One nurse found a silver lining in the COVID-19 pandemic. She was able to shed five dress sizes after spending hours on the job wearing layers of PPE. The experience led to a dramatic transformation, and she says she couldn’t be happier with her new body.
The COVID-19 Workout
Sarah Wynter, 39, is an ICU nurse at the Hereford County Hospital in the U.K. She remembers being a size 22 when the pandemic first reared its ugly head. As a mother of two, she knew her weight put her at greater risk of severe illness if she were to catch the virus.
Working in layers of PPE as a larger person isn’t easy. She remembers struggling to get through her 12-hour shifts and was left “exhausted and sweating all day” under all that extra safety gear.
With her 40th birthday approaching, Wynter decided to change her life for the better after seeing how deadly the virus could be for overweight individuals.
She also joined a local weight loss company called Slimmer World, and she was able to lose five and a half dress sizes in just 12 months.
Wynter, who is just 5 feet and 6 inches tall, says at her heaviest, she weighed 244 lbs., but now she’s down to a much healthier weight of 168.
“As an intensive care nurse during the pandemic that was a real eye opener to me,” she said. “I saw first-hand what the virus did to patients with an increased BMI and thought if I ever got COVID, I would be the person in that bed.”
She says she also wanted to set a good example for her patients.
“Also, if I was going to be giving anybody some sort of health advice about eating and I’m overweight, it’s a bit pot kettle black,” she added.
She admits that wearing all that extra PPE was a real struggle when she was trying to save lives.
“It was so hot, and I was sweating all day long. My feet ached and my legs ached. Everything hurt,” she explained. “Every time I had a break, I would have to get changed because I would sweat that much.”
She was also embarrassed that she was usually the last person to cross the finish line at her kid’s rowing races, usually finishing the race 25 minutes after the other parents.
“Also, both my children row, and when we would go to events pre-pandemic some of the parents would run while their children were rowing and cheer. But I couldn’t do that. I felt I was losing out hugely. I would never see my children at the finish line. I would always be 25 minutes late because I would still be walking,” she said.
She saw turning 40 as a major milestone, perfect for turning over a new leaf.
“I wanted to have a completely different outlook on life at 40,” she said. “I wasn’t really active at all. I would have things like croissants and pastries and biscuits in the morning and then maybe for lunch baguette and chips. And then quite often I would stop at a chip shop on the way home from work.”
She’s replaced her morning routine with yogurt, fresh fruit, or oats. For lunch and dinner, she often makes homemade stir-fry or pasta salad.
She also says Slimmer World helped her stick to her new lifestyle.
“What I love about it [Slimming World] is that you are never hungry,” she said. “There is nothing you can’t have, so I still eat everything I love. I just adapt it and cook with less fat. You just have to change your mindset and be more organized.”
After months of sweating through her protective gear, she says she can finally get through a shift without changing her clothes.
“I still work in intensive care. I still wear full PPE, and not once do I have to get changed,” she said. “I loved my job before, but I enjoy it more now because I am not so tired all the time. It’s literally changed my life.”
We’re so proud of Wynter for reaching her weight loss goal. The pandemic may be awful, but it reminds us to look after our own health.