A morbidly obese woman who was told she would die before her 30th birthday has shed half her body weight to have her dream baby.
Standing at 170kg, dangerously obese Erin Azzopardi was warned by doctors that if her eating habits continued that she would not be alive to celebrate her 30th birthday.
Back then, the 29-year-old from Leongatha, Victoria, could only wear handmade size 28 clothes that were shipped in from overseas.
But now the inspirational nutrition student has shed an incredible 81kg and dropped six dress sizes – and even lost enough weight to fulfil her lifelong dream of being a mother to her son Oliver, now seven months.
Erin now feels more confident than ever flaunting her brand new 89kg, size 14 figure after undergoing lifesaving lap-band surgery in June 2014.
The mum-of-one said: ‘I’ll never forget that feeling of being told I’d be dead before 30 and that I’d never be able to have children.
‘My whole world felt like it had come crashing down. I just burst into tears.
‘I nearly gave up. I went home and as usual, comfort ate tons of food because I was so depressed.I felt so lost. But then it just hit me about two weeks later.
‘All I’d ever wanted was to be a mother, and I knew if I kept going the way I was going that was never going to happen.
‘I tried all different types of diets, but nothing seemed to work. So I decided to look into weight loss surgery.
‘I got a referral from my doctor and eventually had the lap band procedure a few weeks later.
‘It was the best decision I’ve ever made. I lost 40kg in the first six months after the surgery, and the weight just kept coming off after that.
‘Now I can plan my 30th birthday without fearing I won’t be here to celebrate with my family and friends, it’s amazing.’
Erin said her food addiction stemmed from childhood, when she would steal treats from the kitchen after everyone went to bed, so she could binge eat in private.
Her bariatric surgery involved implanting a silicone device around the top portion of the stomach to make it smaller so that a person’s food intake is dramatically decreased.
After having the operation, she and her husband Robbie, 30, tried for two years to have children – but the pregnancy tests kept coming back negative.
And after seeing a fertility specialist, Erin discovered that her husband suffered from a rare condition called Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia that rendered him infertile.
Erin also suffered from polycystic ovarian syndrome, which made natural conception nearly impossible.
After dealing with this devastating blow, the couple decided that IVF with a sperm donor would be their best option for starting a family.
And on their first attempt at IVF Erin fell pregnant with their son Oliver who was born this January 2018.
Erin said: ‘I’m so grateful and happier than ever to be a mother. I’d like to become an egg donor one day so I can give something back to people in need.
‘It’s hard to believe just a few years ago I was told I’d be dead before 30 and never have kids.
‘Now I’m healthy and blessed with a child.’
Erin now eats a low-carb diet full of lean protein and healthy fresh fruits and vegetable, while she also works out six times a week at her local gym, focusing on weights and light cardio.
The mum is now thinking about getting skin removal surgery in the future to achieve the body of her dreams.
She said: ‘I’m so active and alive. My diet has completely changed, and I feel so healthy.
‘I have a lot of excess skin, but I plan to have surgery within the next two years to remove it.
‘Losing the weight was the best decision I ever made. I feel better than I ever have.
‘I have a long way to go but I’m excited for what the future holds.’
Breakfast: McDonalds, burgers or left over pizza (1000 calories) Mid-morning Snack: Sausage rolls and chocolate (600 calories)
Lunch: Hungry Jack’s takeaway meal (1000 calories) Afternoon snack: Chips and lollies (500 calories)
Dinner: Huge portions of homemade meals i.e chicken schnitzels, pasta or stir fry (1000 calories)
Dessert: Ice cream and chocolate (600 calories)
Drinks: Soft drinks throughout the day (700 calories)
TOTAL: 5,400 calories a day
Breakfast: Protein shake (250 calories)
Mid-morning Snack: Fruit or some nuts (200 calories)
Lunch: Salad with vegetables and protein (450 calories)
Dinner: Protein with vegetables (500 calories)
Drinks: Water or herbal teas (0 calories)
TOTAL: 1,400 calories a day