 13 – leaving her feeling self-conscious.
“As the years went by, it crept up and I was uncomfortable and wasn’t able to wear things I wanted to,” she said.