A morbidly obese mum who refused a gastric band lost nine stone and became a fitness fanatic after she stopped munching McDonald’s and started running every day.
Michelle Fenton, 40, was told by her GP she was risking her life and faced a grim future if she did not lose weight.
The mum-of-five would skip breakfast but gorge on McDonald’s or Greggs for lunch washed down with fizzy drinks.
She would also snack on crisps before munching down pizzas and pies for dinner.
At her heaviest, Michelle tipped the scales at 21 stone and was consuming a whopping 3,000 calories a day – more than twice the recommended daily amount for women.
Her GP advised her to have a gastric band to help reduce her weight after she suffered numbness in her hands, chest pains and breathing problems in 2018.
But she refused and instead she ditched her lardy lunches in favour of fruit and veg and starting running three times a week.
She also joined Slimming World and lost an incredible 9.5lbs in the first week.
In just 16 months the mum-of-five lost a whopping nine stone to weigh a slim 11 stone 12lbs and dropped from a size 22 to a trim size 12.
Michelle, from Sunderland, said: “I started getting chest pains and numbness in my arms that went down to my fingers so I panicked and phoned my doctor I was convinced I was dying of a heart attack.
“The doctor said it was anxiety and I was just having panic attacks so, they gave me some antidepressants to try and fix it.
“Things did seem better but a few months later I started getting a constant sore throat and earache so I went back to see a different doctor.
“They said it was probably weight-related and had I considered a gastric bypass? I started to cry as I didn’t think I was that big.
“They only offered the gastric bypass to fat people and I didn’t think I was that fat.
“So I said I would think about it and went away and tried losing some weight myself.
“I lost a stone and then went back and turned the surgery down.
“But it was Christmas and I put half a stone back on and realised I couldn’t do it by myself so in the middle of January, I went and joined Slimming World round the corner and lost 9.5lbs in my first week.
“That spurred me on and by January 2019 I had lost seven stone.
“It did take a while to lose the rest so it wasn’t until May that I lost two more stones.
“I was doing Slimming World, eating loads of fruit and vegetables and snacking on fruit and veg and cooking everything from scratch.
“But I also did couch to 5K and got the running bug and started running three times a week.
“I also joined an exercise club and did HIIT classes and decided it would be a good idea to sign up for the Great North Run, so I started going to the gym and would run to and from the gym.
“I also started running 10 miles on a Sunday and I was doing Aquafit, HIIT classes or in the gym.
“I feel brilliant now, all the symptoms I was having to do with chest pain is gone.
“I feel fantastic and just being able to shop in a normal shop is amazing and I now wear
stuff I would never have worn before.”
Michelle, who lives with husband Greg, 47, a computer programmer, has now been nominated for Slimming World’s Greatest Loser 2021.
She added: “It’s an honour to be nominated for the award. I feel like a completely different person.
“I wouldn’t have worn clingy clothing before but now I do obviously not right now because of being pregnant but I will.
“The husband does prefer curves but my family have all been brilliant and really supportive.
“The kids eat most of the stuff that I make especially the stuff that looks like kid food.
“I’m glad I turned the bypass down, losing the weight through diet and exercise has been great for me.”
Lunch: Greggs pasty or McDonald’s meal.
Dinner: Ready meals such as pizza or pie.
Snacks: Crisps and fizzy drinks.
Breakfast: Overnight oats, or beans on toast.
Lunch: Homemade soup.
Dinner: Chicken with vegetables or pasta bake.
Snacks: Fruit or yoghurt.