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A first-time mom who had two surgical emergencies performed simultaneously – removing her ruptured appendix and then her baby at 35 weeks – shed 70 lbs in a year, after her ordeal inspired her to become super fit.


In agony, math teacher Mari Wyn, 33, of Bangor, in North Wales, was rushed to the hospital on January 6, 2018, with a ruptured appendix – putting her in serious danger of infection spreading through her abdomen and harming her unborn child.

Then, after removing the damaged organ, hospital surgeons delivered baby Gwion five weeks premature, by caesarean section, feeling it was the safest option to protect the lives of both mother and child.

Mari and her little boy (Collect/ PA Real Life)

“I was petrified on the way to the hospital and in a lot of pain," recalled Mari, whose husband, Gerallt, 33, is a construction technician.

“I knew me, and my baby could be in serious danger."

“Everything was such a blur. When I came to, I had no idea if I had a baby or not."

Mari (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Thankfully, little Gwion had arrived safely, weighing 5lb 12oz, and soon after both mother and baby were allowed home.

Put through the mill, Mari needed three months to make a full recovery, which she mostly spent “stuck on the sofa," unable to properly care for her newborn son, instead, relying on Gerallt to take look after them both.

But her recovery signaled the start of a new dawn for Mari who, in April 2018, then a size 18, vowed to get into the best shape of her life, so she never missed out on a moment of her son's life again.

Mari and her husband (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Mari explained:

“Not being able to take care of Gwion for those first few months after the operation was heartbreaking."
“I've always yo-yo dieted and never been one to exercise a lot. But those 12 weeks were a real wake up call. I was so weak I could barely bend down to pick up my son."
“It made me realize that to be the best mum to Gwion when I recovered, I needed to be as fit and healthy as possible, so I never missed any moments with him again."

But losing weight meant changing the habits of a lifetime for Mari a “serial yo-yo dieter," whose weight had crept up to over 200 lbs.

She said:

“Throughout my life I've struggled with my weight and yo-yo dieting and I've never been able to stick to a weight loss plan for long."
“I suppose I never had enough motivation or willpower to."

Mari (Collect/ PA Real Life)

At 5ft 3 and weighing 208 lbs, Mari had a body mass index (BMI) – used to measure a healthy weight – of 36.8, compared to the NHS recommended figure of between 18.5 and 25, meaning she was classed as obese.

But, at last, her baby had given her the motivation to slim down successfully.

“Having little Gwion was all the motivation I needed to get myself as fit and healthy as possible," she said.

Mari with her son and husband (Collect/ PA Real Life)

And, by April 2019, Mari had shrunk from 208 lbs to 140 lbs, reaching her goal weight.

But not content simply to maintain her slender size 10 frame, by April this year Mari had shed another 7 lbs – and even ran her first half marathon in Cardiff in September.

“This is the slimmest I've ever been in my life," she said. “I hit my goal weight a year ago and over the last year I've lost another half a stone."

Mari and her husband (Collect/ PA Real Life)

She added:

“I've completely transformed my life. I never imagined I'd be able to run a few miles let alone half a marathon. I feel incredible and also in the best shape to be the best mum."

Mari's dramatic transformation has been thanks to following a WW eating plan and adding in exercise to her routine.

But, mostly, she credits a change in mindset for being able to maintain her weight loss one year on.

“My mindset has changed forever I'm never going back to the way I was," she said. “I still enjoy food, and the odd treat, but now it's all about balance and making healthy choices."

Mari had struggled with her weight throughout her adult life, even though she was at her heaviest in April 2018.

She recalled:

“When I wasn't trying to diet, I didn't have the healthiest eating habits. Before I started WW, breakfast was usually a bowl filled with sugary cereal – I'd eat as much as I could fit in it."

Mari (Collect/ PA Real Life)

She continued:

“Lunch was usually some sort of meal deal where I'd buy a sandwich, chocolate and a packet of crisps."
“And dinner was something carby – like pasta with lots of sauce and a slice of bread. And my portion sizes were too big because I'd have the same sized dinner as my husband."
“For pudding, I could polish off a whole bag of Maltesers or Minstrels in one sitting."

