An overweight woman whose breathing was so bad she frightened sheep in the fields has turned her life around by losing six stones in weight.
Inspirational Elisabeth Sharples, who lives in Barrow with her husband, Dave, weighed 18 stones at her heaviest.
The 46-year-old attended Bowland County Secondary School and left with no qualifications.
She suffered from depression for years, but sat at home eating and not going out due to low self-esteem.
However, things are now beginning to look up for Elisabeth who has gone from a size 28 to a svelte size 12 and is now a qualified fitness instructor.
She said: “I think looking back I had depression for a long time, but never realised it. I have never really had any belief in myself either. My main reason for losing weight was my health and my local GP advised me to lose weight.
My six stone weight loss has given me the motivation to accept that I can do anythingElisabeth Sharples
“My friends encouraged me to attend Slimming World in 2010.
“It took me about a year to lose weight, but during this time I realised that I had to start exercising.
“Therefore, I began walking more, but my breathing was so bad that I used to scare sheep in the fields! I decided to take the plunge and the same year completed the 5k Amelia Cup at Moorland School. Although I finished last, it gave me the confidence to continue taking part in other races.”
In 2011, Elisabeth took part in her first half marathon – the Glasgow Half Marathon. She said: “A couple of months before the race I twisted my knee, but this is when I met Garry Wilkinson – my first inspirational person, who is a personal trainer and sports massage therapist in the Ribble Valley.
“He ensured I received the correct treatment for my knee and I was able to finish the race in two hours and 45 minutes.”
Since then there’s been no stopping Elisabeth. She has completed The Loch Ness Marathon in five hours and 27 minutes, Coniston Marathon in six hours and 30 minutes in July 2013 and last year The Grizedale Duathlon at Grizedale Forest Park. She also completed the Yorkshire Marathon.
Speaking about her new-found confidence, Elisabeth said: “My six stone weight loss has given me the motivation to accept that I can do anything. In 2011 I met my second inspirational person, Sam Hughes.
“With her help I started to believe in myself and last year started an Open University foundation degree in sport and fitness. I have just finished my second year and I have also successfully passed my Level 2 Gym Instructor and Run England qualifications.
“Earlier this year I passed my Level 3 personal trainer exams.”
Elisabeth is now passing on her expertise and inspiring others by holding a class at Foxfields Hotel, in Billington, on exercise and nutrition, which began yesterday. The next one is on June 26th.
She added: “I have another class starting up at Pendleton mainly for athletes on how to improve their core muscles.
“My life has been one huge roller coaster and I am currently feeling great.
“My husband, Dave, thinks he has a new wife, my mum Paula Karmann and 26-year-old son, Luke, are all extremely proud of me.”