- • When Marie's overweight Mum died in her arms after having a heart attack, the teenager turned to food for comfort. She gained six stone in two years and then lost her step-father the same way. “I was 18 and fending for myself,” she says, “I bought food that was easy to eat and didn't need preparation – cakes and sausage rolls. They were also good comfort food.”
- Aged 21, Marie, from Nottingham, weighed 25 stone. She went on to have four children – each time piling on more weight. When she divorced aged 36, Marie weighed 33 stone – and continued looking to food for comfort. “I made sure the children ate healthily, but I snacked on crisps and biscuits all day.”
- Filling her days eating junk food and using chat rooms, Marie met Paul on-line. Undeterred by her massive bulk he came to visit after a year and the couple clicked. After a year-long long-distance relationship Paul moved in. Nights in with take-aways saw Marie's weight shoot up so far she struggled to walk and was so ashamed of her weight she couldn't leave the house. “I was agoraphobic and couldn't even go into the garden to play with the children. I just couldn't bear for people to see me like that.”
- Marie even missed her own father's funeral. “He had a heart attack and was in hospital for a week. I longed to visit but couldn't leave the house – even if I had I couldn't walk anyway. Then I missed his funeral. I was devastated, felt like I'd missed my chance to say goodbye.”
- Last year she was issued with a wheelchair to help her get about, but still couldn't bring herself to go outside. “I missed all my children's school plays too. The wheelchair is so wide I wouldn't even be able to get through the doors at the school.”
- When Marie turned 40 in January 2010 she realised enough was enough.
“I'd missed my own father's funeral and was missing out on so much with the kids. I was also thinking about what happened to Mum and knew if I didn't slim down soon I'd die.
“I wasn't able to find scales that would take my weight until I'd dieted for 10 weeks, so I was more than 42 stone when I started. I lost 7 stone stone in six months by myself, and in June I had gastric sleeve surgery to help things along and lost a further 8 stone.
“I still can't walk but have a personal trainer three times a week who's helping me strengthen my muscles again and we also do cardio workouts in my wheelchair.
“I want to lose another 11 stone before I marry Paul in November – if I could do that and walk down the aisle it'd be a dream come true – then I could finally go to the children's school play too.”