‘I refused weight loss surgery – then lost 245lbs with Slimming World’*
Maxine Wren, 39, dropped 13 dress sizes after being told she might not live to see another birthday. Now she’s celebrating being crowned Slimming World’s Woman of the Year
‘I was born with a rare bone condition, called Blount’s disease, that affected my mobility and I started gaining weight from an early age. I’d lie in bed watching my sister play outside and cheer myself up with cookies and cake. By the time I was 16, I was a size 20 and would always make excuses about why I couldn’t go out with friends. The sadder I became, the more I ate, and I’d think nothing of eating a whole tray of cupcakes, or ordering takeout night after night.
‘My health grew worse—I started suffering from asthma, heart palpitations and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and at my heaviest I struggled to walk and needed crutches. I tried to get my weight under control with calorie-controlled shakes and fad diets, but eventually resigned myself to the fact that I was just meant to be big. I painted a smile on my face, but inside my heart was broken.
At one of my regular medical appointments, my doctor gave me the shocking news that, at 418lbs, I needed to do something about my weight, or I could die. He prescribed me weight loss pills and referred me for gastric bypass surgery. The pills made me feel so sick that I had to stop taking them—I knew I had to find another way. A week later, my sister told me she was pregnant and it was just the incentive I needed to change my life. I didn’t want to die on the operating table and never meet her baby.
Even though I knew people who had been successful with Slimming World, I was still terrified and it took me three weeks to actually join. It felt as though it was my last chance, though, and I had to do it. I began following Slimming World’s Food Optimizing eating plan and couldn’t believe it when I lost 12lbs in my first week! For the first time in my life, it seemed there was light at the end of the tunnel.
As time went on, I swapped convenience-store foods for healthy home-cooked meals, and even learned how to make my favorite takeout dishes from scratch. I swapped peanut butter and jelly on toast for cereal, fruit and plain fat-free yogurt at breakfast, and mayo-filled sandwiches, potato chips and chocolate for a big baked potato with lean meat and salad at lunch, while dinner was home-made pizza-topped chicken or burger and fries.
Over the next 12 months I lost 140lbs – and I gained something, too: a husband! My partner John and I had been engaged for three years, but I’d felt too self-conscious about my size to set a date. Now at last I felt confident enough to become his wife.
By the time we got married in August 2017, I’d lost another 42lbs and my wedding dress had been altered down to a size 4/6. The day was a dream come true—words can’t describe how special it was to walk down the aisle less than half the woman I was. I felt like a princess.
Five years after starting my journey, I want to thank my doctor for giving me the wake-up call that helped save my life. I feel so much better about myself and so proud of how far I’ve come. I hope I’m proof to people that there’s never any amount of weight you can’t lose. Everything’s changed. When I stand in front of the mirror I like what I see, and I don’t hide away any more. I always say that Slimming World didn’t just save my life, it gave me life.’
*Your weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and the amount you have to lose.
The health information in this story is intended to provide general knowledge and should not be used to replace a visit with a healthcare provider. You should consult your healthcare provider before beginning, or changing, any weight loss program.