Zoe Foster boarded a plane home after a holiday in Spain but said she “wanted to disappear” after she was unable to fasten her seat belt.
Ms Foster from Scunthorpe told the Grimsby Telegraph: “The seat belt would not fasten and to my horror, I was shamed by the air hostess. She walked down the aisle swinging a bright orange belt extension saying loudly: ‘Who’s the lady who needs this?’
“I wanted the floor to open up so I could disappear.
“I made my mind up there and then – I would never let this happen to me again.”
Just two days later, Ms Foster joined her local Slimming World group and was making amazing progress in the first weeks, losing over three stone.
Unfortunately, her hard work came to a halt when she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, an autoimmune and inflammatory disease.
Ms Foster said: “I became almost bed-bound. I couldn’t drive or go to work.”
Just as her condition was improving thanks to medication, she had another debilitating health emergency.
She said: “I had a spontaneous ruptured spleen. I had surgery to remove my spleen and was in ICU for several days and in hospital for a month.
“After three months rehabilitating, I came through and was so happy to be alive, thanks to our wonderful NHS.”
She said she “ate her way through recovery” and put back on the 3st 5lbs she had just lost: “I was so depressed and upset with myself but I would put a brave face on and go out with friends, where I consumed large amounts of alcohol and after drinking it was usually followed by a kebab or something like.
“My friends supported me and loved me for who I was, but I really didn’t like myself very much.”
This motivated Zoe to re-join Slimming World and she started seeing progress again.
She said: “I got new motivation and suddenly I was in the right headspace. I started to lose weight again.
“I gradually built up my body magic and now I do about 12,000 steps a day. On average 60 to 70 minutes exercise every day by walking, cycling and online exercise classes.”
Ms Foster has now gone from a size 26 to a size 16-18. She added: “I have attained the target weight I set and got my eight stone award.
“The benefits to my health are great. I was on the waiting list for knee replacements but no longer need this done at present. I rarely have Rheumatoid and my blood pressure is normal for the first time in years.
“It hasn’t always been easy, but I have got to say it’s been worth it and now feel I am living the best life I can even in today’s difficult climate.”
Additional reporting by Paige Freshwater.