A Manchester City Council worker who says she was ‘too fat to shop’ has lost eight stone in weight after receiving help to cut out her unhealthy takeaway habit.
At 19st 12lbs, Maxine Sullivan knew something had to change when she found she had an irregular heartbeat.
The 49-year-old grandma, who works as a social care assessor, was diagnosed with arthritis in her spine in her early 20s, and as the pain got worse over time, the more weight she gained.
“I was huge. It was embarrassing,” Maxine said.
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“I love to food shop but I just couldn’t fit down the aisles so I stopped going. I couldn’t walk so I had to use a mobility scooter and it was hopeless.”
Maxine says she’s been on ‘every diet you can think of’, including WeightWatchers, Slimming World, and Rosemary Conley diets.
When she was 16, at 10st, she gained another 3.5st when she became pregnant and didn’t lose it once she’d had her baby. And, when she fell pregnant again at 19, more weight gain followed.
“I blame my son,” she laughed.
“I just ate and ate. Diets just didn’t work, I tried them all.”
The only time Maxine managed to lose some weight was at the age of 25, for her wedding to her childhood sweetheart, Carl, where she lost two stones to get down to 15.5st.
Desperate for help, Maxine had enquired about gastric surgery in the past but was turned away. But she found what she was looking for in the Choose to Change pathway by ABL health - a lifestyle weight management programme for people who are overweight.
“We met as a group for six months each fortnight where I got weighed," Maxine explained.
“They taught us to look at green for good, red for bad, on food labels, and pay attention to the calories and fat content.
“What is good for you - an apple or a piece of cake? They trained us that way.”
Maxine wrote a food diary so she could track of what she was eating and how much she weighed.
For the next six months, she attended sessions once a month, and completed gentle exercises.
“I couldn’t participate in the exercises as I couldn’t walk, so I sat on a chair while the others walked, which was so embarrassing.
“I was told to lose five per cent of my body weight.”
After 12 months of sessions, Maxine met with a psychiatrist, a dietician, a nurse, and a surgeon to talk about bariatric surgery - a variety of procedures performed on people who are obese.
Three years later and two stone down, she underwent a gastric mini bypass at the Alexandra hospital in Cheadle.
“I no longer eat four takeaways a week,” Maxine, who is now 11 stone, said.
“I have ditched the chocolate and crisps and I watch what I eat.
“It’s a new way of life. Last week, I went on holiday to a caravan in Lincolnshire which was so exciting and I can wear lovely clothes now.
“I’m a different person and now I really enjoy shopping in Asda. I walk pain-free down the aisles and can shop all day long without being tired out or feeling embarrassed.”
Maxine’s new diet is mainly protein-based, consisting of eggs, cheese, meat, fish. She cooks every day, except for the small takeaway she treats herself to on Saturday nights.
“We have two children and four grandchildren and they’re all very proud of the new me," Maxine added.
“The family has got used to my new look and now, when I’m eating, the grandkids say ‘nana, is that is all you’re having?’
“I am now back to almost the same weight as when I met my husband and the weight has stabilised for the last 12 months.”
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