Woman who was fired from her job because she couldn't fit behind the bar wins slimming award 

10 mins read


An ex-barmaid who tipped the scales at 24st has revealed how she was fired for struggling to squeeze behind behind the counter – and went on to shed over 7st.

Karen Walters, 58, admitted feeling she had reached ‘rock bottom’ after being let go,  and making a pact to get healthier with her 27-year-old daughter.

Now the pair from Eastbourne, Sussex – who had both reached self-confidence lows – own their own weight loss consultancy, after completely transforming their lives in only a year.

Karen was initially delighted to get the job at her local yacht club, but quickly realised she’d been removed from the rota for all the weekends she’d been booked in to cover. 

Karen said when she confronted her boss – who ‘was hardly an oil-painting himself’ – he said she ‘took up too much room behind the bar’ despite larger men being employed as well.

She said she was left ‘devastated’ and quickly adopted a healthier diet, shedding over 7st.

Karen Walters, 58, who tipped the scales at 24st has revealed how she was fired for struggling to squeeze behind behind the counter - and went on to shed over 7st (pictured, with her daughter Anna-Louise after losing the weight)

Karen Walters, 58, who tipped the scales at 24st has revealed how she was fired for struggling to squeeze behind behind the counter – and went on to shed over 7st (pictured, with her daughter Anna-Louise after losing the weight)  

Karen pictured before losing more than 10 stone

Karen pictured before her transformation

Karen (pictured left and right before her weight loss) said when she confronted her boss – who ‘was hardly an oil-painting himself’ – he said she ‘took up too much room behind the bar’ despite larger men being employed as well

The pair had to deal with a difficult past when it came to self image. A few months before turning 50, Karen found out her husband had been having an affair with a ‘much slimmer woman’ and left the next day.

She also revealed that during her first post-divorce holiday, a stranger at the pool had asked her what if feels like to ‘always be the biggest person wherever you go’. 

Karen, who struggled to squeeze into a size 26 dress had always struggled with her size.

On a typical day, she would attempt to starve herself and end up hungry at night, ordering herself and Anna-Louise a takeaway or making a large portion of carb-heavy food.

Karen (pictured with her daughter before their weight loss) said the setback pushed her'into hermit mode', as she stopped seeing people and'kept herself to herself'

Karen (pictured with her daughter before their weight loss) said the setback pushed her ‘into hermit mode’, as she stopped seeing people and ‘kept herself to herself’

Anna-Louise (pictured with her mother after their transformation), who now weighs just 10st2lb, said she was'wowed' by her weight loss

Anna-Louise (pictured with her mother after their transformation), who now weighs just 10st2lb, said she was ‘wowed’ by her weight loss 

The pair would then sometimes wash the disproportionate meals down with a bottle of wine or two.

She added: ‘I knew I was too heavy because I couldn’t stand up in the shower because my back hurt too much. I’d been struggling to walk up the stairs.

‘Complete strangers used to come up to me and say the most awful, hurtful things, because apparently if you’re overweight, you don’t have feelings.’

Everything appeared to come to a head when Karen lost her job, and the duo decided to turn things around. 

The former barmaid found she wasn’t wasn’t being wanted for shifts on the weekends.

And things weren't much better for Anna-Louise, who weighed 18 stone and was left in bits when she broke a chair while out with friends

And things weren’t much better for Anna-Louise, who weighed 18 stone and was left in bits when she broke a chair while out with friends 

Anne-Louise (pictured before her weight loss) admitted:'After a few bottles of wine, it would all come out. We would be so tearful'

The 27-year-old (pictured after the weight-loss) revealed that the duo now have their'sparkle back' and enjoy doing things with their friends

Anne-Louise (pictured before and after her weight loss)  revealed that the duo now have their ‘sparkle back’ and enjoy doing things with their friends 

‘When I worked on the Friday night lots of people I knew were coming up for drinks, but then, when I turned up on the Saturday and Sunday, they didn’t want me,’ she explained. 

‘I had been used to people making everything about my weight and I think that’s why I pushed him to know the reason why I wasn’t wanted anymore.’

She admitted she felt ‘absolutely devastated’, ‘hurt’ and ‘mortified’.  

She revealed: ‘I burst into tears. Some people told me I should make a formal complaint, but I just wanted to get out of there.’ 

Karen said the setback pushed her ‘into hermit mode’, as she stopped seeing people and ‘kept herself to herself’. 

Karen added: ‘My heart broke the most when I saw my daughter feeling the same way I did.’ 

And things weren’t much better for Anna-Louise, who weighed 18 stone and was left in bits when she broke a chair while out with friends. 

Meanwhile her daughter’s weight had also gone up to 18st 2lb, as doctors advised her to come off the contraceptive pill because she was put at high risk of blood clots or a stroke.

Anne-Louise admitted: ‘After a few bottles of wine, it would all come out. We would be so tearful.

‘I was really, really lonely – we both were. We were really down, and we didn’t see a way out. Self-sabotage was the epitome of what we used to do.

‘We didn’t really value ourselves; therefore, why would we care what we put into our bodies. We think of this plan as self-care and self-harm is the reverse of that.

‘I went for drinks in a park in London with my friends and my chair leg snapped. It was absolutely mortifying. I just thought I couldn’t be that weight anymore, it was horrendous.’ 

The duo (pictured after losing weight) have shed 18 stone between them and have just been crowned the 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan's In It Together slimmers of the year

The duo (pictured after losing weight) have shed 18 stone between them and have just been crowned the 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan’s In It Together slimmers of the year

Karen explained: ‘Anna-Louise always supported me, but still neither of us were happy.

‘Especially after I lost my job, we both became reclusive and didn’t want to go out, we were so scared someone would say something to us about our weight.’

The pair signed up to the Slimming World 1:1 eating diet after seeing one of their family friends lose a lot of weight on the plan, who also won an award for the drastic change. 

The duo have shed 18 stone between them and have just been crowned the 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan’s In It Together slimmers of the year. 

However, Karen has shared that now her experiences are very different.

‘The other day I was sitting in the car outside the supermarket with the window down and a guy was looking at me,’ she said. 

‘He came back and told me, “I just had to come back and tell you that you look absolutely fabulous.” It made my whole month!’

Anna-Louise, who now weighs just 10st 2lb, said: ‘I remember being wowed not just by her weight loss but by her whole persona – she just became so confident, she sparkled!

Karen pictured grinning after her transformation

A smiling Anna-Louise pictured after her weight loss

Anna-Louise revealed that the duo now have their ‘sparkle back’ and enjoy doing things with their friends, describing herself and her mother as ‘quite the social butterflies now’ when not at work

‘We lost so much weight in the first week and it became addictive! It was so great to do it together, we really spurred each other on and stopped each other from straying from the plan.

‘I remember going on our first mother-daughter shopping trip and being so thrilled that we could try on clothes together. Before we just used to think: “which black sack can I cover myself up in today?”‘

The 27-year-old revealed that the duo now have their ‘sparkle back’ and enjoy doing things with their friends, describing herself and her mother as ‘quite the social butterflies now’ when not at work.

Karen gushed that the experience was ‘amazing’, and they ‘couldn’t believe’ the results.

Expressing her newfound confidence, she added: ‘Overeating is an addiction, but our new addiction became losing the weight.

‘People have said to us that losing the weight was life-changing, but for us, it really was life-saving.

‘I used to dread running into my ex-husband, but I quite like the odd occasion where I see him now and I think I’m a completely different person.’

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