Woman who could barely walk is taking part in cycling event after shedding 19 stones

Michelle tipped the scales at 33 stones and could barely walk.

Michelle tipped the scales at 33 stones and could barely walk before she joined a Slimming World class. - Credit: SLIMMING WORLD

Tipping the scales at more than 33 stones, Michelle could barely walk, and relied on her mobility scooter to get about.

The 62-year-old admits she suffered pain and was so conscious of her size, she felt embarrassed to get out of the car. 

But in 2019, Michelle decided the only way she was going to shift the weight - and that meant half her body weight - was to join a group where she could gain support from other people.

Now 19 stones lighter she has transformed her health, life and looks - and has just been crowned as the national runner-up for the Slimming World Greatest Loser 2022. Beating more than 600,000 other slimmers.

Although she had joined groups previously, Michelle says one the biggest stumbling blocks was actually getting to a class as she was so embarrassed about her size.

After speaking to a Slimming World consultant whose group met at the Eatons Centre, Michelle staggered into the group on sticks.

“That walk from the car was one of the most difficult things I have ever done, both in courage but also physical pain. It was about the furthest I could walk without using a mobility scooter.”

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Within just three weeks, Michelle had lost more than a stone in weight and had already noticed the difference.

“On my third week I walked into group without my sticks, and by my seventh week I had lost two stone and achieved my first Body Magic award by just simply walking a few yards at a time as often as I could!”

Michelle says she received lots of support and encouragement from the group, especially Julie. By the end of 2019, Michelle had dropped more than a quarter of her start weight, losing more than eight stones.

In England, around two-thirds (63 per cent) of adults are above a healthy weight, and of these half are living with obesity.

Michelle’s top tips for others looking to lose weight are to “stick with the Food Optimising plan, and attend the weekly support group".

Food Optimising® is the name given to Slimming World’s healthy eating programme.

The programme is based on the science of satiety (how filling a food is) and energy density (calories per gram of food), showing slimmers that they can easily satisfy their appetite with healthy, filling foods that are naturally low in calories, while still being able to enjoy their favourite treats in moderation without feeling guilty.

Members who follow the plan banish hunger and deprivation, the two most common reasons that restrictive diets fail. The weekly group is designed to inspire and motivate slimmers to make positive changes and to develop new, healthier habits around food and activity.

Now 19 stones lighter, Michelle has transformed her lifestyle too.

“My weight loss has not only given me a new found freedom in movement but has expanded my life. I can now walk again.

"In fact I Nordic walk and can be seen with my best friend all over St Neots. I have also been able to start cycling again and now take part in organised rides up to and in excess of 30 miles and am working towards completing the London to Brighton ride in June.

"This year I have walked in excess of 1,000 miles and am aiming for at least 2,000 by the end of the year."

Michelle was crowned Greatest Loser in her group earlier this year, and went on to the national finals earlier this month.

She scooped the runner up prize, with the national winner losing 20 stones and Michelle a close second.

“Michelle is such an inspiration to us all” says Julie.

“She is so determined, and I am so proud of everything she has achieved. The runner up prize is really just the icing on the cake."

Julie runs her groups in The Eatons every Monday morning and evening. For details of her groups, call: 07885811777 or for details of your nearest group visit: www.slimmingworld.co.uk