Julie Redmond (45) recalled how a holiday snap three years ago made her think about slimming down from 14st 7 lbs. She said: “I felt mortified.
“I resolved there and then that I had to take some action.
“So as soon as we arrived home I joined WW (formerly Weight Watchers), and attended my first workshop, in Dalkeith Rugby Club. I walked into that workshop and said to myself ‘I am going to hit that goal weight’. From then on I never looked back. The Freestyle plan was just so easy to follow, I was never hungry, and I just love the app.
“I set myself mini goals along the way – first stone, second stone etc, a target for my birthday and then again for Christmas. To set a final goal straight away was too daunting so setting achievable goals along the way is essential.
“Seeing the great progress I was making, my niece decided to join WW as well. This was great as we had a bit of healthy competition going and we also buddied up for exercise - going to Zumba, swimming, boogie bounce and out running together.
“It felt so good to reach my target, get the photo with Sandra and finally hear that party popper! What a sense of achievement! It had taken me just over a year to lose four stone seven pounds.
“I loved my new body shape, how I looked and how fit I was getting. It felt great to be able to go clothes shopping and pick just about anything I wanted – all those sizes in the sale! Never in my life before had I been a size 8. In the October I even wore a bikini on holiday for the fist time ever!
“If you had asked me at the start of my journey, I would have said I would be happy to get back down to a size 12!
“Everything was going great until fate decided to intervene in May 2018.”
It was on Julie and her husband Jimmy’s 12th wedding anniversary that month that her life changed forever.
Initially feeling tired, Julie quickly became more ill over the next 48 hours and before she knew it she was taken into resuscitation at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. She said: “I had lines put in for fluids, an arterial line for antibiotics, and two central lines – one was in case I needed dialysis as my kidneys were failing. I was like a pin-cushion.
“I also had a chest x-ray done and a heart monitor attached.
“I remember seeing my blood pressure on the monitor at 60/30 and my heart rate at 118.
“Several doctors, including the consultant in ICU who had been called in, told me that it was a good job that I had come in when I did, as I was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.
“I spent a few days in ICU and a further week in isolation in HDU, than a further 16 days in hospital. I was at risk of needing limb amputation. One in 10 people die from this infection and a third of survivors lose a limb.
“When I finally came home, I was still very weak. I initially had a zimmer frame to help me walk and I needed a wheelchair if I went outside.”
After recuperating at home over the summer Julie had to have an operation at the end of September to trim the bone on two toes on her left foot.
Now back in her document development manager role with CFH Docmail Ltd full-time, Julie is well on the long road to a full recovery. And she firmly believes her weight loss made the difference.
She said: “WW was a huge factor in saving my life. If I had not spent that time losing weight, getting fit and healthy, keeping on track and attending the meetings, the consequences could have been much worse and I might not be here to tell this tale.
“The support I had from my coach Sandra McConachie, all the WW members, and my friends and family has been fantastic. The more awareness of meningitis and the incredible benefits of WW we can get out there the better. Thank you WW. I owe you my life.”