Mum who found comfort in food after son and fiance died has slender new look

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  • 13:21, 10 MAY 2019

A mother who found comfort in food after the deaths of her son and fiance just two years apart and weighed 15st at her heaviest has revealed her slender new look.

Sheila Henshall, 54, had struggled with her weight following the birth of her two children who were both later diagnosed with epileptic conditions.

But following the death of her son Dean in October 2009, Sheila fell into a deep sadness and found comfort in food to hide away from the grief she was feeling.

She was dealt a second crushing blow when her partner of seven years, Conrad, 49, died in August 2011 from a stomach aneurysm – days after proposing while on a cruise.

Her weight spiralled out of control and at her heaviest tipped the scales at 15st after gorging on chocolates, junk food and sugary snacks.

Sheila, who is 5ft 5in tall, decided to overhaul her lifestyle to help give daughter Lucy, who suffers from Dravet Syndrome, which is a type of epilepsy with seizures, the best life possible.

She discovered 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan – which educates people on portion size as well as carbohydrate control – in June last year and lost 6lb in her first week.

Sheila, from St Helens, Merseyside, reached her target weight of just over 11st in three months later after shedding more than 2st, which she has maintained since.

She said: "When you are in a deep depression you don't really think about what you are feeding yourself.

"You go into a state of despondency, you know these foods are bad for you but you don't care. Sugary snacks give you a temporary high.

"I started thinking 'you have one life, and you have to live it'. Losing weight really helped me focus and move forward.

"Just because you have lost someone and having the stress of having a child with a disability you have to look forward with these things.

"Since losing both Dean and Conrad my life has been a roller coaster of emotions and my weight has gone up and down but overtime I realised that I needed to keep myself fit and healthy for Lucy."

Sheila struggled trying to look after two young children and holding down her job and says the only control she had in her life was food.

This was aggravated when she woke up one night in October 2009 to hear the noise of Dean, who suffered from syndromic autosomal dominant disorder GEFS+ Syndrome, having a seizure.

"I called an ambulance and he was taken to intensive care in Alder Hey Hospital," she added.

"Five days later they turned off his ventilator. Dean was taken from me on October 30, 2009.

"To lose your child really is the worst thing that can happen to anyone. Dean was the best son, my buddy, my little rock.

"I miss him every minute of every day. I treasure the 12 years I had with him.

"I cannot remember the next year of my life. I was so sad. My weight escalated. I was eating and drinking way too much but didn't care. Lucy was sad too and she needed me."

She was fitted with a gastric band in January 2011 to stabilise her ballooning weight.

Sheila was then dealt her second family tragedy when her new fiance died suddenly.

"We were on holiday and had got engaged two days before," she added.

"'I can honestly say I have never been as happy as I am right now' – those were the last words he said to me.

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"When I woke up in the morning he was dead in bed."

Sheila saw an unflattering photo of her in a pink bikini while on holiday with friends last year and decided enough was enough.

She discovered 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan and amazingly lost 6lb in her first week and then 5lb every week after that.

Sheila had previously tried every diet including Slimming World, Weight Watchers, low carb and high-fat, but nothing seemed to work until she stumbled across 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan.

Sheila is now a qualified Cambridge Weight Plan consultant.

Sheila's diet

Menu before

Breakfast: Toast and butter

Lunch: Hot lamb sandwich and cake

Dinner: Takeaway pizza, Indian food or McDonald's

Snacks: Pringles, family bar of Galaxy, Maltesers, biscuits

Drinks: Pepsi Max, couple of glasses of white wine, tea with sugar

1:1 Diet

Breakfast smoothie

Peanut or cranberry bar

Veg soup or macaroni and cheese

Water and black tea

Menu now

Breakfast smoothie

Mushroom omelette

Chicken stir fry

Snacks: Fruit and Cambridge Weight Plan caramel or mint bites

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