A fizzy pop addict turned to drinking ten cans of Irn-Bru a day to cope with losing her home and job.
Now Shannon Palmer has lost five and a half stone in just one year – after switching to a sugar-free version of her favourite drink.
Shannon had her life turned “upside down” after the childhood home she shared with her parents was burned down in an accident in March 2017.
To add to her misery Shannon was sacked from work the very next day.
The 26-year-old fell into a “deep depression” and turned to takeaways and Irn-Bru to help her cope – guzzling ten cans every day.
Over the next few months she ballooned from a size 12 to a size 24 and tipped the scales at over 17 stone by summer 2017.
But the inspirational dementia carer turned her life around after a trip to a beach resort in Spain in September 2018 left her feeling “disgusted” and “afraid” to wear a bikini.
Shannon, from Bradford, West Yorks., was introduced to Slimming World in November 2018 and lost five and a half stone in a year – by eating healthily while still enjoying sugar-free Irn-Bru.
Her instagram page detailing her weight loss journey @thelittlelifeofshazzap boasts nearly 30k followers – and she hopes it will help inspire young girls who’re struggling with their weight.
Addicted to Irn-Bru
Describing her reaction to her house fire, which happened when a tumble dryer exploded, Shannon said: “I was heartbroken after the fire, we lost everything.
“All of my childhood disappeared with the fire. I had nothing after that. My mum nearly died in the fire and I was made redundant at work the next day – after working there for four years.
“I was bullied a lot at school – so for me eating was a coping mechanism. Food was my refuge.
“I’ve always loved fizzy pop. I’m addicted to Irn-Bru – it’s just so sweet.
“Mum wouldn’t let me drink it but I would buy it on the way home from school and the obsession continued into being an adult.
“I ate five or six takeaways each week and drank ten Irn-Brus. I was eating through my depression but I just wanted to be happy.
“Some people have drugs, drink, gambling – I had food.”
After struggling with her weight as a young girl, Shannon had taken to starving herself to compete with her “petite friends”.
She would squeeze herself into dresses by wearing two spandex to “suck” her fat in.
But, when she put the weight back on, it wasn’t until a family trip to Salou in September 2018, Shannon said she felt “disgusted” with herself after trying to fit into a bikini.
The following month, she was introduced to Slimming World by her boyfriend’s sister Amy Pugh, and was devastated when she discovered she weighed 17st 4llbs.
At the time she’d been gorging herself with five or six takeaways each week and never left her home – preferring crisps, chocolates, fizzy pop and Netflix to any outdoor activities.
Since joining Slimming World she says she lost weight each week – other than on her birthday – and is now 11 stone for the first time in “forever”.
‘It’s about moderation’
Speaking about how cutting out sugar-filled fizzy drinks helped her lose weight, Shannon said: “I wouldn’t have managed to keep up with the diet if I had to stop drinking Iron Bru completely which is why switching to sugar free has been so helpful.
“If I don’t have one I’ll start feeling funny and get a little angry.
“You can’t expect people to stop enjoying something they love – it’s about moderation.
“I wouldn’t have managed to keep up with the diet if I didn’t switch to sugar-free Irn-Bru.”
Shannon has cut out takeaways from her diet and opts for fruits and vegetables whenever she can – but claims she doesn’t exercise or go to the gym.
She said: “I feel confident to go out, I feel like I’m the best version of myself. I managed to wear the same bikini for the first time a year later in the same place.
“It was emotional as I’d never felt so good – I felt fantastic.
“I’m the person I always wanted to be.
“I get lots of messages from people on Instagram who want to know how I turned it around.
“And I want to say there’s a healthy and realistic way for any girl to feel confident, and they don’t need to starve themselves.
“I don’t go to the gym and I don’t really exercise, I just eat healthily with the occasional cheat day.
“I still eat the occasional takeaway and eat chocolates and crisps, but I know when to stop.
“I feel like I respect myself a lot more now, it’s important to take care of yourself.”
Weight: 17st 4lbs
Dress size: 24
Breakfast: Fizzy pop, bar of chocolate, bacon sandwich, crisps, cake
Lunch: Fizzy pop, fish and chips, burgers, sandwich or pasty
Dinner: Fizzy pop, takeaway, muffins, crisps
Weight: 11st 13lbs
Dress size: 12
Breakfast: Weetabix or slimming world full english, fruit, slimming world hifi bar
Lunch: Pasta with salad, fruit
Dinner: Chicken or fakeaway kebab/pizza with salad and slimming world chips, Diet irn bru