Her mother’s untimely death from cancer back in 2007 prompted Karon Whitehead to take a close look at what she was doing with her life. After 30 years of being overweight and with health problems of her own she knew she needed to take urgent action. Today, she’s slim, fit and has just completed the Jane Tomlinson 10K run in Leeds for the second time. Hilarie Stelfox reports
FOR mother-of-three Karon Whitehead, life began again at 50.Up to that point she had spent her entire adult life carrying more weight than was healthy and wearing outsize clothes.
Colleagues, she says, never knew her as anything other than overweight.
She had high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and type 2 diabetes. At her biggest she found herself buying size 26 clothes and at her heaviest she weighed more than 15stones.
And yet Karon, now 56, has proved that it’s never too late to change.
Tragically, it took the loss of her mother, who died from lung cancer back in 2007, to make her realise that she had to start taking her own wellbeing more seriously.
“She was always battling her weight,” said Karon, “and we both attended various Slimming World clubs over many years with losses then gains, when we stopped attending.
“My mum would comment on my weight and the fact that I should lose weight, but I became stubborn and never did.”
However, in the year following her mother’s death Karon began to tackle her weight and took up exercise for the first time in her life. “I thought I have got to do it to live long enough to see my children grow up.
“I started running in 2008 with a sport4life group, before I got to my target weight. On my first visit I was so nervous and thought people would just laugh at me, but they didn’t and were all very nice.
“I couldn’t even run 100metres, so I ran and walked.”
Since that time Karon has become an exercise fanatic, completing three half marathons and taking up Pilates, aqua fit, zumba and Nordic walking. She also goes to the gym and has employed the services of a personal trainer.
Through being careful with her diet and exercising her weight has plummeted to a healthy 10stones and she can now wear size 12 clothes.