How this Whittle-le-Woods grandma became a Slimming World award-winner following her brother's sudden death
It took all her strength to avoid comfort eating when her brother suddenly died.
Lorraine McIntyre, of Whittle-le-Woods, had just joined Slimming World when she heard the heart-breaking news about her big brother and Leyland man Alex Sorrell on Wednesday, January 17th last year.
Lorraine (now 53) had her first session at Andrea Mill's Lostock Hall group only four days earlier - but she was determined to stay on track with her healthy new plan.
"I walked in to the Saturday morning class on my own and really wanted to make it a success," she said.
"But then on the Wednesday my brother was found dead. It shocked me to the core.
"My normal emotional state was to comfort eat as it’s all I knew but something clicked and I knew I had to keep following the plan.
"The following Saturday was emotional because I was grieving. It was my first weigh in but much to my amazement I lost 7lb. This was the start I needed."
Food had been her escape when her 29-year marriage broke down in 2013 and left her devastated.
Lorraine, a homeless accommodation manager who works for Chorley Council, said: "My self-esteem hit rock bottom. I thought I'd been happily married but my world fell from under my feet. We had been together since we were 13-years-old and have three beautiful children."
Life began to look up when she met her new partner Bob in July, 2016, and began socialising by going out for meals. Still, her exciting new life made it difficult to shift the pounds.
And when her first grandchild arrived in November 2017, she knew she had to lose weight if she wanted to play an active role in their life. She was holidaying in Morocco in early January last year when she cooked up a plan.
"Something just clicked and I plucked up the courage to message Andrea Mills to see if she still ran a Saturday morning class in Lostock Hall," Lorraine said.
In less than a year, her life had transformed: a second grandchild came along in September 2018 and a month later, Bob got down on one knee in Venice.
"Slimming World has given me my life back. I feel amazing, like a different person, and so much healthier. It's given me so much confidence," she said.
"I'm really proud of myself and my family because they have supported me through it. I was always behind the camera and now I can socialise more, be in photos and record memories with my grandchildren.
"It was becoming a grandmother that inspired me to do it. I'm now living life to the max, I have a totally different life and the support from Bob has been brilliant."
By the end of the year she reached her target weight loss of four stone and overall she has dropped from size 18-20 to a trim size 10. Her commitment has even inspired her fellow group members to name her their Woman of the Year.
"It was a fantastic surprise because we have many brilliant women in our group who've all done so well," she said.
"I was so shocked but knowing I've had an impact on people is lovely."
Lorraine is now planning her dream wedding to Bob, which will take place in the beautiful Tuscany region of Italy on June 9th next year. And it is set to be a doubly moving occasion as it also marks her brother's birthday.