Obese mother who turned to comfort eating after losing her son, 12, and then her fiancé TWO DAYS after he proposed sheds four stone by ditching sugary snacks and takeaways
- Sheila Henshall, 54, began struggling with her weight after having two children
- Son Dean, who suffered from GEFS+ Syndrome, died tragically in October 2009
- In August 2011 her partner of seven years, Conrad, died from stomach aneurysm
- The devoted couple had got engaged days before his death while on a cruise
- Grieving 5ft 5in Sheila gorged on sweet treats and tipped the scales at 15 stone
- Overhauled diet in June 2018 to help daughter Lucy, who has Dravet Syndrome
A mother who piled on the pounds to take away the pain of losing both her son and her fiancé has revealed her slender new look.
Sheila Henshall, 54, from St Helens, Merseyside, had always 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, 12, in October 2009, grieving Sheila found comfort in food and it became a coping mechanism.
Sheila 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.
Sheila Henshall, 54, from St Helens, Merseyside, piled on the pounds to take away the pain of losing both her son and her fiancé – but has now revealed a slender new look
Her weight spiralled out of control and at her heaviest she tipped the scales at 15 stone, having gorged on chocolates, junk food and sugary snacks.
Sheila, who is 5ft 5 inches tall, decided to overhaul her lifestyle to help give daughter Lucy, who suffers from Dravet Syndrome – a type of epilepsy with seizures – the best life possible.
She discovered the 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan – which educates people on portion size as well as carbohydrate control – in June last year and lost six pounds in her first week.
Sheila reached her target weight of just over 11 stone over the next three months after shedding more than two stone, which she has maintained since.
Mother-of-two Sheila’s weight spiralled out of control and at her heaviest she tipped the scales at 15 stone, having gorged on chocolates, junk food and sugary snacks
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 have the stress of a child with a disability, you have to look forward with these things.
‘Since losing both Dean and Conrad, my life has been a rollercoaster of emotions and my weight has gone up and down, but over time I realised that I needed to keep myself fit and healthy for Lucy.’
Sheila, who is 5ft 5 inches tall, decided to overhaul her lifestyle to help give daughter Lucy, who suffers from Dravet Syndrome – a type of epilepsy with seizures – the best life possible
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 recalled.
‘Five days later they turned off his ventilator. Dean was taken from me on October 30, 2009.
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
‘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.’
Sheila was fitted with a gastric band in January 2011 to stabilise her ballooning weight. She was then dealt her second family tragedy when her new fiancé Conrad died suddenly.
Sheila, pictured with daughter Lucy, had previously tried other diets, including Slimming World, Weight Watchers and ‘low carb, high-fat’, but nothing has worked
‘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. When I woke up in the morning he was dead in bed.’
After seeing an unflattering photo of herself in a pink bikini while on holiday with friends last year, Sheila decided enough was enough.
Sheila’s diet before
Breakfast: Toast and Butter
Lunch: Hot lamb sandwich and cake
Dinner: Takeaway pizza, Indian or McDonalds
Snacks: Pringles, family bar of Galaxy, Maltesers, biscuits
Drinks: Fizzy pop, Pepsi Max, a couple of glasses of white wine, tea with sugar
Sheila’s diet after
Lunch: Vegetable soup or mushroom omlette
Dinner: Chicken stir fry
Snacks: Peanut or cranberry bar, fruit, Cambridge Weight Plan caramel or mint bites
Drinks: Water, black tea
After she started the 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan, Sheila was thrilled to discover she was losing around five pounds a week.
She had previously tried other diets, including Slimming World, Weight Watchers and ‘low carb, high-fat’, but nothing has worked.
Sheila is now a qualified Cambridge Weight Plan consultant. You can read more about her diet plan here.
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