Karen Scales had been wanting to lose weight, but it was only when she was diagnosed with a serious illness that she started to take it more seriously. And when she focused on three simple tactics to shed the pounds, she eventually achieved some truly amazing results.
Scales is a woman from Levenmouth in the U.K., who has a story that can only be described as remarkable. In 2012, when Scales was 30 years old, she had two kids who were still quite young. Then something happened that knocked her family sideways.
After having some medical tests done, Scales was given a devastating diagnosis. A specialist informed her and her husband, Harry, that she had a condition that would stay with her for life. In fact, the illness was known to cut a sufferer’s life expectancy.
Specifically, Scales was told that she had multiple sclerosis (M.S.), an illness with numerous possible symptoms and which can render someone with the condition substantially disabled. People with M.S. can experience vision and balance problems and difficulty with movement, for example.
In the U.K. alone, more than 100,000 people have the condition, and it is most often discovered when the sufferer is in their 20s or 30s. It is possible for M.S. to develop at any age, though, and women are affected much more often than men.
But while doctors can sometimes treat the symptoms of M.S., Scales was understandably concerned for her family’s future. Above all, she was worried about how the condition would affect her life going forward as a mother of two young kids.
When she was first told about her condition, Scales, in a state of shock, asked the specialist if she was going to die. He said no, however. Still, when it came to managing her symptoms, he had an idea that may help.
In particular, the specialist politely urged Scales to perhaps lose some weight, as it might help her live a happier life with M.S. And the suggestion didn’t offend Scales too much. She was at about 220 pounds and had already joined up as a member of weight-loss organization Slimming World.
After the diagnosis, though, people close to Scales encouraged her to go easy on herself. They were worried that she had too much going on and suggested that she take a break from the weight-loss program. Scales herself knew, however, that she had to keep going.
And while the mom was starkly aware that she couldn’t get rid of her M.S., she was nevertheless encouraged by being able to get on top of her weight. That’s when she made the decision to stick to her diet plan and treat her body right.
So Scales made a concerted effort to make it to all her Slimming World group sessions, even when her M.S. was causing her pain. Fortunately, her nearest and dearest couldn’t have been more supportive of her efforts, and a friend – or even her dad – would drive her to meetings on her bad days.
Meanwhile, there were three things that Scales tried to do to shed the pounds. Firstly, she made sure that she was planning all her meals in advance. She also kept a note of everything that she was eating, and she cooked all of her meals herself.
And the three-point plan worked a treat. Scales went from about 270 pounds to an impressive 152 pounds, thanks to all her hard work and rigid set of rules. And she was delighted with her results. Indeed, the Slimming World website would even quote Scales as saying, “There’s no way on earth I’m going to put those stones back on.”
However, the mom-of-two totally overhauled her eating habits to get to that point. She’d have some oats for breakfast, followed by vegetable soup for lunch or even a chicken salad. For a sweet treat after lunch, meanwhile, she’d devour some fruit. But when it came to dinner, she didn’t have to restrict herself too much.
Scales would cook up a Slimming World-branded meal, such as chicken fried rice, rather than denying herself food. Usually she and her husband would splash out on takeout to kick off the weekend; while trying to lose weight, though, she opted for healthier dishes from the menu.
Indeed, Scales could sometimes even indulge in less healthy fare, thanks to Slimming World’s system of “syns.” Often, foods classed as having syns are treats, with one syn equating to approximately 20 calories, and dieters on Slimming World’s programs have a certain amount of syns they are allowed to consume per day.
This model therefore allowed Scales the opportunity to eat one foodstuff in particular. “Thanks to syns, I never had to go a day without chocolate!” she was quoted as saying on the Slimming World website. The article also revealed how she would allow herself a small chocolate bar or chocolate-covered marshmallow treat every day,
Then, in July 2013 Scales went back to see the specialist for a check-up. First, though, she saw a nurse who wasn’t able to recognize Scales – that’s how much weight she’d lost. “Blimey, I thought you’d sent somebody else!” the nurse reportedly said to Scales upon seeing the patient.
And when the specialist entered the room, he was equally stunned to see how much Scales had slimmed down. “His jaw dropped,” Scales recalled, according to the Slimming World website. She added, “In that moment, I felt so proud of what I’d managed to do for myself in the past year.”
Thanks to her hard work, Scales managed to lose a significant amount of weight; her accomplishment even saw her get to the final of Slimming World’s Woman of the Year 2013 contest. Best of all for the Levenmouth woman, though, was the effect that dropping the pounds had made to her health. “I’m sure that if I were… heavier, I’d be finding everyday life so much harder than I am now – I rarely need my stick and I’ve never had to use a wheelchair,” she was quoted on the Slimming World website as saying. And Scales added, “Losing weight has been truly life-changing.”