While slimming down may be something many people consider doing every now and then, for the severely overweight, it’s crucial they do so in order to avoid potentially fatal health problems.
For Maxine Wren, she was left with no option but to slim down, after she was told she could be dead within a year if she didn’t.
At her heaviest, more than six years ago, she tipped the scales at 27 stone and 12 pounds, and wore a women’s dress size 36.
Maxine, now 39, who is from Chester-le-Street in County Durham, was prescribed slimming pills by concerned doctors, and was referred for a gastric bypass operation.
However, a month after being offered the surgery, life-changing good news meant she wanted to avoid the risks of the operation.
Having discovered her sister was pregnant, Maxine said she feared never meeting the youngster if she “died on the operating table”.
She refused surgery, and instead joined her local Slimming World group.
“The slimming pills made me so poorly that I had to stop taking them,” she explained.
“Plus, I didn’t want to die on the operating table and never meet my nephew, so I decided to join Slimming World instead and I’m so glad I did.”
Maxine struggled with her weight from a young age, after being born with the rare bone disease, Blount’s disease, which affected her mobility.
At her biggest, she found it difficult to walk without crutches.
Maxine turned to food as a form of comfort while struggling with her pain, and while she tried slimming clubs, calorie-controlled shakes, and diets as an adult, she struggled to control her weight.
As well as affecting her self-esteems and confidence, Maxine’s size saw her encounter low energy levels and asthma – as well as worsening her symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome.
But, Maxine – who is a qualified nursery nurse but is unable to work due to her disability – realised she needed to make a change, and began following Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan.
In her first week with the group, she lose an impressive 12 pounds.
Recalling the achievement, she said: “For the first time in my life I felt like there was light at the end of the tunnel.”
Since March 2013, Maxine has lost 17 stone 7.5 pounds, and now weighs in at 10 stone 4.5 pounds, and wears an 8/10 dress size – 13 dress sizes smaller than at her heaviest. Her incredible weight loss has also seen her winning the title of Slimming World’s Woman of the Year 2018.
How did she do it? The 39-year-old insisted she didn’t follow a diet – but instead, changed her eating habits.
On the plan, she swapped buttery toast, convenience foods, and takeaways for healthy homemade meals.
“It’s not a diet because there’s nothing you can’t have and there’s no need to go hungry,” Maxine insisted.
“I’ve learned how to make the healthiest choices and can even eat out if I want to.
“My favourite dish has to be a Slimming World-style kebab, it’s really satisfying and tastes so naughty but it’s not at all. My husband John enjoys the same meals too now.”
Maxine’s disability means she can’t do much exercise, but since her dramatic weight loss, she’s more active than before – and now loves walking and playing with her young nephew.
She said: “I hope I’m proof to people that there’s never any amount of weight you can’t lose. Everything’s changed.
“I don’t hide away anymore. I always say Slimming World didn’t just save my life, it’s given me life.”