I was too fat to sit behind the steering wheel – one diet hack helped me she…

Charlotte Graves, 29, was tipping the scales at 27 stone when she found she could ”barely” drive her kids to school in her Peugeot.

The snacker had piled on the pounds after gorging on three tubs of mint ice cream per week and indulging in packets of share bag crisps.

As well as constantly snacking she was helping herself to ”massive portions” at mealtimes.

After having twins in August 2022, mum-of-three Charlotte found she weighed a staggering 27 stone and was a dress size 32.

Charlotte’s frame left her “exhausted” and when she found herself no longer able to do the school run she knew ”something had to change”.

In June 2023, Charlotte took to TikTok and came across a reputable private hospital in Turkey that could offer gastric sleeve surgery – costing £3,400.

Just two weeks later, Charlotte flew to Izmir, Turkey, where she had the procedure on 26 June.

After a successful surgery, she dropped 4st 7lbs in three months. She has now lost 6st 10lbs in total – and easily slips into a size 18.

Charlotte, a hairdresser and content creator, from Cambridge, said: “I’ve always been aware of being bigger but after having my children it kept creeping on.

“Being a mum is exhausting enough but being 27 stone was extreme.

“The steering wheel digging into my stomach on the school run, paired with feeling tired all the time, I knew something had to change.

“After having the twins, it dawned on me that if I didn’t do something about my weight, my kids would be left without their mum.

“The surgery had great reviews and when I got there I felt in the safest hands.

“That sleeve hasn’t just changed my life but also my kids’.

“I’ve still got a way to go but I’m able to be much more hands-on with the children – we even go on six mile bike rides.

“Before, food controlled me but now I feel free.”

Charlotte – who lives with her husband, Tom Graves, 36, who works in construction – says she’s “always struggled with weight” which left her turning to emotional eating.

Her turbulent relationship with food continued into her twenties and saw her turn to yo-yo dieting, weight loss groups and even hypnotherapy – but none of them made a long-term impact.

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She said: “When I became a mum to my two-year-old, Hadley, I got into home cooking but I’d make huge portions.

“I thought because it was homemade it was healthy but I’d eat for two and never felt satisfied.

“I’d find myself late night snacking on tubs of Carte D’or mint chocolate ice cream, share bags of Walkers’ Thai sweet chill crisps and big bars of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk.

“When I fell pregnant with the twins, my weight went up even more and I was 28 stone the heaviest I’d ever been.”

By June 2023 she had given birth to her twin boy and girl, Everley and Oakley, now one, and was desperate for a change after finding she could no longer fit into her car.

She opted for a sleeve gastrectomy – which is where a large part of the stomach is removed to help decrease the amount a person can eat.

After a successful two-hour surgery, she remained in hospital for three nights before flying back to the UK to continue her weight loss journey.

With a reduced stomach and only able to eat three saucer-sized small meals a day, Charlotte soon saw the weight drop off.

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In her first month, she lost three stone and by September 2023 she weighed 23st 7lbs.

Now, 7st down and sporting a size 18, Charlotte is over the moon with her progress and more motivated than ever to continue through healthier choices and joining the gym.

“The surgery has literally saved my life,” Charlotte said.

“The way I was going, I wasn’t going to be around to see my kids grow up, let alone be able to run around after them.

“I’ve got three under three- they need a mum who’s hands-on and I want to do everything with them.

“Losing the weight hasn’t just changed how I look but my relationship with food.

“I’m no longer putting away massive portions and turning to late-night fatty snacks but fuelling my body with nutritious foods.

“I’m able to take Hadley on long bike rides – I think I enjoy it more than him.

“I’ve still got a way to go but I’m no longer squeezing myself behind the wheel.”

Diet before:
Breakfast – cup of tea
Lunch – chicken salad and a bag of savoury rice
Dinner – local kebab or KFC
Snacks – Carte D’or mint chocolate ice cream, Walkers’ Thai sweet chill crisps and Cadbury’s Dairy Milk
Drinks – fizzy drinks

Diet now:
Breakfast – smashed avocado, one boiled egg and smoked salmon
Lunch – shredded chicken, peppers and cheese
Dinner – chicken and a boiled egg
Drinks – Lots of water with sugar-free squash

Charlotte’s continuing weight loss journey can be found on TikTok @raisinghadley

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