Woman Starts Weight Loss Mission To Lose Half Her Body Weight With The Help Of Her Dog

Zoe Johnston from Worcester has enlisted her dog Maisey to help her mission to lose half her body weight, as part of the Kennel Club's Get Fit with Fido campaign.

Zoe, aged 41, has set her sights on losing nine stone to improve her health and fitness, after gaining the weight having been diagnosed with stage four endometriosis, the most severe level of the condition, when she was 27.

Undiagnosed for nine years, Zoe had always been slim and very active until she started having health problems at the age of 18. In complete agony and depressed, Zoe comfort ate and in 2000 she was diagnosed with stage four endometriosis. The damage was so extensive that some of her internal organs had moved from where they should have been and were stuck together against the back wall of her abdomen.

Zoe commented: "I was in a lot of pain and was sinking deeper into depression. When I was finally diagnosed, my consultant said he had no idea how I was functioning day to day with the amount of pain I was in."

After surgery to remove the adhesions and to try to move her organs, Zoe was told that if she was going to have children, now was the time. After undergoing IVF, the drugs Zoe was given resulted in making her condition a lot worse and she chose to have a hysterectomy in 2006 in order to give her the best chance possible of a pain-free life.

Zoe continues: "My depression got to an all-time low and I genuinely considered ending my life. All that kept me going was knowing how much my family would be hurt. At this point I was eating a lot and got even bigger."

In 2010, Zoe ended up in hospital and discovered the endometriosis had come back, and doctors informed her there was not much more they could do to help her.

When Zoe got a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel cross for her 40thbirthday she decided to lose weight for her dog and to reduce the stress on her organs. Zoe found out about the Kennel Club's Get Fit With Fido campaign through Maisey's dog trainer, Lisa Jackson.

Zoe explains: "Maisey has genuinely changed my life and I'm looking forward to starting my new plan. For the first time in my life, I feel as though I can actually do it. I've got a great support system in Lisa Jackson and with the tips and advice from Get Fit With Fido."

The Kennel Club's Get Fit With Fido campaign encourages dogs and their owners to get fit together to improve both health and fitness. All dog owners who enter Get Fit With Fido will receive a 20 per cent discount on Crufts and Discover Dogs tickets; as well as advice, tips and tools for owners.

In addition to the education campaign, Get Fit With Fido also includes a Challenge that rewards the dog and dog owner who jointly lose the most weight, and the dog owner and dog who individually lose the most weight, with the help of exercising together.  Prizes on offer for the winner of the 2014 Get Fit With Fido Challenge include a one night stay at the dog friendly, 4* boutique townhouse hotel Flemings Mayfair; a luxury dog bed from Charley Chau and Champagne Afternoon Tea for Two at the Milestone Hotel in Kensington, London.

For more information on the campaign, please visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/getfitwithfido.

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