Eyes on The Fries


Zoe’s chip addiction was causing her to go blind..


Opening the polystyrene box, I grabbed a wooden fork and speared as many chips as I could fit in my mouth.


As usual, I’d had a rough day at school and was consoling myself with my favourite food.  ‘Everything ok, love?’ my mum Kathleen asked.

‘Fine,’ I lied.  But the truth was, aged 13, I was overweight, being bullied and miserable.


At 18, I fell pregnant and have birth to a little girl, Caitlin.  I adored being a mum, but my eating habits only got worse.  Whenever I was down or stressed, I’d head straight to the chippy.


Aged 30, I weighed 22 stone and wore a size 26.  I struggled walking up even a single flight of stairs and I felt weak and tried all the time.  I went to my GP, and she sent me for a blood test.  Days later, a nurse called with the results, ‘Zoe, you have type 2 diabetes,’ she said.  She explained that my body could no longer regulate its blood sugar levels, and my obesity was the likely cause.  Untreated, it could lead to eye problems, heart disease and kidney failure.  ‘Your blood sugar is very high,’ she continued.  ‘If you don’t change your lifestyle, you could go blind’.  Hanging up, I pictured my girl Caitlin.  I was overcome with guilt.  Aged 13, she was overweight too. What kind of example am I setting her? I thought.  Next day, I had an appointment with the diabetes nurse.

She gave me a healthy-eating plan, in the hope I could control my condition without medication.  At first I was good.  I stuck to the plan and avoided the chippy.  But old habits die hard and I soon fell back into my old ways.


In time my vision started to go blurry.  I found myself on diabetic medication and being referred to a sight-loss clinic.  Sat in the waiting room, it hit me.  I was eating myself blind.


Determined to change, I joined  a local weight loss group called We Slim Together.  After a year of following their healthy recipes, I’d lost seven stone. I even scooped up a Star Slimmer of the Year award.


‘Zoe?’ friends gasped when they saw me.  ‘We didn’t recognise you!’.  Now I’m 10 stone 8lbs, off my medication and my vision is back to normal.  And I’m not the only one who’s happier and healthier.  ‘What do you think? Caitlin, now 16 asked recently, twirling in her new sparkly prom dress.  ‘Gorgeous!’ I smiled.  She’s lost over a stone, and looks amazing.  She’s a chip off the old block for all the right reasons.