A gran who was so fat she could hardly walk from her front door to the car has completed a 10km run after shedding a whopping 18 stone to be crowned Slimming World’s Greatest Loser.
Tracey Topping, 47, was nearly 30 stone was struggling to walk or stand, constantly out of breath and jobless.
She couldn’t even fit in the bath and was humiliated when a parent at her son’s school moved seats at a meeting, complaining he couldn’t see anything because of her.
The mum-of-four, from Northampton, has now dropped from 29st 6lbs to just 11st 6lbs – a svelte size ten.
Proud Tracey has been handed the title of Greatest Loser after achieving the highest total weight loss of all 900,000 Slimming World members nationwide, and will win £3,000.
She said: “Before I wasn’t active at all because I was too big, now I’ve done a Race for Life 10k, I can walk for miles and enjoy playing with my grandchildren.
“My weight loss has completely changed my life – and I love it.
“I want to show other people who might be feeling the way I was that there is hope and they can lose the weight.”
After slimming down, Tracey has now been able to start work as a sales assistant in her local Sainsbury’s supermarket as well as running her own Slimming World group.
Tracey says she hadn’t always struggled with her weight, and as a teenager was a slim size eight.
But after falling pregnant with her first child at 16, she saw her weight balloon, and at the age of 44 found herself wearing a size 34 or 36.
She added: “When I was younger I could eat whatever I wanted without putting on weight, but that all changed after having my eldest daughter.
“At my heaviest I weighed 29st 6lbs and everything was a struggle – I had pains in my knees and ankles, I got out of breath easily and found it hard to walk from the front door to the car.
“I couldn’t even fit in the bath and couldn’t work. I felt useless.”
Tracey remembers one horrible incident at a meeting at her son’s school when another parent moved seats after she sat in front of him, complaining she was too big for him to be able to see.
She said: “That stayed with me and when we went on holiday soon after I knew I had to lose weight, so I told my husband I was joining Slimming World when we got home.”
While her husband Jason, 47, and two youngest children enjoyed family walks and other fun activities during the break to Skegness in October 2014, she could only watch from the sidelines where she nursed her swollen ankles in the caravan.
When they returned home, she joined the Weston Favell Slimming World group.
Tracey added: “I knew I had nothing to lose but that didn’t stop me feeling nervous.
“I was worried that I’d be too big for the scales and they wouldn’t be able to weigh me, that wasn’t the case though.
“Now I tell everyone that there’s nothing to fear because everyone at Slimming World is so friendly and there’s absolutely no judgement or pressure, just loads of help and support.
“I’ve made so many new friends and I don’t think I could have done it without them.”
Before joining Slimming World, Tracey would eat three or four takeaways a week.
She said: “If I ever cooked that really just meant putting fish fingers or burgers and chips in the oven.
“Now I cook from scratch and I actually eat vegetables too.
“I love finding new recipes and ideas on the Slimming World members’ website and in the magazine – my favourite at the minute is chicken in black bean sauce – and I often post pictures of my meals on our group’s Facebook page, which helps me to stay on track.
“There’s so much support on there, as well as in the weekly group.
“My family have also been a huge support and they enjoy eating the same meals too.”
After losing the weight, she decided she wanted to help other people to achieve their weight loss dreams, and trained as a Slimming World Consultant.
She now runs a group in Cogenhoe, Northampton.
She added: “I don’t just love the new slim me, I love the new happier me, the new positive me, the new energetic me.
“Joining Slimming World was the best decision I’ve ever made.
“I’ve achieved so much I never thought I could and I feel like I can overcome anything life throws at me now.
“My dream is to keep the weight off and be around for my family, and I know I will because I’m never going to be that big ever again.
“I feel like if I can do it anyone can.”
Lunch: Often skipped lunch too. Or toast, a bacon sandwich, tinned tomato soup or a tuna sandwich with salad cream.
Dinner: Doner kebab, beef curry from the Chinese takeaway or fish fingers, burgers or pies with chips cooked in oil.
Snacks: Crisps, biscuits, sausage rolls, mini curry pasties.
Breakfast: Grilled bacon, low-fat sausages, tomatoes and mushrooms with eggs cooked in low calorie cooking spray and wholemeal toast, or porridge or Weetabix with low-fat banana and custard yogurt.
Lunch: Tuna or chicken salad with homemade balsamic dressing, homemade tomato soup or a baked potato and beans.
Dinner: Homemade lasagne with salad, chicken or pork stir-fry, chicken in black bean sauce with boiled rice or home-cooked roast dinner – all with lots of vegetables.
Snacks: Fresh fruit, pickled onions, high-fibre cereal bars.