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A mum has revealed how she became addicted to sugar after giving birth to her daughter – sometimes scoffing five doughnuts a day and a jar of Nutella a week. Bryony Bateman, 33, from Bristol, would feel sluggish and relied on chocolate and sweets as a pick-me-up – but her unhealthy eating habits saw her tip the scales at 19 stone at her heaviest.

The carer, who shares daughter Eva, born in 2014, with her husband Neal, 38, would sneak downstairs in the middle of the night for a secret midnight feast. Her weight gain was also exacerbated by her thyroid cancer which she recovered from following an eight-hour operation on her throat.

But now the mum-of-one has lost more than 7st 5lbs after overcoming her addiction and looks like a different person since ditching the sweet treats and undergoing gastric bypass surgery. She said: “I relied on chocolate and sugar to get me through daily life. Once the sugar spike would begin to decline and I felt sluggish I would eat more sugar to get a sugar spike once again for energy.

“By the time my daughter was nine-months-old in October 2014, every item I ate was full of sugar.

“This became completely normal to me. As I approached my 30th birthday in December, it hit me that I wasn’t living, I was just existing so I had private gastric bypass surgery.

“Since then, I’ve lost 7st and most importantly I have control of what I eat and how it makes me feel.”

For breakfast, Bryony would eat a share-size bag of chocolates or two slices of toast with 1cm thick of Nutella or a bowl of Frosties with extra sugar.

She’d then eat a packet of cookies as a snack, followed by a sandwich and a cake for lunch.

When she got home late, she’d eat a Nutella sandwich before bed. But she would often wake up and eat a chocolate bar during the night when everyone else was asleep.

By October 2018, things came to a head when Bryony realised what she was doing to herself. She weighed 19st, was depressed and dependent on sugar.

She explained: “My weight gain first started in 2012 when I piled on 6st in four months. I’d previously weighed 10st and wore size 10-12 clothes so I knew something wasn’t right.

“I found out I had thyroid cancer in July 2012 after going to the GP in June with a lump bulging out of my neck. Doctors said the cancer had been the trigger for my rapid weight gain.

“I had an eight-hour operation to remove my thyroid, followed by radioactive iodine in August, then I was given the all-clear in March 2013.

“The cancer may have been gone but my weight stuck around and I was a size 18 weighing over 17st at 5ft 8in tall.”

Not having a thyroid didn’t help Bryony’s weight gain. Then after giving birth to Eva, the new mum felt like there was no time to lose weight and things only got worse.

When she returned to work in January 2015 after maternity leave, her sugar addiction took hold.

Often exhausted, she’d crave a sugar rush for a boost of energy.

Bryony said: “My midmorning snacks would be a pack of cookies or another share bag of chocolates. Then at lunchtime, I’d eat a sandwich with a sugary lemonade and lime cordial then treat myself to a cake or two!

“I would then be out on the road doing homecare visits and stopping at the petrol garage to grab a fizzy Sprite along with five chocolate doughnuts, five double chocolate chip bakery cookies or two iced top Chelsea buns followed by a whole pack of Percy Pig sweets – and this was a daily occurrence.

“By the time I would get home late, I’d be too tired to cook so I’d have a Nutella chocolate spread sandwich before bed. But this was often not enough to keep me full so I’d wake up in the night and have a chocolate bar while my husband and daughter were sleeping.”

Bryony started to realise that she was going to become a bad influence on her daughter.

Plus her husband Neal would moan as the house was filled with junk treats and sugar – instead of proper food.

She felt her life was miserable; she was nervous around people as she was concerned about what they thought of her and always made excuses to avoid social situations.

She said: “In October 2018, things came to a head when I realised what I was doing to myself at 19 stone. I was depressed and dependent on sugar to get through the day.

“I was a bad influence on my daughter. Hiding sweets in the cupboard so I could sneak them in my mouth when no one noticed.

“From adding four shots of syrup into hot chocolates to adding extra sugar on top of my bowl of Frosties, all these things had become normal to me.

“I was approaching my 30th birthday but existing and not living.”

Bryony’s sugar addiction and weight gain meant she would get out of breath doing simple daily activities including taking the washing out of the washing machine and making the bed.

She also wasn’t able to run around playing with her daughter.

She stuck to wearing leggings and baggy T-shirts as she hated clothes shopping and grabbed supermarket clothes from George when she shopped in Asda.

She felt ashamed of herself and trapped with sugar.

“I knew I couldn’t carry on like this. I was only young but at 19st 1lbs and size 24, I was huge. I asked my GP about gastric-bypass surgery but I didn’t fit the criteria to have it on the NHS,” she said.

“I was directed to weight loss groups and diets that I knew would only feed my addiction.

“Our only option was to go privately. Thankfully, a kind relative offered to pay for the £8300 operation so in January 2019, I went in for surgery.”

After recovering from the operation, Bryony’s stomach was a quarter of its size.

She followed the strict liquid diet and pureed food stage to recover before slowly introducing smaller high-protein meals.

By her one-year anniversary in January 2020, Bryony had lost 7st 5lbs and felt like a completely different person.

Not only that – she acted differently too; she prepped meals, enjoyed fruits and veggies, joined a gym and started working with a personal trainer and could play in the park with Eva.

Bryony said: “I educated myself in diet and nutrition through doing an advanced diploma and began working out at the gym.

“My eating habits changed dramatically as I could not tolerate the level of sugar I was on before I had the gastric bypass.

“Now I love my fashion, try to follow trends and can shop anywhere! I love dresses and makeup, going out as well as social gatherings, the gym and going on walks.

“My daughter and I walk a lot, go on bouncy castles together, dance together, and do lots of shopping and cooking together.”

Bryony’s now lost more than 7st 5lbs, weighing 11st 5lbs, and wears size 12-14 clothes.

She’s proud of her body and says every mark is part of her journey and tells her story – she’s never felt better.

All because she now has control over what she eats and how it makes her feel.

She said: “I no longer feel invisible like I did and I’m a lot more confident. I’m not afraid to walk into a room on my own anymore.

“My confidence has grown in all aspects of my life and I feel very content where I am today. It’s the best decision I ever made – for me, Neal and Eva.

“Plus I am no longer craving sugar – and feel like Bryony again!”