AT 18, Leanne Wilson’s doctor gave her a leaflet for Alcoholics Anonymous and told her she was unlikely to make her 21st birthday. 

But it wasn’t booze that was killing her, it was binge-eating – a habit which caused her to balloon to 24st.

Already battling type 2 diabetes, Leanne, from Witham, Essex, was struggling to breathe when she went to her GP – where a biopsy showed her liver was failing as it was so fatty and damaged by her poor diet.

Leanne, now 37, told The Sun: “In over 20 years as a GP he said he’d only ever seen this kind of damage in alcoholics. He simply wouldn’t believe me when I said I hardly ever drank.”

It was the wake-up call Leanne needed to radically change her life.

Now 13 stone lighter, glamorous Leanne is a shadow of her former self – something she largely credits to her new career as one of Britain's sexiest posties.

She ditched her six-figure salary as a senior civil servant to get her thousands of steps in every day on her rounds. 

Leanne said: “I hated the gym, so I had a brainwave. Now I walk up to nine miles a day, chatting to people on my round, with no stress, and time to focus on myself.

“I earn a fraction of what I did before in my senior role in local government, but I’ve never been happier.

“People stop me on the street and ask if I’m really a postman, showering me with compliments about how great I look, but I explain that however good I look on the outside, it’s nothing compared to how amazing I feel inside.”

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Passers-by don't believe Leanne is a postie when they see her in her uniformCredit: LEANNE WILSON
Leanne shows off her trim new figureCredit: Olivia West

Growing up, Leanne was bullied for her size. While her friends shopped in regular high street stores, she had to resort to specialist plus-size companies for her clothes. 

She said: “Throughout my teens I tried every single diet going and knew they didn’t work because they always presented food as a reward with 'cheat days'.”

At college, Leanne would spend all her earnings from her part-time bar and shop work on McDonald’s and Domino’s pizza. 

A typical day would start with two sausage and egg McMuffins, followed by a 12-inch meatball sub with extra cheese and crisps. 

Dinner would be a family-size pizza with extra garlic bread. 

Leanne said: “That was on top of all the secret eating – endless chocolate bars and crisps stashed in my bedroom or the car.”

Fat shamed

At her heaviest, when she was 20, she tipped the scales at 24st and wore a dress size 26.

There were upsetting incidents, like the time when she was 19 and heading on a family holiday to Mexico. 

Leanne recalled: “I couldn’t fit into the plane seat. The woman next to me openly complained to the cabin crew I was spilling over into her seat. 

“I needed a seatbelt extension, and by the time we touched down, I’d lost all the feeling in my sides as the blood had been cut off by the chair arms and my legs were bleeding.”

I needed a seatbelt extension on the plane, and by the time we touched down I’d lost all the feeling in my sides as the blood had been cut off by the chair arms and my legs were bleeding

Leanne was offered gastric surgery on the NHS but she refused, knowing she had to "fix her brain".

With her doctor’s warning ringing in her ears, she took a course in nutrition as well as one in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help change her mindset about food, costing £1,000.

She made small changes, such as making healthy food swaps, avoiding processed food and refined carbs, and learned how to cook and understand her triggers.



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Leanne said: “I didn’t just have a mountain to climb if I wanted to be ‘slim’, I had to conquer Everest, so health was my focus.

“By being more mindful about my diet, by the time I was 22 I’d managed to lose 6st in just over a year, which I was overjoyed with.

"I moved as much as I could as I was too big to exercise, so it was walking up and down stairs and to the shops as much as I could, adding to my changed diet.”

Life-changing tragedy and betrayal

Down to 17st, Leanne felt healthy for the first time in years. Crucially, by her mid-20s, Leanne’s liver had improved and her diabetes was in remission.

Slimmer and healthier, she landed a well-paid job as a government regulator and began to climb the career ladder. 

Then, five years ago, Leanne’s dad Andy passed away from pancreatic cancer. A year later she left her partner of 13 years after she found he'd been cheating on her with a friend of hers. 

She said: “He blamed me for not getting over my dad’s death, that I wasn’t the same person anymore.

“Having been with him for so long I completely lost my own identity; the person I trusted most had betrayed me, leaving me in pieces.

“I comfort ate to deal with it, but recognised the triggers quickly so it didn’t escalate."

New direction

Leanne was diagnosed with PTSD and depression and took time off work to reassess everything.

She said: “I needed to change my life if I wanted to be happy. If nothing else, I had to do this for my dad.   

“I was still over 13.5 stone, working horrific hours in a job that was incredibly pressured and stressful, fooling myself that the six-figure salary I was banking made up for it. 

“I had zero work-life balance and really hadn’t found a way to be happy.”

In 2018, Leanne hit upon the idea of joining the postal service.

I earn a fraction of what I did before, but I’ve never been happier. People stop me on the street and ask if I’m really a postman, showering me with compliments about how great I look

Her new job gave her a new lease of life, and she lost even more weight while pounding the streets.

She said: “Last summer I finally got down to 10-and-a-half stone, and was swamped with compliments from everyone I knew.

“Because I’d lost the 13 stone gradually and had built-in long-term habits, I knew I'd never be morbidly obese again." 

Friends and colleagues kept asking Leanne what her secret was, so she set up a consultancy business – The PMA Coach – to help people improve their mindset for weight loss.

Leanne said: “I would have died if I hadn’t found my own path. 

“I’m proof that if you change your mental outlook first, everything else falls into place.”

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