Edinburgh woman ‘half the size’ she used to be after health kick

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SUPER slimmer Barbara Steele has swapped fast-food for fitness, scaling down to more than half her size despite suffering from acute breathlessness.

The 64-year-old spent most of her adult life ashamed of her body image and problems with obesity. In 2013, her weight stood at 21st 5lb as she led a lifestyle of inactivity, exhaustion and unhealthy eating; gorging on foods such as sugary cereals topped with cream and excessive amounts of chocolate.

Barbara can't believe the change losing weight has made.

Barbara can't believe the change losing weight has made.

The nurse lecturer, from Warriston, felt even more embarrassed as she was unable to be a good role model for students and even considered an early retirement.

Her dreams of slimming down and having a body she felt comfortable in were made to feel even more out of reach when she was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a condition which causes significant breathing difficulties, therefore making exercise more difficult.

However, upon noticing that one of her students had been successful in slimming down, Barbara became inspired to finally take the steps and strides it would take to achieve the body she wanted. Although she had joined WW – formerly known as Weight Watchers – several times prior, her target weight had never been reached and so she stopped attending workshops.

After rejoining, she set her target weight to 11st 5lb, aiming for a mammoth 10st loss. Determined to not drop out of the slimming programme again and revert to her damaging lifestyle, she utilized WW’s app which allowed her to keep track of her diet, exercise and attendance of meetings. Once Barbara began to notice a difference in herself, her motivation to carry on increased and she eventually started to engage in activities she previously couldn’t due to her weight.

Barbara Steele

Barbara Steele

She said: “Once I started to see results at the scales, I started to swim again, this was an activity that I had always enjoyed, and it gave me the added bonus of being a great stress buster.

“Although progress seemed slow, I think I always realised that this was going to be a long journey and what was most important was to get to my goal weight and maintain it.”

As her fitness improved, Barbara became less affected by her COPD and was able to reduce the dose of medication she was on.

Barbara lost the 10st she aimed for, and a further 16lbs, bringing her current weight to 10st 3lb. Barbara’s new body has given her a fresh lease on life, allowing her to enjoy her retirement without worrying about her weight and body image.

Barbara Steele was once 21 st 5lbs - but she now weighs '10st 3lbs

Barbara Steele was once 21 st 5lbs - but she now weighs '10st 3lbs

She said: “I am fitter; more active, exercising up to six times a week, feeling more engaged in life generally and now enjoying my retirement, and I now have something I didn’t have before: self-respect.

“I am sleeping better and no longer taking my medication. I was pretty disgusted with myself when I took the plunge to join WW, and I have lost the equivalent of a whole 11 stone person that I was dragging around with me. It is hard to appreciate how freeing that is!”