Irish mum who sadly lost both parents and granny within months on her incredible six stone transformation
A mum whose parents and grandmother died within eleven months of one another has said that food became her only comfort during an incredibly dark time.
Alix Faulkner (39) said she was forced to confront her 16st 4lb (103kg) weight after her losing her parents and battling through a difficult pregnancy with gestionational diabetes.
“My weight really came to a head when I was in my early thirties and my mum was diagnosed with cancer. My dad had multiple sclerosis all his adult life. He’d also had cancer of the kidney and had needed to have a kidney removed. My mum took care of my dad’s treatment up North, which included home dialysis,” Alix told the Sunday World.
“Even though my mum was concerned about certain aspects of her health, she would never go to the doctor because she’d worry about who would look after my dad if she was in hospital. She put herself last.
“When she began to complain of a sore arm, my sister took her to the hospital, and they discovered she had cancer in her bones. It had spread. From then on, my weight wasn’t a priority.
“Travelling up and down to the North, you’re stopping in motorway petrol stations, getting large lattes, scones, buns, Burger King. In the hospital, you’re eating from the coffee shops. You don’t even think about what you’re eating. And you know what? I didn’t care,” she said.
The mum, who is from Armagh, but lives in Clonbullogue in Offaly, said she decided to move her wedding forward to April 2011 due to her parents’ ill health. Sadly, Alix lost her mum two months later in July and her father passed away 11 months later in May 2012.
“Myself and Will got engaged in April 2011 and we’d planned to get married in the September, but in June, my sister and Will suggested that we should move the wedding closer.
“We had six weeks to plan the wedding – we got married in the middle of July. Mum passed away two months later. I was blessed, I had both my parents there on my wedding day.
“In terms of weight, I look back on my wedding pictures now and I think ‘Oh my Lord’. I was on my way to 16 and a half stone.
“The months after the wedding were stressful. A month and a half after my mum passed away, I had a miscarriage.
“I remember sitting down at Christmas and eating an entire tin of Quality Street chocolates. Every night, there would be junk food and wine.
“It was a bad eight months. My granny died in late December and my father passed away the following May. It was the perfect storm,” she said.
By this point, Alix’s weight had crept up to 16st 4lb (103kg) and she rejoined Weight Watchers in Tullamore hoping that losing weight would make her dream of having a baby a reality. After losing two stone, Alix and her husband Will discovered they were expecting a baby, but her pregnancy would not be an easy run.
“When I was 11 weeks pregnant, I had terrible pain. I was taken to a hospital in Portlaoise, where it was discovered I had a 10cm ovarian cyst. I had to have surgery that day to remove an ovary and fallopian tube.
“It was high-risk surgery. The gynaecologist came around the next day and said, ‘I am so glad we operated on you, because you were bleeding out and if we hadn’t, you wouldn’t be here today.’
“I developed gestational diabetes through the pregnancy, but thankfully I could control it through diet, and my daughter Isabelle was born in October 2013.
“Isabelle was nine months old when I discovered I was pregnant with William. The diabetes went through the roof. I couldn’t control it with diet so I was on tablets. No matter what I ate, the sugars just went up, up, up.”
The mum said her experience with gestational diabetes inspired her to tackle her weight once and for all, and Alix threw herself towards her goal.
“I told myself, I did not want diabetes later on in life. My father had it. It’s in the family. I wanted my children to see a healthy Mum.
“I didn’t want my kids to look at me and worry. I needed to take responsibility. Yes, there was a time that I needed food as comfort but I didn’t need it anymore,” said Alix.
Alix now weighs 10st 13lb (69kg) and said her transformation has rubbed off on her whole family.
“In total, I have lost 5st 5lbs. By osmosis, my husband Will has lost three stone. He takes an active interest in it. We want to be good examples to our children.
“Last year, I started clerking at my meeting. I love it so much. It’s such a buzz to help people with something that you struggled with yourself. To be able to tell them, that yes, it sucks, but do you know what, there’s life at the end of that tunnel,” she said.