By Jasmine Kazlauskas
A morbidly obese mum who was told she would DIE before her daughter grew up has shed half her bodyweight in a jaw-dropping transformation – despite not being able to work out.
Mum-of-one Ali Richards, 34, began piling on the pounds during her pregnancy with Kirsten, now 14, and continued to gain weight over the years – until she reached a whopping 125kg (19st 9lbs) in 2006.
But now after swapping her 4000-calorie-a-day takeaway addiction for healthy salads, the slimmed-down mum dropped six dress sizes and swapped her frumpy size 22 clothes for sexy size 8-10 threads which flatter her new 65kg (10st 3lbs) frame.
Merchandiser Ali, from Auckland, New Zealand, ‘half-heartedly’ managed to shed 27kg (4st 3lbs) over six years after first deciding she wanted to lose weight in 2006.
But in 2013, she still tipped the scales at 98kg (15st 6lbs) and was told by doctors she was suffering from lethally-high cholesterol levels which could cause a fatal heart attack at any moment.
During a routine check-up the young mum was delivered a bone chilling ultimatum – lose weight or die before your daughter grows up – and the death sentence saw her turn her life around.
And amazingly, Ali has now shed a total of 60kg (9st 6lbs) despite having to give up prolonged vigorous exercise in 2017 after being officially diagnosed with endometriosis.
She said: “My doctor told me if I didn’t lose weight, I wouldn’t be around to see my kid grow up.
“I was in complete shock and I instantly went cold all over.
“I didn’t realise how obese I was and that I was facing an early grave.
“To me, that was absolutely horrific. I felt faint when I heard those words coming out of her mouth.
“It was like I was being stabbed right through the heart.
“But it was definitely the reality check that I needed at the time.
“I knew I had to be around to support my daughter throughout her life.
“From that day, I’ve never looked back.
“I joined a gym a week later and slowly began changing my diet. Before I knew it, the weight was dropping off.”
Ali’s weight loss journey was fraught with different hardships that made it even more difficult for her to slim down.
In 2005, she began noticing a dull ache in her lower abdomen that slowly worsened over the years.
She had undiagnosed endometriosis, a disorder which causes inflammation and chronic pain, and her attempts at exercise were actually exacerbating the condition.
The mum eventually saw a doctor when the pain became so severe that it felt like “someone tearing out” her uterus “with their bare hands”.
Ali’s doctor suggested she could have endometriosis in July 2016 but needed to wait until March 2017 for surgery to explore her condition further.
Keyhole surgery in 2017 confirmed that Ali was suffering from endometriosis, which can also make losing weight more difficult due to hormone imbalances.
Ali, who is facing a hysterectomy later this year, had to focus on her eating habits to ensure she could still lose weight after doctors banned her from prolonged vigorous exercise and told her it could make her condition worse.
She dropped the weight by switching takeaways and huge portion sizes for healthy protein and quitting sugar and carbs and now even eats her meals from a small side plate to monitor her portion sizes.
Ali said: “By 2016 I couldn’t understand why my weight had plateaued.
“I was doing all the right things, but nothing was coming off.
“Then I began experiencing this horrible pain in my stomach, like period pain but to the extreme.
“I tried to ignore it, but it only got worse. It was like someone ripping out my uterus. I was in complete agony.
“Doctors eventually suggested that I might have endometriosis and this was confirmed with keyhole surgery a few months later.
“I never focused too intently on my diet before but after that I really needed to overhaul the way I was eating.
“When I was big, I used to eat so much fried food and greasy takeaways.
“I’d have fish and chips three nights a week. I’d have a large big mac meal for lunch.
“I’d devour those large springs rolls from the local takeaway shop and eat loads of hot chips nearly every day.
“Then I’d treat myself with a cream donut or custard pie from the bakery.
“If I wasn’t having takeaway for lunch, I’d eat two-and-a half or three egg sandwiches.
“Then for dinner would be a huge hunk of meat with potatoes and some vegetables.
“I had a real problem with portion control.
“That’s all changed now. I use a side plate for all my meals and I still feel satisfied.
“I’ll have a protein shake for breakfast.
“Lunch will be a salad, and dinner is usually a good protein like chicken with some vegetables.
“I’ve cut out most carbs and sugar.
“I feel so much healthier and alive. It’s incredible how the foods you eat can make such a huge difference.”
Ali said that her good eating habits have even rubbed off on her teenage daughter Kirsten, who now regularly asks for salads and vegetables instead of takeaways, which the mum said never happened before.
The mother-daughter duo now even enjoy cooking healthy meals and getting fit together.
Ali also said that her beloved fiancé Peter, 56, has always been a source of “love and support” throughout her weight loss journey.
She said: “They’ve always been there for me throughout this entire thing.
“Their support means the world to me and I never could have done it without them.
“I’m such a happier mum and partner now.
“My life has completely changed for the better.”
Ali’s Diet Before
Breakfast: Coffee with a cream donut or custard pie (550 calories)
Mid-morning Snack: Packet of chips (300 calories)
Lunch: A large big mac meal or 3 egg salad sandwiches (1,350 calories)
Afternoon snack: Spring rolls with hot chips (600 calories)
Dinner: Big steak and mashed potato with vegetables or fish and chips (1,200 calories)
TOTAL: 4,000 calories
Ali’s Diet Now:
Breakfast: Protein shake and a banana (310 calories)
Mid-morning: Piece of fruit (80 calories)
Lunch: Omelette with broccoli and cheese (350 calories)
Afternoon Snack: Low calorie jelly with lite custard (60 calories)
Dinner: Chicken with vegetables or salad (450 calories)