Laura Raines was devastated after her beloved mother died from cancer. Raines, 40, was very close to her mom, so when she passed away, she was completely destroyed. But Raines, from Warwick, England, who at her heaviest weighed 347 pounds, was able to turn the tragic experience into a positive one.
"When [my mom] became really ill, she spoke to me about my weight and being around for my own children. It was the last thing she asked me to do," Raines says. It took time to begin her weight loss journey after the grief of losing her mother, but after a friend encouraged Raines to go to Slimming World this past January, she took the "perfect opportunity" and tried it out.
Laura Raines weight 347 pounds at her heaviest. (Photo Credit: SWNS)
"If I'm honest, I never believed it would work. I tried diets before, but always gave up when I didn't get the results I wanted," she says. Raines, who lives with her partner, Darren Ricketts, 42, was not only skeptical about going to Slimming World, but she also confessed that she was terrified of being judged by other people.
"I was very nervous about going to the meetings. I hated walking through those doors thinking everyone was looking at me or laughing thinking, 'God, look at the size of her.'"
(Photo Credit: SWNS)
Thankfully, Raines was able to push through her insecurities, and in her first week, she lost an impressive six pounds, followed by another four pounds the next week, and 10 more pounds the week after that. "I've been lucky with my journey; it's been good to me. [Losing weight] nearly every week made me more determined to continue," she says. "The hardest part I would say is going for meals out and having to ask the staff 100 questions to make sure I stay on plan. A few times, I've had people ask if I'm ill because the weight loss is so extreme."
Raines has so far lost an incredible 162 pounds in the past year, and she said her mom would be very proud. "I can't put into words how proud my mum would be. She was an amazing lady and this amazing thing I have done was not only for me, but for her, too."
Raines has lost nearly 168 pounds in one year. (Photo Credit: SWNS)
Raines' family has been extremely supportive, with her partner Darren even cooking the Slimming World meals for her. She has dropped from a size 28 to a 14 and says: "I feel amazing. It's funny when I'm walking past shop windows getting a glimpse of myself and suddenly realizing realizing, 'Oh, that's me.' It makes me speechless, and the friends I made along the way and the support from the group [are] amazing."
If you think Raines' weight loss is inspiring, check out Aretha Franklin's amazing journey to staying slim!
This post was written by Emma Dodds. For more, check out our sister site Closer.