- Karen, 48, has struggled with her weight since she was just eight-years-old. Aged 11 she weighed 12-stone, and her Mum put her on diet pills at the young age of 14. But nothing ever worked.
- Over the years she's tried ‘every diet going' – each time losing weight then putting it back on plus more. A comfort-eater, her hubby would often call her a hamster after catching her squirreling away snacks to eat in secret.
- Karen also had the weight-gain that comes with endometriosis to contend with, and would turn to food when she was upset at not being able to have a child. But after fertility treatment (which also saw her gain weight) she gave birth to Jessica 20 years ago.
- When her 26-stone bulk started causing her joint pain three years she was given steroid injections. They saw her puff up so much she resembled the Incredible Hulk. After a course her GP refused her any more – but offered to refer her for weight-loss surgery instead.
- Karen lost three stone at a slimming club to qualify for a gastric band, which she had fitted in March 2010. Since then she has lost nearly ten-stone. Her hubby Brian has supported her by cooking her healthy dinners – and has himself lost four stone!
“I've got my life back,” smiles Karen.
“I'm now running a support group for other patients, and I hold seminars too.
“It started off in a coffee shop and has grown from there – I just want to help other people feel as great as I do.
“Looking back, I cringe at the photos of me at my biggest. I looked scary! I look like a different woman now, thank goodness, and I'm forever smiling instead of scowling.”