The children’s slide at the soft play centre was not for adults, but when Adele Johnson’s five-year-old son Pete begged her to join him on it she couldn’t say no.
But as the plastic creaked beneath her 18st 3lb bulk , Adele panicked, fearing the slide could collapse at any second.
She got down, bottom squeezed tight by the slide, but when Pete excitedly begged her to go again, she finally accepted her weight was a problem.
“The creak I heard as we came down the slide was such a shock,” says Adele.
“It was a big slide so the fact I had come close to breaking it made me take a step back and realise I needed to take action.”
The married mum of one, from St Austell, Cornwall, said she was in denial about her weight for several years.
“I’m an emotional eater and it got worse once Pete started at school as I would just eat because I had nothing else to do,” says Adele, 37.
“I also ate more when I was sad or mad as I thought it would make me feel better.
“But I would feel worse about myself and then eat more. It was a terrible cycle.”
While Pete ate healthy fresh food , stay-at-home mum Adele would snack on chocolate biscuits and crisps, and fill herself up with big plates of pasta. In the evenings she would gorge on takeaways .
“I knew it was bad but I just got into bad habits,” she says.
After nearly breaking the slide Adele knew she had to shed the pounds for her son. “He was so upset as I refused to go on the slide again,” she says.
“So I promised myself I would lose enough weight to get back on it safely for his sixth birthday in March.
“I had eight months, and his happiness was all the motivation I needed.”
At size 22, 5ft 3ins Adele was too self-conscious to go to the gym. So in August last year she splashed out £450 on a treadmill for her living room.
“I would use it at home in my spare time,” says Adele.
“I went on it three times a day – before the school run, and then two more times during the day.
“I would switch the TV on and watch while I was walking to make the time go quicker.”
It was during one of these workouts that she saw a reality TV programme where women were going to beauty salons and paying for expensive “inch-loss wraps”.
“It was one of the programmes where the women are rich and money is no object, and they would go to beauty salons where they were wrapped in clingfilm for an hour and would lose an inch off their waists and thighs.
“I thought it looked like a great idea but there was no way I could justify spending that amount of money.
“I realised I could try a cheaper alternative by putting clingfilm around my problem areas when I worked out.
“I knew it was crazy but I wanted to give it a go and see if it would help me sweat more out, and there was no harm in that.”
Adele bulk-bought clingfilm from the supermarket and started wrapping it around her belly before workouts, hoping it would increase the fat reduction on her stomach area.
“That was my target area as my son had always innocently joked about my ‘jelly baby belly’ – because my tummy was so flabby it wriggled,” says Adele. “He’d also call me a sausage roll.
“I started wrapping at least 10 layers around my middle and then walking on the treadmill for an hour at a time.
“I definitely sweated more and that kept me motivated to keep going – it was like I could feel the fat melting off.”
Soon she was also wrapping her belly in clingfilm before leaving the house for the school run and to go shopping.
“It was great to be able to burn off extra calories doing everyday things and with people around me being none the wiser,” she laughs.
Adele also revamped her diet and started eating healthier to compliment her new regime – which had been so successful she managed to shed more than five stone in eight months.
“I stopped all the junk food and focused on protein and vegetables instead, like fish and vegetables,” Adele says.
“I started getting on the treadmill when I was bored instead of eating rubbish and I felt so much better for it.
“I never really drank water at all before, but because I was sweating so much I felt quite dehydrated so I needed to make sure that I was taking enough on.
“Now I drink a glass at least every hour or so.”
As the weight fell , Adele’s motivation was boosted.
And when Pete was able to reach his arms around her waist for a hug she finally felt excited about the prospect of going back down the slide with him.
“He was delighted he could give me a proper hug and that was when I realised how far I had come,” she says.
When Pete’s sixth birthday arrived in March, Adele threw a party for him at the soft play area where her weight-loss journey began.
“In the eight months since nearly breaking the slide I had lost five stone and made it down to a size 14,” she says.
“It felt amazing to get back on the slide and just enjoy it without worrying I was going to bring it all down around me.
“Pete was dressed as Captain Marvel for the party. He was so excited that I was going down the slide with him.
“As the weight had been coming off I had been starting to be able to do more and more activities with him and this was the final thing ticked off the list.
“I feel like a new woman and I’m so happy to be able to be the fun mum my son has longed for.”
Adele is continuing with her clingfilm workouts, although she’s now eased off to walking six to eight kilometres five times a week instead of the 12km sessions she had been doing.
On average, she uses up a roll of clingfilm a day. And she says the cost is a snip compared to the expense of having regular professional inch-loss wraps that can cost hundreds of pounds.
Adele says: “My plan was never to be skinny, and I’ll be happy when I get to size 12, but I want to take it slowly as I think that’s the best way to keep the weight off long-term.
“Until then I’ll keep doing what I’m doing – but clingfilm will never be the same in our house again!”
- Adele’s weight before: 18st 3lbs
- Dress siz: 22
- Adele’s weight now: 12st 9lb
- Dress size: 14
- Breakfast: Nothing
- Lunch: Big plate of pasta and sauce
- Dinner: Large fish and chips or Chinese takeaway, pizza or burger
- Snacks: Bacon sandwich, chocolate biscuits, crisps
- Breakfast: Lemon water, cereal with skimmed milk
- Lunch: Egg and tomato sandwich
- Dinner: Glass of water followed by salmon or chicken and vegetables
- Snacks: banana or orange, water