The 19 stone mother of three who was so fat she struggled to access her own home because it was up three flights of stairs.
A MOTHER who was so fat she struggled to climb the stairs to her flat has told how struggling to reach her home shamed her into losing ten stone when she realised she’d have to diet or MOVE house.
Weighing 19 stone 6 lbs and a dress size 24 Charlotte Cassar, 30, from Southampton was left breathless and sweating every time she tackled the three flights of stairs to her two bedroom maisonette in Southampton.
With three young children and a pushchair it felt like climbing a mountain several times a day to morbidly obese Charlotte.
So she faced either moving or losing the weight.
Now she’s lost ten stone and gone from a size 24 to a size eight she can handle the stairs with ease.
In fact she says rather than dreading them, whizzing up and down them has became part of her new healthy workout regime.
Charlotte who is 5ft 8ins tall said: ‘ At my size the stairs were the blight of my life. Sometimes I wouldn’t even bother going out because I was so heavy that I was already tired out just getting to the bottom of them never mind climbing back up.
‘I hated them and started looking at other properties to move into just because I was too fat to cope with them.
‘It was hard enough when I had two children but when my youngest son was born and I had to try and carry a baby and a buggy as well as all my fat that I knew I could not continue. It was diet or move.
‘Now I run up and down them in seconds, it’s great.’
Miss Cassar admits the stairs were already a battle for her and her two older sons Bradley, 11 and Riley, six, but it was falling pregnant with Finley, now one, that was the tipping point.
Miss Cassar explains: ‘ I’ve always been a bigger girl, even at school I was a size 16, but with each pregnancy I’ve gained more and more weight and with Finley I put on more than five stone.’
She says she used the pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever she wanted without feeling guilty.
‘I think a lot of women will identify with that feeling. It’s the one time you don’t have to feel bad about it,’ she says.
So on top of her usual carb heavy meal times she consumed extra toast, sandwiches and crisps.
She said: ‘Savoury food has always been my downfall. I could take or leave sweets and chocolate but not crisps and sandwiches.’
But it still came as a surprise to learn that after Finely was born in December 2013, she weighed 19 stone 6lbs.
She said: ‘ I was mortified. It was the heaviest I had ever been in my life and I felt awful for allowing myself to get so fat. I used to tell myself that because I was tall I could carry the weight but I was clearly very unhealthy not to be able to climb the stairs without sweating and panting.’
Miss Cassar says she suffered back pains and anxiety, both caused by her weight.
But it was trying to navigate the dreaded stairs with her newborn and pushchair that was the final straw.
She says: ‘To me it was like climbing Everest even before I’d started the school run.
‘I’d get to the bottom a sweaty out of breath mess, I felt embarrassed and ashamed that it had come to that.’
As well as struggling to reach her own home Miss Cassar says her weight impacted on the way she parented her sons.
She says: ‘ My older sons would want me to play dance games with them on their Wii but I couldn’t even finish one song.
‘If they wanted to go to the park my heart sank because I just wasn’t fit enough to keep up with them.’
So 12 weeks after giving birth in March 2014 she signed up to the Cambridge Weight Loss Plan.
She swapped all food for meal replacement products from a range of shakes, cars and soups.
She said: ‘ The Cambridge Plan just took all food out of the equation for me, which is what I needed.
‘I thought I would be starving considering the amount I had been eating, but I actually felt better and less sluggish.’
In the first week she lost ten pounds and then continued to lose around three or four pounds a month until she reached her target of 10 stone 10 pounds in just seven months and a dress size 12.
She used the dreaded stairs as part of her exercise routine and found they became easier to tackle as the weeks passed.
But Miss Cassar was so thrilled with the results of her diet physically and emotionally that she continued on the plan until she reached a size eight weighing 9 stone 10 pounds in December last year.
She said: ‘ I cannot tell you how much easier my life became after losing the weight. Not just because I could handle the stairs so well, but also what I could do with my sons.
‘When my eldest told me he was proud of me I was over the moon because they are the reason I did it.
‘However my middle son is a little annoyed that I am not as comfortable to snuggle up to now all my padding has gone.’
Her only regret she says is not losing the weight earlier. She said: ‘ I have never been a size eight in my life and it feels amazing. I’m just gutted I missed out for so long and there is no way I will ever let myself go like that again.
‘I don’t just look better, I feel a million times better.’
A move is still on the cards, but only because she would prefer her son’s to live in a home with a garden.
‘I’m looking for a house that suits as better, but now it’s because that’s what our family needs, not because I’m too fat to climb the stairs.’