My weight was getting out of control – but what would it take for me to shift the pounds?
By Vicci Fish, 32, from Cardiff
I pulled on my pyjamas and slumped on the sofa. I was exhausted after a long day at my desk, at the traffic control centre where I regularly worked 12 hour shifts.
In addition to this, I had a toddler running around – Noah, now three, who certainly kept me busy. Plus I also had Antony – my 14-year-old foster son, to take care of.
But there was a much bigger reason why I was so tired all the time – I weighed a colossal 24st 8lbs. I was a size 24 and my hulking frame meant I was always fatigued and miserable.
‘Vicci, let’s go to the pub for a drink, it’s been ages,’ my boyfriend Chris, 34, nagged, but I always shook my head.
‘No thanks, I just want to stay in and watch TV tonight – you go ahead,’ I replied with a smile.
But as soon as he left I burst into tears. The real reason I couldn’t bear to leave the house was because I was so big, I didn’t have any clothes to wear.
Every time I went out, I was paranoid that people were staring at me, thinking I was fat, so it seemed easier to stay in with a bar of chocolate.
As a result, Chris and I were growing apart. We had been together for almost a decade but while he was confident and outgoing, I became more and more shy and retiring.
He was at the gym six times a week, while I just grew bigger. Whenever I climbed the stairs, I quickly became out of breath.
I could only walk short distances and I had even started to use a stool so I could sit down while I did the dishes.
‘Come to the gym with me, it’ll be fun,’ Chris coaxed, but I always shrugged him off. And instead of being grateful for his encouragement for me to be healthier, I started to resent him for it.
Growing up, I had always been big but my weight got out of control after I had Noah, An emergency Caesarean meant my mobility was restricted and I comfort ate as I struggled to recover from the op and cope with a new baby.
I’d easily scoff an entire packet of biscuits in one sitting and would gorge on Chinese or Indian takeaways at least three times a week.
When I went back to work after my maternity leave I’d regularly pick up a McDonalds breakfast to start my day and follow it with a Greggs pasty and calorific cake at lunch.
It was no surprise that I soon tipped the scales at my heaviest ever weight, and as I swamped my figure in drab, baggy outfits, my confidence hit rock-bottom – and that’s when the green-eyed monster reared its ugly head.
Soon, my mind ran away with me. One night, as Chris was getting ready to go out, I snapped.
‘Are you seeing someone else?’ I asked accusingly.
He looked at me like I was mad. ‘No!’ he snapped back. ‘You need to relax, perhaps if you came out with me once in a while you would see that there’s nothing to worry about.’
It was irrational but I couldn’t shake the feeling that Chris was looking for someone else as I slobbed out at home with a takeaway.
I’d always apologise, but deep down I knew I didn’t trust him as much as I used to. I couldn’t believe he wouldn’t look elsewhere when he only had me to come home to…
One day, in October 2013, Chris came home and gave me a weary look.
‘Vicci, we need to talk,’ he said slowly. ‘This isn’t working – we’re arguing too much and you’re too paranoid that I’m cheating. I’m sick of being accused of having an affair when I’m not.’
I stared at Chris – the love of my life – as he packed his stuff and left me to move back in with his mother. I was heartbroken – my paranoia had finally pushed him away.
From then, we only saw each other when he came to pick up Noah. It was tough, but the break-up made me determined to change. I’d already joined Slimming World and lost three stone before Chris left, but I was still hugely insecure.
I needed to get my confidence – and Chris – back.
With a new motivation I tackled my diet with a new vigour. I swapped the McDonald’s breakfasts for eggs and tomatoes, chocolate bars for fruit and yogurts, and the takeaways for healthy home-cooked meals. To my delight, the weight began to fall away.
As my body shrank, my confidence grew and instead of hiding away, I began to accept invitations to go out with friends.
My new figure and glamorous wardrobe attracted lots of compliments – but there was only one person I wanted to notice, and that was Chris.
So when he came around to pick up Noah, I did my best to chat to him. I wanted to show him that I was no longer the clingy, paranoid person I used to be. I had changed – both inside and out.
‘You look amazing,’ he told me, as my heart skipped a beat.
Slowly, we started talking about where it all went wrong, and in October 2014, a year after our split, Chris admitted that he still loved me and wanted to give our relationship another try.
I was thrilled. I’d lost 7st 7lbs by then and was finally happy in my own skin. Chris moved back in and now, we’re stronger than ever. I’ve lost a total of 10 stone so far and now weigh a much healthier 14st 7lbs.
Splitting with Chris was heartbreaking but it’s what I needed to change. I’m so glad I lost the weight to win back my man!
Chris says: ‘Life with Vicci had become hard work because she was overweight and never wanted to go out anywhere. She didn’t have any confidence and was really paranoid about who I was with. I ended up moving out into my old bedroom – complete with Spiderman bedding – at my mum’s.
It wasn’t great and I missed the family unit. But when Vicci started losing more and more weight she changed. Not only did she look incredible but she had more of a life. She was going out and had a lot more confidence.
I found myself getting jealous that she might meet someone else, and I really missed her, so we got back together. These days, she looks so good it’s me who gets paranoid! I’m really proud of her.’