TWO years ago Sharon Newson was running out of hope.
A compulsive overeater for more than 20 years, the Rotherham shopkeeper weighed 23.5 stone and suffered rock-bottom self-esteem and depression. She was reclusive, lonely and increasingly desperate.
Now aged 43, Sharon has shed more than eight stones and has a new lust for life.
The woman who once barely left the house is now confident, outgoing and active –a dramatic turnaround brought about by pair of TV doctors, one Sheffield Steeler and heaps of personal determination.
Sharon, from Parkgate, suffers polycystic ovary syndrome, which causes weight gain, high blood pressure and fertility problems.
But it was excessive facial and body hair that caused her most distress when it first afflicted her at 13.
Bullied at school Sharon found comfort in food.
“I was put on various pills and treatments that made little difference,” said Sharon, who runs Refreshing bookshop in Clifton, Rotherham. “I was humiliated by doctors who didn’t understand.
“I was frightened, bingeing and just existing.”
As her weight increased and her self-esteem dwindled, Sharon avoided social situations and struggled to hold down a job. But then a friend persuaded her try a support group. In October 2011, Sharon walked into an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.
“I was terrified, crying, shaking, but felt instantly at home,” she said.
“The people in the room knew exactly how I felt.”
A month in Sharon was contacted by researchers for Sky One’s Which Doctor, which airs on August 28.
The show involved Sharon being treated by doctor brothers Xand and Chris van Tulleken.
She ditched some of her blood pressure medicine and hit the gym with personal trainer Andy Jaszczyk, net minder for the Steelers.
She has now been training for eight months and has achieved a number of physical feats including hikes and bike rides.
“I’m doing stuff now that I never even dreamt possible,” she said.
“I love life now. I have a new lease of life. I’ve gone from a size 30 to a size 18 or 20. Everyone keeps asking me how I’ve done it.”
Sharon hopes to help others to lose weight.
Dr Chris said: “She is a true inspiration.”