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“I felt ashamed of eating and would gorge myself on chocolate and crisps in secret… close to 4,000 calories a day”

Lifestyle

“I felt ashamed of eating and would gorge myself on chocolate and crisps in secret… close to 4,000 calories a day”

My family called me “the fat one” & it almost ruined my life – now I help other women get theirs back…

When Buckinghamshire local Sharan Verma, 41, was being bullied for the way she looked, she turned to comfort eating as a way to cope. After her family labelled her as “the fat one” for years, her confidence was ruined – until she hired a personal trainer and began taking pride in her appearance.

Now, she’s a nutrition coach building a business helping other women love their own bodies. Sharan explains that growing up overweight with glasses and braces made for a difficult time at school. While she explains that it was well-intentioned, her family would frequently refer to her as “the fat one”, leading to a spiral of comfort-eating in secret.

“Your family circle are supposed to be your cheerleaders. I think they were trying to motivate me but it just made me feel worse and even more alone. It gave me an unhealthy relationship with food, I felt ashamed of eating and would gorge myself on chocolate and crisps in secret. I’d eat to fill a numbness, I was consuming close to 4,000 calories a day”.

Sharan’s food shame meant that she began abstaining from carbohydrates and skipping meals to lose weight, but found no success until she hired a personal trainer.

“It took me breaking a chair to decide I had to make a change. It really made all the difference working with someone who knows about nutrition and creating healthy sustainable weight loss. I lost just over 2 stone in a year but I was always told to focus on how I’m feeling instead of numbers”.

Sharan explains that after losing weight, she began to take more pride in her appearance, and noticed that people began treating her with more respect.

“All of a sudden my opinions started to count. Doors were held open for me and I was no longer the butt of jokes. I started to get attention from the opposite sex for the first time. I was 23 when I was asked out on a date for the first time. It made me despise how people treat others who are overweight. They’re presumed to be lazy and uneducated and there’s much more harsh judgement of overweight women compared to men. You only need to look at how larger ladies are portrayed in sitcoms”.

Sharan explains that she enjoyed newfound confidence until her father passed away from liver cirrhosis at the age of 60.

“He wasn’t a drinker, none of us were expecting it. Fatty liver is a silent killer and a big cause of death, but its only real symptoms are fatigue and body aches, so it’s easy to go under the radar. My dad’s passing spurred me on to study nutrition more so I can help people live healthier lifestyles and make them more aware of how to look out for signs of fatty liver disease”.

Sharan now runs her business Nutrition & You, helping to educate women on nutrition and creating healthy weight loss while supporting The British Liver Trust through yearly donations and promoting them on platforms such as BBC Asian Network and UK Health Radio.

“Nutrition & You helps women ditch their diet mindset and focus on embracing their mind, body and soul through meal planning and mindset coaching to cultivate a healthy relationship with their body.”

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