“I went blind overnight and then gained weight – but I won’t let my disability hold me back”

One woman has told how she lost half her body weight and then put it back on after losing her sight from not being able to cook, but is now relearning how to prepare meals for herself

Sonia pictured here in 2004.
Sonia Dawswell lost her sight in 2018

A 54-year-old woman refuses to let her vision loss prevent her from living her life to the fullest and achieving a healthier weight.

Sonia Dawswell, a court volunteer, worked hard to lose half her body weight after hitting 21 stone and being upset by her reflection.

The East Londoner went from a size 28 to 10st 7lb size 12/14 with a BMI of 26.

However, her efforts seemed in vain as she piled on the weight again after going blind and unable to cook for herself and snacking instead of eating proper meals.

Having suffered from vision problems all her life, Sonia required progressively stronger glasses, resulting in her being registered as visually impaired due to cataracts and glaucoma.

Then, in 2018, she completely lost the sight in her left eye overnight, leaving her registered blindness behind.

Sonia rose to 21 stone


real life PA)

She lost half her body weight


real life PA)

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Sonia explained: “I went to bed with vision, woke up totally blind in my left eye. Since I can’t see much in my right eye, it made everyday tasks impossible.”

Living alone, she had to rely on packaged or take-out food and found herself stuck in “endless snacking” throughout the day.

She continued, “There was no end. I would only pick from morning to night. Chips, cookies, sandwiches. Anything I could just buy and eat. I couldn’t even see the calories on the back of the pack.

“On my way home from work I stopped at the chip shop, bought fries and ate them at home with a cheese and onion pie.

“I’ve been to a lot of support groups for people with vision loss and a lot of us are overweight. I think that’s why we die earlier.”

Despite this, Sonia has never let her blindness hold her back in other areas of her life and is now determined to learn to cook again so she can prepare WW meals.

“It doesn’t stop me from socializing or working, and I didn’t want to let that stop me from going to WW,” she proclaimed.

Now she is determined to achieve her goals again


real life PA)

She’s learning to cook again


real life PA)

Coming out of lockdown, Sonia found she was back to 15.7lbs and a height 18, giving her a BMI of 38.4, meaning she was again classified as obese.

Knowing the WW diet had worked for her before, she revisited the plan.

Not only did Sonia eat healthier, but she also started walking six miles a day, stopped eating after 7pm and re-learned to use some of her kitchen appliances – including a blender and a frying schedule.

This allowed Sonia to make omelettes and breakfast smoothies for herself.

Her friends and family also supported her efforts, bringing food and offering invaluable words of encouragement.

She said: “I learned tricks, like using devices with big, simple buttons.

“I went to the supermarket, took pictures of the back of the packs and enlarged them on my phone so I could work out the dots.”

She now eats three healthy meals a day, walks 10,000 steps six days a week, and eats fruit instead of chips. As a result, she has now lost another 4th and has shrunk to 11. 6lbs and a size 14 – just half a stone away from her goal weight.

She added: “I hope my story can inspire other people. I’m a woman of a certain age and going through menopause, but that hasn’t stopped me. I have a visual impairment, but that didn’t stop me either.

“I want people to realize that you can live a life with a disability and still watch your weight. It’s not easy, but keep knocking on these doors until they open for you.”

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