How Kiwi chocoholic Anita Garrett dropped 100kg

By Rebekah Scanlan

At her heaviest, she couldn't tie her own shoe laces. Now Anita is almost half the size she used to be. Photos / CATERS
At her heaviest, she couldn't tie her own shoe laces. Now Anita is almost half the size she used to be. Photos / CATERS

A morbidly obese woman who ate 4-5 family blocks of chocolate a day has lost a staggering 100kgs after beating her chocolate addiction for good.

Anita Garrett, 39, from Auckland, ballooned to 183kgs thanks to her daily chocolate habit.

The self-confessed chocaholic has dropped ten dress sizes, slimming from a size 32 to a size 12, after undergoing weight loss surgery and swapping the sugary treat for a healthy lifestyle.

The Government team leader, who initially had a gastric bypass ten years ago and lost 70kgs, re-gained the weight after the birth of her son Brody who was born with a condition that causes tumours to grow in his brain.

Anita dropped from a size 32 to a size 12. Photos / CATERS
Anita dropped from a size 32 to a size 12. Photos / CATERS

After years of using chocolate to help her cope, the mum has finally taken control of her weight and ditched the sweet treat for good.

She said: "For as long as I can remember, I've always loved chocolate. As a kid, my family would sit down with a big block together and divvy it out while watching the TV.

"It was always my go-to when I was happy, sad and even bored.

"When I was 18 and I landed my first job, I was scoffing at least three big bars a day and that's when my weight really started to creep up.

"At my heaviest I weighed 183kgs which was a size 34 and was getting through five blocks a day.

"But by the time I had Brody with my husband Shane, I'd slimmed down to 113kgs (17st 7lb) after having a gastric bypass and embracing a new diet."

But Brody, now aged five, was born with Tuberous Sclerosis (TSC), a condition that causes non-cancerous tumours to grow in the body.

She said: "Brody was born four months premature which caused issues with his throat as it hadn't fully formed. He was also diagnosed with a severe form of TSC.

"His brain was riddled with growths and doctors warned it would affect his developmental state and causes seizures. It was absolutely heartbreaking."

Anita was devastated when her son Brody was diagnosed with a severe condition. Photo / CATERS
Anita was devastated when her son Brody was diagnosed with a severe condition. Photo / CATERS



Anita, who had been trying for months to conceive Brody through IVF, was traumatised by her tiny tot's fight for life and used chocolate to help ease the pain.

She said: "For the first six months of his life we were camped out at the hospital, living off the chocolate contents of the nearest vending machine.

"I'd lost about 70kgs (11 stone) before Brody was born, so I knew the effects it would have on my waistline.

"But I just didn't care anymore. The only thing that mattered was being with Brody, so I ate whatever I could get my hands on."

In just a few months, Anita went from a size 18 to a size 24.

Anita said: "I could feel my weight spiralling out of control again, but I was powerless to stop it. Not only were Shane and I relying on convenience food at the hospital, but chocolate made me feel better."

As Anita's weight crept up to her pre-surgery biggest again, her bulges reminded her how much she hated being overweight.

She said: "When I met Shane online in 2005, I weighed 183kgs and was the heaviest I'd ever been.

"I was eating five big bars of chocolate every day as well as hearty home cooked meals, all washed down with almost a litre of fizzy pop.

"I was so big I couldn't tie my own shoe laces or walk to the shops without getting out of breath.

"I didn't want to live that way again. Especially now I had a sick kid who needed me."

Anita looks completely different compared to her wedding day photos. Photo / CATERS
Anita looks completely different compared to her wedding day photos. Photo / CATERS



After letting all her hard work go out the window, Anita decided enough was enough.

She said: "In the first two years of Brody's life, I put all the weight I'd lost back on.

"Though I couldn't eat the quantities of ordinary food I used to because of my reduced stomach, I was still able to eat large amounts of chocolate.

"One day I realised, I didn't want to be fat anymore. The chocolate had to go."

This time, the mum of one couldn't turn to surgery to help beat the bulge as she'd stretched her already reduced stomach.

She said: "Determined to be a healthy mum for Brody, I sought help from a personal trainer at a local gym.

"They introduced me to a high protein diet and started training me with weights. I noticed the effects immediately.

"After ditching sugar for lots of lean meats and vegies, I dropped 20kgs in just a few months. I was thrilled."

This time, Anita was even able to drop below the 100kg mark, something she'd never managed before.

She said: "I couldn't believe it when I shed all the weight I'd put back on and more. I hadn't been this light since I was a teenager.

Anita said she could hear her "flaps of skin slapping against me when I did sit ups or was running." Photo / CATERS
Anita said she could hear her "flaps of skin slapping against me when I did sit ups or was running." Photo / CATERS

"But this time, I was left with heaps of saggy skin which would irritate me whenever I tried to workout.

"I could literally hear my flaps of skin slapping against me when I did sit ups or was running. It was awful."

Earlier this year, with the support of her husband Shane, Anita flew to Thailand to have the excess skin removed in a $12,000 operation.

She said: "We couldn't afford to have it done here in New Zealand, so we went overseas and it's completely changed my life.

"After having an extended tummy tuck and an arm lift, I dropped to 87kgs. I couldn't believe it."

Anita flew to Thailand to have her excess skin removed. Photo / CATERS
Anita flew to Thailand to have her excess skin removed. Photo / CATERS



Back home, the 175cm yummy mummy was able to fit into a size 12 and has since gone on to lose four more kilos thanks to her strict exercise regime.

She said: "At first, going to the gym every day was hard but now it's a habit and I feel awful if I don't go.

"Brody loves the new slimmer me and though he still can't talk because of his condition, I know he's proud of me because of the big smile on his face.

"He faces so many struggles in life, the last thing I want is to not be around for him.

"Losing 100kgs has not only changed my life, it's changed his too."

- CATERS

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