Wigan grandmother's 'life has changed' thanks to diet success - and she wants to inspire others
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Sarah Gall, who lives in Standish, knew something needed to be done when the pounds crept on and arthritis was causing real problems.
She decided to try a new diet and not only solved the issues, but kept them under control for the past 15 years.
Sarah, now 62, first started gaining weight while training to be a church organist, when she says she spent too much time sitting and not enough exercising.
“I was grabbing a meal here and there and it was processed food like a sausage roll,” she said. “It just built up and I got really overweight without realising it.
“Then I got really bad arthritis in my spine. I couldn’t move and was stuck in bed. The doctor couldn’t really help me because all the medicines he gave me made me violently sick. He told me to come off the medication and I was in total agony.”
Sarah turned to a book named Treating Arthritis The Drug-Free Way, by Margaret Hills, which her daughter had spotted online.
She decided to follow its advice and overhauled her diet in an attempt to lose weight and she soon saw results.
Sarah, who has four children and four grandchildren, said: “It said to cut out fatty foods and food that would make you put on weight.
“After three months I didn’t have any pain from the arthritis, it had gone, and my weight had dropped.
“I was able to exercise more and I have never looked back.”
Sarah ditched process food and cooked everything from scratch, even her porridge for breakfast and biscuits as a treat.
She said: “If you cook a meal from scratch you know what you putting into it.
“I had to cut out butter and full-fat cheese, and I had to go to skimmed milk and, of course, I couldn’t have cream of anything like that.”
Sarah’s diet also included more unusual additions in the form of drinking cider vinegar and honey diluted every day and eating black molasses after every meal.
“I’m not sure why these things work but they do,” she said.
Losing weight and managing arthritis has allowed Sarah to become more active, first walking around the block with her husband and then taking up swimming and now cycling.
She enjoys gardening, does not feel as tired as when she was overweight and says she gets fewer coughs and colds.
She said: “My life has changed completely, from someone who just sat around and ate and practised playing the organ to someone who is really active and going for walks and cycling and eating much healthier foods as well.”
Sarah does not know how much weight she lost as she did not have scales at the time, but thinks it could be more than four stone.
And she has continued following the diet ever since to ensure she remains in good health, saying the “fear” that the painful arthritis could return has motivated her all this time.
She said: “I’m frightened of putting on weight again so I’m still sticking to the diet and I feel pretty brilliant!”
Sarah believes the diet could change other people’s lives, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic, as they may have gained weight during lockdown or have concerns about links between the illness and obesity.
She has produced booklets featuring her experiences and favourite recipes, which she sells online. She also has a Facebook group to help people following the diet.
Sarah said: “I thought I would let people know about this and give people hope that if they are overweight like I used to be, then they can get it off and they might feel better for it.
“It might give people hope if they have put weight on over lockdown or just gradually.”
To find out more, go to the Arthritis Recovery Facebook page or Sarah’s website www.arthritisrecovery.co.uk.