Shower of shame!
A quick rinse turned into a humiliating ordeal for kebab-loving Louise…
Peering into the kitchen cupboard, I counted seven dinner plates out onto the dining table.
“Tea’s ready, hurry up!” I called upstairs, dishing up a hearty homemade shepherd’s pie.
It looked delicious… juicy but lean mince, a lovely smear of mash, and a generous side of veg.
But as my seven kids tumbled downstairs to dig in, I just watched as they ate.
It wasn’t that I wasn’t hungry… I’d been too busy rushing around with the housework to eat much.
But I was saving myself for my usual extra large kebab and chips later that night.
At a huge 27 stone I always made sure the kids ate well but my own diet was a different story.
“Ooh, I’ve got a lovely big bar of Dairy Milk for later too,” I thought, remembering my secret chocolate stash.
Every day I’d wash down big greasy piles of fast food with litres of Coca Cola, and I’d been known to devour an entire cake for pud.
Even my size 32 elasticated trousers were bulging at the seams.
So when, in September 2012, we set off on a family holiday to Skegness, I wasn’t fooling myself that I’d be a beach babe.
But I couldn’t wait to get away with the kids and my husband Jamie, 35. It was the first trip for us all together, and we’d hired a lovely caravan near the seaside.
We pulled up at the site and immediately I knew there was going to a problem… the caravan door was tiny!
I waddled up the steps, sized up the doorway, and decided to give it a go sideways.
“That’s a bit of a squeeze,” I joked to the kids, blushing.
At least I was in though, and the relaxation could start.
We unpacked all our bits and pieces, then as usual the talk turned to food.
“What do you fancy tonight, love?” Jamie asked.
Well we were by the sea, we may as well go for the traditional option.
“Fish and chips, I reckon,” I said, already imagining those crispy chunky fries.
“Sounds good to me, let’s get washed and head out,” Jamie said.
I hoisted myself up off the sofa and wobbled over to the bathroom.
It wasn’t exactly spacious though, I noticed as I peered in.
Just a small shower cubicle, no roomy bath to stand in like at home.
But still, I stripped off, turned the water up nice and warm, and climbed in.
Or part way in at least… as I tried to wedge my big belly through the door I became jammed.
Panic set in, I was trapped!
Tears welled in my eyes as I uncomfortably tried to wriggle my way out.
“Are you ok, love?” Jamie called through from the bedroom.
“I’m stuck! Help!” I cried out.
Married for five years, Jamie had been with me through thick and thin. But I’d never felt so ashamed as he handed me a towel, and strained to pull me out.
“It is a bit on the small side,” Jamie comforted me. I knew he was just trying to make me feel better though.
I dried my tears and still headed out for those fish and chips, not wanting to upset the kids.
Inside I resolved to start a diet the day I got back from the holiday.
But I still couldn’t forgot my shame, it followed me round the resort like a bad smell.
The next day I tried to squeeze into a roller-coaster with my eldest Michael, 16, but the safety bar wouldn’t fit over my big tummy.
Then larking around on the beach a day or two later, the kids caught a few snaps of me on camera.
Suddenly feeling self conscious, I held my hands up to block their shots.
“You know I hate pictures,” I chided them.
And of course whenever I looked at that stupid tiny shower, I felt sick.
The kids enjoyed themselves though, and that was what mattered.
So back home, I settled down on the sofa to have a flick through the holiday photos.
But then there was one that made me stop… there was a huge woman smack bang in the middle of all the pictures of the kids.
With her bingo wings and big belly, she’d photobombed my holiday snaps!
Suddenly the truth dawned though… as I looked closer I realised it was me.
Seeing myself caught on camera made me realise just how huge I’d let myself get. I didn’t even recognise myself.
It was too much to bear.
“I’m going to do something about my weight,” I told Jamie that night.
I needed something drastic, so I made an appointment at the doctors just a week after returning from Skegness.
The GP said, “You’re a good candidate for gastric surgery, if that’s what you’d like?”
I knew that was what I needed.
So in February last year I was on the operating table in Luton and Dunstable Hospital.
As I recovered back at home, it was a struggle to even force down a few spoonfuls of soup.
And within a week, I’d already lost a stone.
But it didn’t stop there… soon my frumpy size 32s were swapped for smaller, sexier outfits.
I even started going to the gym!
Now, a year on, I’ve lost more than 15 stone to stabilise at 11 stone 3lbs.
I’m a healthy size 12, and I don’t even dream about those slimy kebabs and greasy chips from my past.
Instead I’m enjoying life, getting out and about with my kids with no fear of embarrassing them.
Although that caravan shower brought me to tears, next time I know I’ll have no problem slipping into it.
I’ve got it to thank for my sexy new figure.
Louise Watson, 33, Northampton
If you think Louise looks great, don’t forget to share her story with your friends and family too. We’ve got lots more Summer Slim-speration for you too – you can still read the entire series from Day One.