Watch: Meet the super grandma who lost weight on 18 and is now a bodybuilder
A grandmother whose height made it difficult to go frameless has lost an incredible 18. (114 kg) in weight and is now a super fit bodybuilder.
At her heaviest point, Dee Hodgson, 53, of Willenhall, West Midlands, weighed 28.11lbs (183kg) and was struggling to squeeze into a size 34 dress.
Her size left her in constant agony, and doctors suspected she was suffering from fibromyalgia — a long-term condition that causes pain throughout the body.
The mother-of-four and grandma of eight says her weight spiraled out of control after years of emotionally eating foods like chocolate and candy.
Believing that her sugary diet wasn’t helping her condition, Hodgson began a “caveman diet” — eating only “natural” foods like fresh vegetables and high-protein, low-fat meats.
Within six months, she had lost 6th place (80 pounds) without even setting foot in a gym.
Dee Hodgson posted an incredible 18th weight loss after deciding to make changes to her diet and lifestyle. (Dee Hodgson/SWNS)
After a year she was 12. (76 kg) lighter and feeling fitter and decided to join her local fitness center where she discovered her passion for fitness classes and working out.
Hodgson is now a 10-12 cut size and weighs 75 kg (11.11 lbs). She’s lost a whopping 18 (114 kg) and says she “feels like a completely different person”.
“My weight was out of control,” explains Hodgson, a psychiatric peer recovery worker.
“Initially I wasn’t on a diet to lose weight, I just wanted to feel better and relieve my health symptoms, but the pounds fell off me quickly and it gave me the motivation to keep going.
“I started going to the gym and fell in love with the workout. Then I tried bodybuilding – and absolutely loved it.”
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Dee Hodgson before her weight loss. (Dee Hodgson/SWNS)
Hodgson says her weight struggles have left her battling multiple health issues, including type 2 diabetes.
Her diet consisted of processed foods and hearty family meals like pasta or pizza, and she hadn’t exercised in years.
The story goes on
“My lack of exercise was so limiting,” she explains. “I was in pain all the time. I thought I was happy but now I look back and realize I was depressed and in pain.
“My life was very limited and I was very dependent on people, which was hard as I’m very independent. I was embarrassed.”
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The turning point came in 2016 when Hodgson realized she needed to change her lifestyle.
After Googling fibromyalgia, she found that processed foods, additives, and preservatives can make symptoms worse.
So she decided to eliminate those foods and swap them out for more natural foods.
“My new diet was very simple and it made it easier to stick to,” she explains.
“At first I didn’t notice the weight loss, but when I lost around 6th place I realized it was working and I might as well keep going.
“People started noticing the difference and I felt more flexible and healthier. That’s when I realized that another life was really possible.”
Hodgson says her weight loss has changed her life, pictured after losing weight. (Dee Hodgson/SWNS)
The confidence Hodgson gained from losing weight inspired her to join a gym.
“I remember looking around and thinking I don’t belong and I was so worried that people would judge me. But they really didn’t, and I soon found my groove,” she says.
Hodgson’s newfound love for the gym quickly yielded results and she can now do 700lb leg press, 180lb deadlift and 100lb bench press.
She will also compete in a bodybuilding competition at High Wycombe in November.
“I’m in Transfiguration class, so it’s all about the journey,” she explains.
“They will show a ‘before’ picture before I come on stage. It’s about showing how you built your body.
“I’m petrified but really excited! I’ve always had issues with my body image, but it’s all part of my recovery.
“It’s so far out of my comfort zone, I’ll be out in a tiny bikini flaunting all my scars and loose skin, but I’m hoping it will inspire others.”
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After losing nearly two-thirds of her body weight, Hodgson says her weight loss has had an incredible impact on her physical and mental health.
“I have so much more energy, I’m so much happier – it’s completely changed my life,” she says.
“It’s been so good for my mental health, but I’ve also seen such dramatic changes in my appearance – I hardly recognize myself.”
Looking back on her journey, Hodgson is grateful she made the choice to make the change.
“My son Will, 33, told me that he was afraid that he would soon have to tell his children, my grandchildren, that I had died because my health had gotten so bad,” she explains.
“I remember about a year into my trip when I was playing tag with my oldest granddaughter and she turned around and said, ‘Nanny, I didn’t know you could run.’
“And it’s moments like that that make it all worthwhile.
“Losing weight can be incredibly difficult, but I remember why I’m doing it and it motivates me.”
Hodgson has now discovered his love for bodybuilding. (Dee Hodgson/SWNS)
In addition to changing her diet and lifestyle, Hodgson credits bodybuilding with changing her life.
“Now I look at myself with pride,” she says.
“I don’t hate my reflection anymore, I really like the person who’s looking at me. I’m finally proud of my body.
“I had to change my lifestyle dramatically and have two surgeries to get rid of two pounds of excess skin I had after losing a lot of weight very quickly.
“It’s been a really challenging and emotional journey, but it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
“I take back the years that were stolen from me and own my future.”
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Breakfast – cereal or toast
Lunch – Enjoy the day with sandwiches, cakes or whatever suits you
Dinner – Hearty family meals such as rich cheese pasta, pizza, etc
Snacks – evening snacks with chips, biscuits, cakes
Drinks – Plenty of creamy coffee, hot chocolate
Breakfast – protein smoothie, protein omelet with chicken or fish
Lunch – Green salad with chicken sausage, yogurt
Dinner – Turkey Bolognese
Snacks – granola bars, rice cakes
Beverages – Black coffee, lots of water, protein powder in water (like pumpkin)
Additional reporting SWNS.