By Sarah Francis
An obese mum who packed on the pounds after breaking her neck left her unable to move for months has lost 10 stone.
Shantel Chiola, 27, was in car crash that broke her neck in TWO places and caused a stroke in 2011.
The Human Resources worker from Burley, Idaho, USA, gained even more weight after the birth of her child in 2014 and tipped the scales at 311lbs (22.2st) in 2016.
The extra podge caused Shantel to feel ‘ashamed’ for her husband, Chris, and she struggled to keep up with her two year old son.
Last summer, she opted for a gastric band, ditched her junk food and joined a gym which helped her to slim to 175lbs (12.5st).
Shantel said: “I felt like I was trapped in a foreign body and I would wince whenever I would get a glimpse of myself in a mirror.
“I hated my own reflection and was unhappy with my body which only lead to more weight gain.
“I had given up and was ready to just roll over and call it quits.
“I was miserable, I hated leaving the house and I felt bad that my husband had to be seen with me because he is in fairly good shape and when he met me I wasn’t obese.
“With my son, I struggled to do the simplest of things like giving him a bath.
“I couldn’t bend over because I would quickly run out of breath like my belly was squishing my lungs.
“I couldn’t play on the ground with him because I would have such a hard time getting up and when he started walking, I physically couldn’t keep up with him and all of his energy.”
Shantel’s battle with her weight began after a car accident in 2011, when she was driving home from college in Las Vegas.
She said: “While driving we hit black ice and ended up rolling our car several times.
“We were in the middle of nowhere, at night with no cell phone service.”
Six hours on, an ambulance took them to hospital where a CAT scan showed she had broken her c1 and c4.
While being airlifted to a specialist unit, a dissected vertebral artery caused a stroke and Shantel had to spend four weeks in ICU.
She said: “For four weeks, I was not allowed to move past a 30 degree angle and during this time the weight started to pile on and I struggled to get it off.
“Because of the stroke, I was unable to move the left side of my body for six months.
“The only problem I still have is that the top of my left leg is constantly numb.”
Then in 2014 she gave birth to her son Knox and gained more weight until she reached 311lbs in 2016.
She said: “I was eating horrible. I would eat fast food for almost every meal because I was too tired to get up and make a healthy meal.
“I never drank water and would only drink soda.
“I would say my weakness was anything breaded and deep fried.
“I struggled to do even the simplest activities and was so ashamed of how bad I had let myself go that I wouldn’t even take pictures with my family.
“Pretty much the whole first year of my son’s life I only have two pictures with him.
“One holiday my butt barely fit in the airplane seat. It was the most miserable flight. But I was too ashamed to ask for another seat.”
Shantel become the target of bullies because of her extra-large frame.
She added: “I think every person who is overweight goes through some kind of discrimination.
“When you are fat, it’s the first thing that people see about you and you have to work hard to overcome that negative impression.
“People would treat me like I wasn’t intelligent and would talk down to me.
“It’s almost as if people were afraid they may catch my fatness. ”
The turning point came when a doctor warned her she was heading towards diabetes.
She said: “I remember the day that I decided I needed to do something drastic to change my life.
“I had just visited my doctor and she had told me that I was pre-diabetic and that I would soon be a diabetic if I didn’t do something.
“I wasn’t fat and happy, I was just fat. I was even more driven to lose weight because I couldn’t keep up with my 2 year old.”
On July 18, 2016 she had a gastric sleeve and adopted a ketogenic diet, while working out three to four times a week.
She said: “I have so much energy now. When I was overweight, I didn’t realise that I wasn’t living, I was simply existing.
“I would go home from work and be so exhausted from the day that I wouldn’t want to leave the couch.
“Now I make it a priority to go to the gym and play outside with my son.
“I’m so very thankful that I got my life back not only for myself but for him.
“I am thankful that he has stuck by my side and has continued to support me through the bad times.
“My one piece of advice I could give anyone is to not give up and that you are worth it.”