An overweight mum decided on drastic action after she was fat-shamed when she went horse riding with her daughter.
Julia Leese was left red-faced when stable officials swapped a pony for a shire horse for her to ride because of her 15-stone frame.
Julia, 46, from Patridge Green, was on holiday in Scotland in 2016 with her now eight-year-old daughter Alex when the incident happened.
Said Julia: “Alex was excited to go horse riding and asked if I’d do it too. My first thought was that I couldn’t let her down, but I hadn’t ridden since my twenties and I wasn’t as slim as I was back then.
“As soon as we got there, the riding instructor took one look at me and swapped my horse. Out came a Shire horse replacement, a breed that is often used for heavy lifting or for carrying carts!
“Later that holiday, I was sat in a soft play centre surrounded by fizzy pop and sweet treats and I noticed that the other parents watching in the wings were a similar build and weight to me.
“And it was even more surprising to see when looking around that their children were also overweight. It dawned on me that this wasn’t how I wanted things to be; ‘what message am I sending to my daughter?’.
Julia ended up googling weight loss and discovered the firm LighterLife. “What appealed to me the most was the cognitive behavioural therapy, and the fact you were provided with the tools to cope with life after weight loss with their ongoing management plan,” said Julia.
Julia joined a weekly LighterLife counselling group to reach her goal and ended up losing a whopping 4st 9lb and dropped dress sizes from 18 to a svelte 10.
“Learning about my food triggers and portion control has been key to keeping the weight off,” said Julia.
LighterLife Horsham counsellor Hazel Harrod said: “Julia has been a dedicated member of the LighterLife programme and her commitment to the group work throughout her journey has been evident.”