Obese woman Lynn Flitcroft decided to reclaim her life after deadly brain disease encephalitis left her illiterate

'First I lost my memory, then I lost 11 stone': Morbidly obese woman reclaims her life after a deadly brain disease left her illiterate
Lynn Flitcroft, 35, from Cumbria, would often eat Mars bars for breakfastShe caught encephalitis after her husband left her
She was unconscious for two weeks, then woke up and didn't recognise her four-year-old sonDecided to turn her life around, and dropped from almost 25 stone to under 14 stone

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UPDATED:

13:24 GMT, 29 August 2012

Weighing in at almost 25 stone, Lynn Flitcroft had been unhappy with her size all her adult life.

Her typical daily diet consisted of a Mars Bar for breakfast, a baguette with
lots of butter and mayonnaise for lunch and a greasy takeaway for dinner. An endless supply of sugary snacks kept her satisfied throughout the day.

And in the end it took a life-threatening brain disease that left her unconscious for two weeks and then unable to read, write or even recognise her own son to motivate a dramatic change in her lifestyle.

Now Lynn, from Barrow, Cumbria, has
turned her life around, having dropped 11 stone and nine dress sizes,
and taught herself to read again.

Lynn Flitcroft, from Cumbria, before she dropped 11 stone and nine dress sizes after being spurred on to rebuild her life after contracting encephalitis

Lynn Flitcroft, from Cumbria, before she dropped 11 stone and nine dress sizes after being spurred on to rebuild her life after contracting encephalitis

Lynn said: 'My husband left me and I became really depressed In the
summer of 2004, and
ended up getting very run down and contracting encephalitis – an
inflammation of the brain tissue.

'I was unconscious for two weeks and my
mum and dad were told I might not come round – and that if I did, I was
likely to be severely brain damaged.'

Lynn did wake up, but although she recognised her parents, she didn't remember very much else.

She couldn't remember how to read or write and she didn't even know who her four-year-old son Matthew was.

'My memory came back
gradually, and although I could walk and talk I had to learn to read and
write again. It was a very scary time, especially for my parents.'

After making her recovery, Lynn decided to reclaim her life in every way and began a drastic diet.

Lynn Flitcroft, at her current weight, demonstrating how much smaller she is sinc joining Slimming World in 2009 and finding the strength to slim down

Lynn Flitcroft, at her current weight, demonstrating how much smaller she is sinc joining Slimming World in 2009 and finding the strength to slim down

But finding it difficult to keep the weight off without any help, Lynn took the advice of a friend and joined her local Slimming World in 2009.

She recalls: 'I remember I felt very
nervous and scared going to the first meeting, and when I got weighed
that first time, seeing the numbers on the scale was horrendous.

I was motivated and positive after the class, but in my head I knew I wanted to lose 10 stone and that seemed so far away.'

But instead of feeling overwhelmed, Lynn set small, sensible, short-term goals and lost 10lbs in the first week.

Nearly three years on, Lynn – whose son Matthew is now 11 – has dropped 11 stone 3lbs and is close to her dream weight.

She has also shrunk from a dress size 32 to a size 14 on top
and size 18 on her bottom half.

She says: 'Your head and your heart really has to be
in it. When I signed up for Slimming World I put my heart and soul into
it.'

Lynn Flitcroft with her Slimming World Woman Of The Year 2012 award which she won after losing over 11 stone

Lynn Flitcroft with her Slimming World Woman Of The Year 2012 award which she won after losing over 11 stone

Since losing weight Lynn has had such a self-confidence boost that she has rejoined the Barrow Amateurs dramatic society.

'I auditioned to be a dancer in our production of Chess in May
and got in – it was a massive boost to my confidence and meant I was
getting lots of exercise, too!'

But she still gets a shock when she sees photos of
her new self: 'My head hasn't caught up with my body yet. When I saw the
pictures of myself in the show I couldn't believe that was really me.'

Lynn,
who was voted slimmer of the year 2012 by her group leader, says that
the best advice she has for anyone who wishes to lose weight is to join a
slimming class.

She says: 'Take the first step and go to a class.
The other big bit of advice I would say to anyone is to go to the class
every week, you get a lot of support and make friends and nobody judges
you.'