Woman, 26, loses six stone with lifestyle overhaul after terrifying ‘STROKE’ left her unable to speak

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A woman has shared how she lost six stone in a major lifestyle overhaul after a terrifying experience left her in hospital and unable to speak.

Mia Gray, 26, from Washington, US, developed an unhealthy relationship with food when she worked in retail as a teenager, gravitating to the convenient but fatty foods.

She believes she developed an emotional dependence on food as she found it comforting, leading her to overindulge and binge.

Pictured: Mia before beginning her weight loss journey

By the age of 22, she weighed 16st and was eating “well over” the recommended daily intake of 2,000 calories for women.

Her weight and unhealthy habits led to concern from loved ones, with people even failing to recognise her in the street.

While she wanted to lose weight and tried diets like the keto diet and took part in vigorous exercise regimes, Mia found she struggled to shift the extra pounds.

She had also been experiencing symptoms including headaches, acid reflux, blurred vision and abdominal pain, but felt that she was “too young” for it to be anything serious.

It wasn’t until June 2018 that a health scare pushed her to make some serious changes.

Pictured: Mia with husband Jamal – 2018 at the start of her weight loss journey

“It was about 11:30pm and I had laid down for bed – I was looking at my phone like I usually did before bed and my left hand started to go numb,” Mia, who now works as a nutritional coach and personal trainer, told Jam Press.

“I tried to readjust, thinking I had just lost circulation and it fell asleep, however the numbness continued to crawl up my arm and then into my face.”

Mia became concerned, noting the symptoms were stroke-like, and asked her husband, Jamal, 22, to take her to the emergency room.

By the time they reached the hospital, Mia was “out of it” and couldn’t string a sentence together.

She said: “I was admitted and what I remember was laying in the hospital bed with a piercing headache on the right side of my head.

“The doctor asked me to tell him my name and I remember trying to say it but it came out as jumbled nonsense.

Pictured: Mia at the start of her weight loss journey – August 2018

“Then I got so scared because I was trying to talk and nothing was coming out as real words.

“The doctor concluded that I was experiencing a hemiplegic migraine – a migraine so severe that it can imitate the symptoms of a stroke.

“An MRI later showed scarring in the tissue on the right side of my brain.

“The experience was so scary that I couldn’t stomach the thought of it randomly happening again without any clue as to how to prevent it.”

Mia believes the migraine was her body’s way of sending her a “clear message” that something wasn’t right thanks to the “burden” her weight was putting on her body, paired with a diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Her speech returned while she was in hospital receiving treatment and she was able to speak coherently again.

Pictured: Mia at six months through her weight loss journey – February 2019

After the scare, Mia decided she needed to drastically overhaul her lifestyle and saw a naturopath, who took blood samples which revealed her body was struggling to digest potato, soy, fruit and refined sugar.

She started cutting out the food and took supplements – and within two weeks she had lost 10lbs, her headaches were gone, and some acne on her jaw had disappeared.

She said: “I almost couldn’t believe it – my body was healing.

“I cut out fast food and any heavily processed snacks and drinks, and started bringing a water bottle with me everywhere.

Pictured: Mia at around twelve months through her weight loss journey – August 2019

“I made healthy living a priority – which included switching profession to a personal trainer and nutritional coach in December 2019, switching friends and even my living situation.”

Within 18 months, she had dropped to 9st 8lbs – her current weight – without tracking calories but eating between 1,500-2,000 a day, as well as enjoying regular workouts.

Instead of eating fast food, she eats balanced meals including meats, organic produce with dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds.

Her go-to became a smoothie including a plant-based protein, oat milk, spinach or kale, bananas, nut butter and sunflower seeds.

She said: “I learned that our bodies are communicating to us all the time and the symptoms we experience are really a message asking for help – addressing the foundation of my health rather than slapping on a quick fix has made all the difference.”

Pictured: Mia after her weight loss – 2020

Now, Mia works as a nutritional coach and personal trainer, where she helps other people going through similar issues with food and health.

She said: “Food was an emotional crutch for me. I would binge eat after a long day at work and that usually consisted of fast food, quick snacks, TV dinners. I was very impulsive and would eat a little bit of everything until I was well past feeling full.

“I have since learned to recognise when I am starting to feel stressed, so I can be aware of what my motivation for eating is. Now when I eat I am paying attention to the feeling of fullness and I am able to stop before I go past it.

Pictured: Mia now – January2022

“My outlook on life has changed drastically. I used to be consumed with worries and fears for my future and my health, but now I am confident that I have control over it and that healing is possible.

“It feels good to help people not only lose physical weight but to see the mental weight lift when they realise there is hope and there is a solution to their bodies cry for help.

“It’s not about vigorous exercise and rigid routine, it’s about moving your body and listening to its needs.

“It’s not about overly restricting yourself and counting every calorie, it’s about nourishing your body and honouring the signals it’s sending you.”

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