Mari has now even run a half marathon (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Stressful situations would also drive her to comfort eat.

“If I had a stressful day at work, I'd come home order a takeaway and wash it down with a bottle of wine and chocolates," she said. “If I was stressed, I'd snack too – I'd eat crisps and chocolate and never think to work out how many calories I was actually eating.

“At the time, it made me feel better, but really it was just a short-term fix."

And, though she was delighted to be able to being Gwion home, she still struggled, given that she was recovering herself.

“It was really tough, I was a new mum, but I could barely do anything for my son myself," she continued.

“Because I wasn't able to do anything my husband took over all the cooking, and it was a lot of quick easy meals like toast, pasta or microwave meals. And because I couldn't move around much my weight started to creep up."

Mari and her husband (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Her turning point came when she had Gwion and, three months into motherhood, joined her local WW class.

“I wanted to get back into shape to be the best mum possible and as a kick start, I gave myself a month to lose one stone (14 lbs)," she explained.

“I joined WW and I followed the plan to a tee and within the first week I'd lost 9lbs."

Mari with her family (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Swapping sugary cereal and snacks for three balanced meals a day, Mari says the weight soon fell off.

She explained:

“It was really easy to follow because all the meals were really tasty – breakfast was usually eggs on toast, lunch was a chicken salad or chicken wrap and dinner was usually fish or meat with some healthy carbs and lots of veg."

Shedding 14 lbs in one month, when Mari went on vacation to an all-inclusive hotel in Cyprus with her husband Gerallt and Gwion in May, she still stuck to the healthy eating plan.

She said:

“Usually, if I was going to an all-inclusive, I'd happily eat everything I saw. I'd have the attitude of, 'I've already paid for this so I'm going to eat it.'"
“But by that point I'd changed my mindset and I didn't think anything of reaching for the fruit and yogurt for breakfast."
“For lunch I'd have fruit and salads, and for dinner I'd eat what I wanted, but I just make sure to have smaller portions."

Mari Wyn Evans (Collect/ PA Real Life)

And since losing weight, Mari has not looked back – even adding exercise into her routine, something she'd never done previously.

She said:

“I started jogging, which is something I'd never done before in my life and I started walking two or three miles every day with the baby, so the weight just seemed to come off."

And in March 2019, just one month before she reached her goal weight, Mari ran her first ever 10km.

Mari on her wedding day (Collect/ PA Real Life)

“Exercise isn't just good for losing weight, it's great for your mind too," she said. “Jogging has kept me on track and helped me stay positive and motivated throughout my weight loss journey."

Then, in September, she ran the Cardiff half marathon.

“I never believed I'd ever be able to run half a marathon," she said. “It was amazing experience running along to all the crowds and Gwion and Gerallt were there to cheer me on too."

Mari and her son (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Being an accomplished half a marathon runner has also helped when it comes to dashing around after her little boy.

“Gwion won't sit still, he's constantly running around doing things," she said. “If I hadn't lost the weight there's no way, I'd be able to keep up with him."

“Now I'm fitter than I've ever been, and I can be the best mum to my son. When I couldn't take care of Gwion for those few weeks it really made me think about looking after myself and my own health."

She continued:

“Even though I'd tried to lose weight before I was never in the right mindset or didn't have enough motivation to do it. But having my son as motivation set me on the right path, because I wanted nothing more to be the best mum."
“Now I'm in the best shape of my life and all it took was a change of mindset, a healthy eating plan and some exercise. I'm proof the WW plan really does work."

Ray Kaur a nutritionist at WW, said staying motivated can be a challenge as our brains can latch onto the idea that we are going to get an instant return for our hard work.

Mari and her son (Collect/ PA Real Life)

She explained:

“While it's natural for our motivation levels to dip, which can mean defaulting to old habits or giving into temptations, it's important to remember it's not a permanent state."
“Remembering your 'why' – the purpose that drives you – and setting small, measurable steps will help you towards your overall goal."
“Studies have shown the effect a few small changes can have on our overall wellbeing."
“This could manifest itself in tweaks to our routines like experimenting with new recipes, trying an online exercise class to shake up work outs or even getting to bed a little earlier, meaning you'll feel more refreshed the next day."