A COUPLE who lost an incredible 15 stone between them after a car crash scare have decided to go into business helping others to slim down.
Mark and Louise Hannigan, from East Lothian, were named slimming couple of the year for 2015/16 due to their impressive weight loss.
They started dieting after a shock when gas engineer Mark, 41, had a coughing fit behind the wheel and crashed into a lamp post.
The DVLA revoked his licence until he had a BMI of 30 or under – at that point it was 43. He went from being 53 inches to 28 inches around the waist and his wife Louise, 42, has shrunk from a size 20/22 to a slimline 8.
After managing to lose the weight in just seven months, the couple have now celebrated their second wedding anniversary happily and healthily and are unrecognisable from their wedding photographs.
Former dinner lady Louise and Mark have now both retrained as weight loss consultants, aiming to change the lives of others.
The couple say they can act as an inspiration to people wanting to live a healthier lifestyle despite the initial challenge and they claim it has made their relationship even stronger as a result.
Mark said: “We’ve both been there and we know how hard it is, but we know the huge difference losing weight can make to your health, fitness, happiness and relationship and nothing would make us happier than being able to spread that.”
He said his weight ballooned after meeting his wife-to-be in 2010.
“As our relationship grew, so did our bodies. We loved to treat ourselves to junk food and we definitely had over-active ‘fork-hands’. She loves to bake and cook and I loved to sample it all.”
He added: “Initially my motivation [for dieting] was getting back my licence but I quickly realised how much my life was improving, I was starting to completely change my life and become a better husband and stepdad to my sons.
“Apart from the obvious physical differences, the boost in my fitness and confidence and the mental differences have been phenomenal.
“My wife says I’m not grumpy anymore and I’ve definitely noticed that too.
“Our family life, and our love life, has improved no end. On top of that, I’ve got my driving licence back.
“I no longer live half a life but now have a very fulfilling and rewarding life.”
Louise, a former dinner lady at Peebles High School added: “All my life I have been an emotional eater.
“I ate when I was happy or sad. I have been overweight as far back as I can remember and I was a size 18 when I was 18.
“I love to bake and cook. Whenever my family liked a recipe I’d cook it until they were sick of it – homemade cheesecakes, cupcakes, double sized portions of lasagne – I was a feeder.”
She added: “We just want to make a difference to people around us. There will be so many people thinking, like we once did, that it is too hard and they won’t ever succeed – but we are proof that they can, and with our help they will.”
The couple, who both followed the Cambridge Weight Plan, are now experts in weight loss management and are offering face to face, one on one consultations.