Published: 06:00, 03 January 2020
A woman who used to drink a bottle of wine a night and devour cheese boards was left too terrified to eat after suffering a heart attack - aged just 38.
Jenni Saunders had been feeling poorly at work and was rushed to hospital when her arm went numb.
Doctors later warned her she had to lose weight, so she made dramatic changes to her diet.
And she has since shed an impressive 3st 9lbs and now weighs 12st 2lbs.
Jenni, whose family have a history of heart conditions, said: “I was at work in London and I felt unwell.
“Luckily the girl at reception asked, ‘did you say you couldn’t feel your arm?’ I was rushed to hospital and it was a bit of a shock to the system when I found out I had a heart attack.
“I actually lost quite a lot of weight at hospital because I was terrified to eat anything.”
"I would get home from work and crack open a bottle of wine a night - then hack into some cheese..." - Jenni Saunders
Soon after leaving hospital she joined Slimming World in Seasalter, on the recommendation of the British Heart Foundation.
And she quickly realised what changes she needed to make in her life to lower the risk of another heart attack.
“I was eating loads of butter, cream, takeaways, processed food, great big sandwiches and ate out a lot,” the 43-year-old says.
“Cheese and wine has always been my weakness. I would get home from work and crack open a bottle of wine a night - then hack into some cheese.”
Jenni has now incorporated more fruit and vegetables into her diet - and has stopped skipping breakfast and dodging carbs.
“Now I have porridge with fruit or a fry-up - with lots of eggs, ham, Linda McCartney sausages and I can have unlimited homemade chips,” she says.
“For years I have stayed away from carbohydrates but now I don’t. I always take a lunch into work which could be coq au vin, lasagne, curries and lots of stuff with vegetables now.”
She praised the team at Slimming World and the members who have given her the motivation to lose weight.
“It is just an incredible experience,” she said.
“I used to have quite bad back problems and I was taking lots of tablets.
“But now I have a dog who I take out for walks, I feel happier and I have better mental health. The nice thing about it is you meet loads of nice people.”
She still wants to lose more weight this year and has set a target of 11st 7lbs.
More by this authorBrad Harper