Unable to get around without a walker, an English Granny has gone on to shed 250 pounds, have 28 pounds of saggy skin removed, and is now a professional bodybuilder.
Years ago, Dee Hodgson’s size used to leave her in constant agony, and doctors suspected she was suffering from fibromyalgia, a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body.
The mom-of-four and gran-of-eight says her weight spiraled out of control after years of emotional-eating chocolates and sweets.
Knowing her sugary diet wasn’t helping with her condition, she embarked on an ancestral eating pattern of only foods in a natural state, like fresh vegetables, whole eggs, or meat.
As is so often the case with the morbidly obese, Dee lost 84 pounds without ever setting foot in a gym.
The pounds kept falling, and after passing 100 Dee had joined a local fitness center and discovered a hidden passion for lifting weights.
“At first, I wasn’t dieting to lose weight, I just wanted to feel better and to help ease the symptoms of my health conditions,” Hodgson said. “But the pounds quickly fell off me and it gave me the motivation to keep going.”
“I started going to the gym and fell in love with working out. Then I tried my hand at bodybuilding—and absolutely loved it. Now I’ve lost 250 pounds and I feel like a completely different woman.”
She started on her own, but it was when she added a personal trainer that she discovered the rush of lifting the heavy metal was something she couldn’t get enough of. In November she’ll be competing in a body-building competition in High Mycombe, England.
“I’m in the transformation class, so it’s all about the journey,” she explained. “They will show a ‘before’ picture before I come out on stage. It’s about showcasing the way you’ve built your body.”
“It’s so far out of my comfort zone, I’ll be out in a tiny bikini with all my scars and loose skin on show, but I hope that it will inspire others.”
The meanest of times
Hodgson was on 20 different types of medication for her physical and mental health in the difficult days. Her diet consisted of processed food, and she hadn’t exercised in years such that at 53 she was barely able to move without the aid of a walker.
“My life was very limited and I was very dependent on people which was hard as I’m very independent. It was embarrassing for me,” she said.
“My new diet was very basic and that made it easier to stick to. I didn’t have to think because I’d limited my choices. The more choices you have, the more slip ups you’ll have. I’ve continued with the meal planning now and will freeze batches of food so that it’s easy for myself.”
“People were noticing the difference and I was feeling more mobile and healthier, and I realized that a different life really was achievable.”
Starting with the stationary bike, she moved to weights after realizing that, despite what most beginners think, no one was judging her at all. She is now being coached by Lisa Morrison, a UKUP/WUP pro athlete, and has set personal bests of 176 lbs. (80kg) in the deadlift, and a 101 (46kg) bench.
She now admits she’s “obsessed.”
“My son Will, 33, told me that he feared he would soon have to tell his children, that I had died—that’s how bad my health had got,” she recalled. “I remember about a year into my journey, I was playing tag with my eldest granddaughter, and she turned around and said: ‘Nanny, I didn’t know that you can run.’”
“And it’s moments like that, that make it all worthwhile.”