They say lost pounds enabled them to run to safety from the ISIS gunman

By Julie Mazziotta
Updated December 08, 2020 10:43 AM
Credit: Caters News

A British couple who were vacationing in Tunisia during the deadly ISIS beach attack believe that losing weight saved their life.

Lee and Anne Turnock say that they were only able to run up five flights of stairs to safety because they had started a new diet plan a month prior.

“There’s no doubt that if we’d both been packing the extra pounds we would have struggled to run as fast as we did,” Lee, 29, tells Caters News Agency. “We were only a few meters from the beach where the terrorist was shooting.”

“I’d never run up five flights of stairs before and I didn’t even know I could.”

Lee, who previously weighed around 265 lbs., and Anne, who hit 270 lbs., each lost about 28 lbs. before their vacation in late June 2015, after starting the Cambridge Weight Plan in May.

Lee and Anne were relaxing by the resort pool when they heard the gunfire.

“I turned ’round and saw a woman behind me dive under her deckchair, and saw people running from the beach,” Anne recalls. “Lee just looked at me, grabbed my hand, and said: ‘run.’ ”

They sprinted up a stairwell in the nearest building, until a family pulled them into a room on the fifth floor where ten other people were hiding.

The Turnocks stayed the room for a few hours until they were told it was safe to come out. In all, at least 39 people were killed in the attack, and 36 were injured.

Lee and Anne flew back home to England a few hours later, thankful to still have their lives.

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“When we came back, it was almost easy to say that we were going to just enjoy every moment and scrap the diet – but then we realized that we might not have been here if we hadn’t lost the weight,” Lee admits.

“Any time I felt like giving in, I just thought back to running up those stairs and knew I should stick at it.”

Now, seven months after the attack, Lee is at his goal weight of 196 lbs., and works as a health consultant. Anne dropped down to 210 lbs. and hopes to join Lee in his career once she hits her own target number.

“The whole thing has changed our outlook on life,” Anne says. “We’re both lucky to be here, and I want to make the most of every moment.”