A super-slimmer from Gainsborough who had to care for a premature baby and husband diagnosed with cancer has taken on her next challenge of running the Lincoln 10k.
Vanessa Dodsworth, aged 35, has lost seven-and-a-half stones through Weight Watchers and now wants to spread the healthy message as well as raise cash for her daughters’ school.
Vanessa had struggled with her weight since she was a teenager and first joined Weight Watchers in 2006 to lose a few pounds for her wedding day.
Vanessa said: “I thought that was it and I would be thin forever. How wrong was I?
“I started to gain weight straight after my wedding and it was slow but started to creep up.
“I love food and the slightest thing would make me turn to food.
“In September 2006 I suffered an ectopic pregnancy and it really did effect me emotionally and I turned to food in a big way.”
Vanessa fell pregnant again in February 2007 but her baby was born seven weeks premature.
Vanessa said: “I thought I could eat for five and after my daughter was born I showed no sign of losing the weight.”
Then at the end of 2007 Vanessa’s husband was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma and as well as a new-born baby she was having to support her husband through chemotherapy.
She said: “It was the year from hell and with being an emotional eater I kept eating. It’s the only thing that took the pain away and eased the stress, or so I thought.”
After having another baby Vanessa decided she needed to get healthy for her family so she rejoined Weight Watchers and in January 2012 she discovered a new love of fitness.
She said: “I promised myself that after all we had been through I needed to be heathy for my family and show a good example for my girls. I didn’t want them to have issues with food like me so I was determined that this time it wasn’t about being thin but about being healthy and fit.
“I started home DVDs and running, but at the start I couldn’t even run to the end of the street.
“However I continued and now love sport. I have tried lots of forms of exercise as there is so much. But there is something for everyone - you just need to keep trying until you find it.
“I now love running and the gym. I ran the Lincoln 10k in 2013 for Lincoln Babies but this time I am running for my girls’ school, Hemswell Cliff Primary School, to raise money so they can have matching sports kits.
“When they play other teams they look all mismatched as they don’t have enough kit.
“I think fitness should be something we really help promote in today’s life.”