I was a Marmite toast addict and ballooned to 28 stone-my liver failure diagnosis changed everything
A woman who used to swallow 12 slices of Marmite toast a day has revealed how she lost 12 stone after receiving a life-changing diagnosis.
Simone Robertson, 32, from Brandon, West Suffolk, often struggled to fit the size 32 before doctors discovered she had severe liver damage from her weight clothing.
The mother-of-two said she had become a “marginal recluse” after two difficult pregnancies – leading her to turn to salty snacks for comfort.
At her oldest, Simone became addicted to white carbs and could easily eat half a loaf of bread a day, along with potatoes, cheese and onion crisps
Describing how her weight was out of control, Simone was “barely able to take a few steps” and at one point had to call her mum Tammy Kent, 51, for a ride during a school run because she was “too tired” ‘Pain' goes further.
Simone Robertson, 32, was tipping the scales to 28 stone and trying to squeeze into a size 32 when doctors told her she had life-threatening cirrhosis
In July 2021, Simone was diagnosed with liver failure – which doctors at Bury St Edmunds West Suffolk Hospital believed was terminal.
At the time, they suggested bariatric surgery to prolong the mother-of-two's life – but Simone was determined to do it herself.
In just 18 months, this mom overhauled her lifestyle and dropped to a size 10 by cutting out carbs and processed foods.
But aside from toasting her beloved marmite toast, Simone's toughest challenge was having to say no to every cake her baker husband, Danny Robertson, 39, brought home from get off work.
The former factory worker is now a stay-at-home mum, and she even bought a £500 Pro exercise bike to fit her big frame – which she uses while watching cooking shows such as MasterChef and Nigella on TV.
Simone said: “I can't believe it has had such an impact on my life.
“I thought I was dying but the doctors were amazed because scans showed my liver was almost back to health.
“I've tried dieting for years without success, nothing seemed to be working for me, but hit rock bottom and I just knew this time I had to keep going. I had to be there for my kids and my husband.
The mum-of-two has revolutionized her lifestyle over the past 18 months and now wears a UK size 10
Left: Simone Robertson poses with one of her sons before embarking on her weight loss journey. Right: The mother-of-two wears a UK size 32
After swapping out processed foods and carbs for lean meats and lots of fresh vegetables, the mother now weighs 11 6 lbs.
With an astounding 16 stone weight loss, Simone said even some of her family members struggled to recognize her.
She continued: “My aunt, Cheryl, is 53 years old and I am very close to her, I hadn’t seen her in months the other day and had to look twice in the street. Thinking how much I’ve been gone Far is amazing.
Although the mother said she had always been a “big girl” at school, Simone said her weight started to spiral out of control after the birth of her sons Lucas, 7, and her son, 3.
While recovering from two C-sections, the mum said she lost all confidence and became increasingly anxious – leading her to unhealthy eating habits.
Simone poses with her husband, Danny Robertson, 39, a baker.This mum says it's hard not to eat any of his food during her diet
Left: Simone Robertson in her kitchen when she weighed 28 stone.Right: Simone at the same spot after she lost 16 stone
When she was at her heaviest, Simone (pictured above last Christmas) said: “I barely went out and became very miserable.”
She continued: “I Not really a sweet tooth, but I can eat tons of white carbs. I just love them – I can eat up to 12 slices of toast a day.
“Caring for two young children at home has been mentally exhausting and on top of that I have had terrible back pain which is causing me a lot of pain.
“After a while, I barely went out and became very miserable.
“I slowly gained weight because I ate so much and barely did any exercise.
“I hate what I do to my body, sometimes I go on a diet, I starve myself for a while, and then I overeat, which is really unhealthy.”
After losing weight, this mum says she no longer feels like a ‘recluse' at home with her son
Left: A selfie taken by Simone at her heaviest.Right: Mum pictured is now wearing a UK size 10
What is cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is scarring (fibrosis) of the liver caused by long-term liver damage. Scar tissue prevents the liver from working properly.
Cirrhosis is sometimes called end-stage liver disease because it occurs after other damaging stages of diseases that affect the liver, such as hepatitis.
Even if you have cirrhosis, your liver may continue to work. However, cirrhosis can eventually lead to liver failure, and you can have serious, even life-threatening complications.
Treatment may be able to stop cirrhosis from getting worse.
Early symptoms include:
- Weight Loss and Muscle Mass
- Red patches on the palms and small spider-like blood vessels in the skin above the waist (spider angiomas)
In early 2021, Simone began to suffer from severe back and stomach pains, which prevented her from walking.
As doctors kept attributing it to her weight, it wasn't until six months later that the GP noticed that Simone's liver enzyme levels were very high – which led to her being diagnosed with cirrhosis.
This condition is caused by long-term liver damage, which occurs when scar tissue prevents the organ from working effectively.
She added: “I could tell it wasn't good news because the woman who did the scan, who I'd been happily chatting to, was really quiet now – the whole mood changed.
‘It's really scary. I've only heard of cirrhosis in alcoholics.
“They basically said there was no way to reverse it, but if I lost weight, I could stop the progression and might even need a transplant one day.
“At first, when I was trying to process it, I was in total denial about it.”
In September 2021, Simone committed to completely changing her lifestyle – no more bread and chips, and using her exercise bike every day.
Within weeks, she began to lose weight and is now at a healthy 11 lbs. 6 lbs.
“I can't believe how far I've come in just 18 months,” said Simone, who is also 13-year-old Jack's stepmother.
“I really thought I wasn't going to see my kids grow up at one point. I could barely run to school and look at me now.
“I now enjoy walking and exercising with the kids. It has changed our lives.
“I do miss bread and crisps but haven't touched them in two years and don't intend to, it's a slippery slope.
This mum (pictured after she lost weight) says she still eats out once in a while
Left: Simone Robertson before her diagnosis of liver failure.Right: Mum says she eats mostly chicken and fish to maintain her weight
“I sometimes treat myself out to a meal, but I'm careful about what I eat.
“Usually I just eat healthy home-cooked meals, mostly chicken or fish and steamed vegetables.
“It might become a little bit the same, but I'm healthy and that's the main thing.
“It looked like my liver might even have repaired itself, which is really rare and unheard of.” I feel lucky.