A husband and wife slimming duo have picked up prizes after shedding 9st between them.
Dave and AnnMarie Maddison have been named Mr Sleek and Woman of the Year at their Sunderland Slimming World Group.
The couple, from Roker, were chosen to take home the prizes by fellow members of the club, which meets at Roker United Reformed Church.
Dave, 47, has dropped from 17 stone to 13 stone since joining the Fulwell slimming club.
He said: “I was really flattered that the other members chose me as their Mr Sleek. As a man, joining a slimming club was a big decision and very nerve-wracking – I expected to the only man there – but I can honestly say it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done and this is just the icing on the cake.”
Dave, a call centre advisor, decided to join Slimming World in February after watching his weight increase for years.
Losing the weight has made such a huge difference – it’s changed my life, and my husband’s.AnneMarie Maddison
He had been an unofficial member since his wife joined in January last year, and he had started to shed the pounds by joining in on her healthy meals.
But when he weighed 14 stone, Dave was diagnosed with diabetes and knew he had to join the group officially.
He’s now 4st lighter and has lost 8ins from his waist.
He said: “My wife loved the group and we were voted Couple of the Year 2015. I’m so glad I didn’t let my nerves stop me from losing weight and I’d recommend Slimming World to everyone – men and women.”
AnnMarie, a call centre worker, picked up her prize after dropping from 15st 8oz to 10st 8oz in less than a year.
She’ll now represent her Slimming World group in the nationwide Woman of the Year competition, which aims to find the UK’s top female slimmer.
The 36-year-old originally signed up after becoming increasingly unhappy with her size. She said: “I started to put on weight around the year 2000 when I started working in a call centre, because of lack of exercise and poor diet, and basically eating chocolate and crisps from the vending machines.
“Being in a relationship contributed as we would have takeaways a couple of times a week. I tried lots of different diets but they usually left me feeling hungry or miserable – or both.
“With Slimming World it’s completely different, I never have to miss out and I don’t have to get hung up on weighing and measuring everything I eat. I don’t feel deprived and after losing 5st I’m the slimmest and the happiest I’ve been in such a long time.”
The couple tied the knot at St Peter’s Church, in Sunderland on October 3, last year.
AnneMarie added: “When I started out I never dreamt I’d be able to achieve all that I have. I lost 5.5lbs in my first week and was blown away that the changes I’d made had such a big impact so quickly.
“As the weight started to come off and I began moving down dress sizes – I’ve gone from a size 18 to a 12 – I started to believe I could actually lose the weight and keep it off, and I felt amazing on my wedding day. Losing the weight has made such a huge difference – it’s changed my life, and my husband’s.”
The Fulwell Slimming World group meets every Monday at 3.30pm, 5.30pm and 7.30pm. Anyone interested in joining can attend a group or call Emily King on 07730605482.