Cheryl, of Brentwood, Essex, said: “After my husband Carl was gone my whole world fell apart.
“I was staying in all the time and just eating anything easy. It was a good six months of not cooking anything on the hob.
“I’d always be cooking Carl his favourite Sunday roast every weekend, but after he was gone I couldn’t face it.
“I suddenly found myself a single mum and I just didn’t know how to cope.
“But when I saw the photos of myself I realised how unhealthy I was, and then realised if I kept going the way I was, my kids wouldn’t have a mum.”
Cheryl saw her weight balloon from 15st to 21st and she became a social recluse as she tried to process her grief.
She said: “I didn’t have any get-up-and-go. I’d always order a takeaway for the kids as I didn’t have the energy or motivation to cook.
“The ease of getting a takeaway just masked the grief, like a pick-me-up.
“I just thought my life was rubbish – but at least this cake tasted good.”
She joked: “I think I was keeping Rowntree’s in business. I’d happily eat two £1 bags of Fruit Gums or Fruit Pastilles in one sitting.”
Cheryl finally woke up to her weight problem after seeing a snap on Facebook.
She said: “As soon as I saw the photo I was just shocked. There is no other word for it.”
She joined Slimming World and lost four stones in three months and a total of nine stones in 20 months.
She swapped Greggs sausage rolls, McDonald’s and Chinese takeaways for omelettes and home-cooked dinners.
Cheryl added: “I just want other people to know there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
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