“With some simple tweaks, I shifted weight and boosted my health”

Dr Karen Marshalay lost weight with some simple changes to her diet and habits

"Ever since university my weight has been up and down. Over the years I'd join slimming clubs and gyms and I'd lose a bit, but it always came back."

My wake-up call

"I was diagnosed with asthma in my mid-20s - I'd have good and bad periods with varying symptoms but last year I had a run of chest infections and then whooping cough. Barely a month later, I ended up in hospital with chicken pox. A test showed that my liver function wasn't good and the doctor told me the best thing I could do was overhaul my diet. It was such a wake-up call."

The changes I made

"The first change I made was to stop drinking completely. I didn't consider myself a heavy drinker, but I'd been having a bottle of wine with dinner perhaps twice a week plus a couple of drinks after work occasionally and it all adds up. Giving up wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be, even at my birthday party when I just told people that I had the car and didn't fancy drinking."

"I also cut out all the rubbish - crisps, bars of chocolate, burgers, sweeties and got into healthy cooking. A friend sent me a brilliant cook book, The Medicinal Chef: Healthy Every Day by Dale Pinnock, which I found brilliant for ideas. I used to think I didn't have time, but now I've realised that making something from scratch - kale pancakes for example - is quicker than waiting for a pizza delivery."

"Exercise-wise I'm making an effort to walk more to the post office, to the bank instead of taking the car. I live in a third floor flat so I take the stairs at least once a day. I've got a little set of handweights and a wobble board so I do 15 minutes of stretching and core strength work every morning."

A health transformation

"I was 15 stone 3 at my heaviest and now I'm 12 stone 12. My waist is also smaller 33 inches compared to 41 before. What's been a huge revelation is how much better I feel on a day to day basis. I'm sleeping better. I have more energy. My liver function is almost back to normal. And my asthma is so much better. I have very few symptoms and I'm down to two puffs of my inhaler a day - much less than before. I hardly ever need my blue inhaler now, although I still carry it everywhere just in case."

"When I went on diets to lose weight it was always about denying myself treats and a struggle. Now I'm learning to love healthy food, the weight has gradually just fallen off and I don't even feel like I'm on a diet."

Feeling inspired? Find out how losing weight can help your asthma.

Last updated August 2015