By Balraj Sohal
THIS WOMAN’S weight had gotten so out of control that she could BARELY BEND OVER TO SHAVE her legs until a gastric sleeve helped her lose a whopping ELEVEN STONE in a year – but she insists she still had to put the work in.
CEO, Nicole Church (32), from Atwater, California, USA, who has two children, Jaden (9) and Kinsley (4), is a former cheerleader turned business entrepreneur.
Once Nicole stopped the cheerleading she did as a teenager, she started to notice that she was gaining weight. Having a hectic career running her own businesses meant that Nicole relied on takeaways, buying ready meals and she didn’t have time to exercise.
By the time she hit 30, Nicole was 22st 7lb and a UK size 28 and despite always portraying herself as very professional and confident to those around her, Nicole knew there needed to be a shift in her lifestyle that would solidify her confidence mentally.
On the inside, she felt old, struggled to find clothes to fit her and would become exhausted shaving her legs in the shower.
Nicole met with her doctor and they both decided that to jumpstart her weight loss journey, a vertical sleeve gastrectomy would be best, reducing her stomach to the size of a banana and she was booked into surgery in August 2018.
Thanks to surgery, Nicole is now a super-svelte 11st 1lb and UK size 10 and she’s more confident than ever.
Some people may look upon this surgery as a ‘quick-fix’ solution, but Nicole mentions she has met people who thought the operation would do all the work for them but didn’t realise that the body still requires the right food and vitamins for it to be a success.
“Physically I felt old and broken down. I had back, knee, and sciatic nerve pain every single day. I had a hard time even shaving my legs in the shower. I was far too young to feel so old,” Nicole said.
“When I was 30, my size 22 pants started becoming tight and I remember thinking this can’t be my life. I would sometimes cry as soon as I got out of bed because of how painful it was on my back.
“I had to go to psychological evaluations, I had to log my diet from November 2017 to August 2018 and I truly believe that those months of hard work is what made me so successful in the long run. I lost two-and-a-half-stone during that time and retrained my brain as to what a healthy lifestyle was.
“My surgery was August 29th, 2018 and within one year I was able to lose over 150 lb I went from a size 28 trousers to a size 10”, she said.
Now, Nicole can keep up with her children during their activities and the junk food has been replaced with lean meats and nutritious vegetables, high sugar drinks have been swapped for coffee and water and she exercises five days a week.
Her Instagram, @nicolechurch87 is bombarded with motivational quotes, healthy meals, her trips with family and inspiring before and after pictures of her fitness journey. She hopes it will show the fun side of exercising and highlight that dieting doesn’t need to be focused on boring tasteless food.
“You can lose up to four-stone without really working hard but if you want to be successful in the long run and has to be a whole lifestyle change”, she said.
“People mistake me putting myself first and taking time for me as selfish when really self-care is probably one of the most important yet lacking things in a woman’s life. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
“With the weight loss came a newfound self-awareness. I have always been confident but now I take my mental health and growth so serious that sometimes it can make people uncomfortable.
“I live a pain free life, I don’t have to worry about if I’m going to fit on the ride with my kids at the fair, my life is a lot less stressful and a lot more fun… I run for fun and exercise, I enjoy cooking healthy foods and educating my family on what’s nutritional and feeding your body versus abusing it.”