Mother Mary Kirkby loses 8st after picture showing her bigger than a snowman

  • ‘I felt so embarrassed, I had no idea I looked that big’
  • She swapped jam sandwiches for healthy diet

Lucy Laing

Last updated at 4:29 PM on 31st December 2011

When Mary Kirkby discovered she was fatter than a SNOWMAN in her garden, she knew she had to take action.

Standing next to the snowman, Mrs Kirkby’s 18 stone bulk was even bigger than the snowy creation with its round stomach.

It spurred her into action and she has determinedly shed the pounds –  to lose a staggering eight stone.

Cold comfort: This picture of Mary Kirkby with the chubby snowman in her back garden inspired her to lose weight

Cold comfort: This picture of Mary Kirkby with the chubby snowman in her back garden inspired her to lose weight

Mrs Kirkby, 60, from Macclesfield, Cheshire, said: ‘ ‘When I saw that picture and saw that I was bigger than the snowman, I felt so embarrassed. I knew I had to take action. I had no idea I looked that big.’

She first started to put on weight after the birth of her children Fiona, now 27, and Andy, 24.

Slim: Mary Kirkby has lost eight stone over the past 10 years

Slim: Mary Kirkby has lost eight stone over the past 10 years

She said: ‘I’ve struggled with my weight ever since. When Andy was about nine, I took him to a local fairground and I actually got stuck in the turnstile at one of the rides.

‘We went on the ride and then when I got off and tried to go through the exit barrier I got stuck. It was so humiliating and the lady who was manning the turnstile had to keep jiggling the mechanism, and eventually I managed to free myself.’

‘There were lots of people queuing behind me, but I didn’t dare look behind at them as I was too embarrassed.’

Despite the humiliation, Mrs Kirkby, who lives with husband John, 63, kept piling on the weight, eating her favourite jam sandwiches and toast with butter.

She said: ‘I just didn’t know how to lose the weight. With two children to bring up, I was always busy with them.’

But then after the snowman was built in her garden at Christmas 2001, Mrs Kirkby decided she had to do something about it.

She said: ‘When you are bigger than the snowman in your garden, it is definitely time to take action. The snowman looked positively slim compared to me.

‘I was a size 26 and I wore elastic skirts all the time, yet I wasn’t really aware of how big I looked until I saw that photo.’

So in January 2002, Mrs Kirkby decided to join Slimming World and changed her diet. For breakfast she now had cereal and low fat yoghurt. And for lunch, she ditched the jam sandwiches and instead had a baked potato with beans. Then for dinner she tucked into pasta.

She said: ‘I was surprised at how easy the diet was. I’d always thought it was going to be impossible to lose the weight as I’d never been able to stick to a diet.

‘But this diet was easy to stick too, and I never felt hungry. just the thought of being bigger than that snowman kept me going.’

The pounds came off slowly but surely. It took her more than seven years for her to lose a staggering eight stone, but  recently she hit her target weight of ten and a half stone.

When she had lost five stone, she also discovered a life threatening hernia in her stomach, which was operated on by doctors.

She has now thrown away her elastic skirts and is now a slim size 12.

She said: ‘I feel absolutely fantastic now – like a different woman. i feel so much healthier and losing the weight has even meant that my hernia was discovered.

‘And its all thanks to that snowman – if I hadn’t been pictured standing by the side of it I would have never been spurred on into losing the weight.

‘When I see a snowman now, I will be proud to stand by it – and this time I won’t be bigger than it.

Here’s what other readers have said. Why not add your thoughts,
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Well done! I wish they’d put a person’s height in these articles.

She looked better before!

I think that when you can’t fit into your clothes after putting on a couple of pounds is time to take action.

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