Watch: Woman loses 17st after fearing she wouldn't see her grandchildren grow up
A woman has detailed her 17st (108kg) weight loss journey, after fearing her size meant she wouldn't be around to see her grandchildren grow up.
At her heaviest Dawn Lambert, 52, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, weighed 26st 4lbs (167kg) and struggled to fit into a dress size 36.
Her weight issues also seemed to exacerbate the health issues she was suffering from including asthma, blood clots in her legs and lungs, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diverticulitis - a digestive condition that affected her large intestine.
She was also living with lipoedema - a painful build up of fat in her arms and legs, lymphoedema - a chronic condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissues and osteoarthritis.
Lambert also had a serious case of septicaemia following an operation to repair her bowel and suffered with chronic fatigue syndrome following the procedure.
Worried she wouldn't see her children or future grandchildren grow up if she didn't do something about her weight, she joined Slimming World which kick-started her weight loss journey in 2007.
By 2014 Lambert lost 9st (57kg), but she went on to shed a further 8st (51kg) over the following years.
“I’d been overweight for much of my life," Lambert explains. "I never really felt like I ate that much, but I was stuck in an overeat-and-restrict cycle which saw my weight go up and up."
But this had a knock-on impact on her health.
"My asthma was out of control most days and I couldn’t even get up my stairs to bed without using my inhaler. I knew without losing weight my health issues would continue to get worse.
"After a period of ill health, I was told by a liver surgeon that I had PBC antibodies – indicating a type of liver disease that can eventually lead to liver failure – and needed to lose weight to give me a better life expectancy.
"That really scared me," she adds. "I knew I wanted to live long enough to see my son get married and to see my future grandchildren grow up. I had to change, or I wasn’t going to be around – and that was a terrifying thought.”
Following a recommendation from her brother, the grandmother-of-two decided to join Slimming World.
"I’d tried every diet you could think of before, but none of them worked because I always ended up hungry and then reaching for something unhealthy to fill me up,” she explains.
"I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to eat so much and still lose weight – I was still able to have a full English and a roast dinner, I was just preparing them in a different way."
At her first weigh in Lambert lost 10.5lbs, which left her in "total shock".
"I realised Slimming World was totally different from the things I’d tried in the past," she adds.
Though she says she initially felt nervous about joining a group for fear of being judged, Lambert says the support she's had has really helped her weight loss journey.
“I quickly realised that everyone there is in the same boat," she explains.
"I’ve never experienced any judgment or been made to feel ashamed - everyone’s always been so kind and I’ve made some wonderful friends."
Now weighing a healthier 9st 4lbs (59kg) and wearing a dress size 10, Lambert has been named Slimming World's 'Diamond member of the year'.
“Losing weight gave me the confidence to take up walking and join a gym, which is something I never could have imagined before," she adds.
Her weight loss has also had a huge impact on her health.
“I will always have to live with my conditions, though now I’m healthy weight, I can keep them under control with daily medications."
But more importantly for her, she believes it has given her extra time with her family.
“I have two beautiful little granddaughters - Willow, who is almost four, and India, who is almost two," she says.
"There was a point in my life when I didn’t think I’d be around to meet them - let alone see them grow up.
"To know I’ve done everything I can to see that is a dream come true.”
Lambert's diet before
Breakfast - Gregg’s bacon sandwich and black coffee
Lunch - Gregg’s sandwich, crisps and Snickers chocolate bar
Dinner - Slow-cooker hot pot
Snacks - Snickers chocolate bar, crisps, cream cake, Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut family-size chocolate bar
Lambert's diet after
Breakfast - Homemade cooked breakfast with grilled bacon (fat removed), mushrooms and tomatoes, egg fried in low-calorie cooking spray, beans and two slices of wholemeal toast
Lunch - Homemade pasta bake with Passata and vegetables
Dinner - Shepherd’s pie made with lean minced beef and veg on the side
Snack - Snickers chocolate bar, homemade hummus with veg sticks, cheese and crackers
Additional reporting SWNS.