I was over the moon when I married William. But then the wedding photos came back…
By Janice Robertson, 34, from Dunfermline, Fife
“Pass me the chips will you, love?” my hubby William asked me, putting down his greasy slice of pizza.
I smiled and pushed the carton of chips towards him, before helping myself to a piece and washing it down with some diet coke.
William, 35, and I loved our food – we’d find any excuse to reach for the takeaway menu. Our favourite was a fish and chip supper but we also loved ordering pizza.
After devouring a 12” pizza each, we’d slump on the sofa to watch television, with a family-sized bar of chocolate each for dessert. If we felt peckish later on, we would often grab a large bag of crisps each, too.
Soon enough, we weighed in at a whopping 35st 8lbs between us. I knew I was getting fat, but so was William, so I didn’t really care. We were like two peas in a pod, and were perfectly happy just the way we were.
I was 19 when we met, and William was 20. We fell in love quickly and when we moved in together we soon started to get comfortable. Our favourite way to spend an evening was to curl up together with fast food and a film.
I have always struggled with my weight, yo-yoing all my life. It was a vicious cycle because the more I tried to diet and lose weight, the more I fell off the wagon and I would gain more than ever before.
After having my children Taylor, 12 and Megan, 10, my figure really took a hit. I was exhausted taking care of the kids and I would snack constantly to keep my energy up – even while I was at work I was eating loads of chocolate and crisps.
I just didn’t have the willpower to do anything about my figure, even though it made me feel really unhappy. I was just really uncomfortable in the body I was in. I hated clothes shopping as nothing would ever fit, and my confidence was at rock bottom.
William’s health was also suffering – he was struggling with type one diabetes and he was so fat he couldn’t even bend over to tie his shoelaces.
When we married in August 2007, I weighed a hefty 18st 8lbs, while William tipped the scales at 17st and wore a size XXXL.
My weight meant I was left blushing for all the wrong reasons. Instead of feeling proud to be the centre of attention, I hated it.
I swore blind I would lose weight before the wedding, but it never really happened. So on the big day I felt like the largest person in the room.
I should have felt like a princess, but instead I felt like a monster. I tried to suck in my bulging belly as I walked down the aisle in my size 22 dress, but I was miserable and I could barely breathe.
“You look beautiful,” William said when he set eyes on me, and I smiled weakly in response.
The truth was, it should have been the happiest day of my life, but I had to remind myself to smile. I kept worrying that people could see my lovehandles and every time we posed for a picture I had to hold my breath.
More than anything, I was just disappointed in myself – I couldn’t believe I’d ruined my big day by being so big.
After the wedding, I tried to move on and forget how I felt, but when we received the wedding photographs a few months later, I was horrified.
I felt like crying when I first set eyes on them. Most brides proudly display their wedding pictures on their walls but I was mortified.
I refused to frame any of the photographs of me, preferring to frame some of William and the two kids instead. The rest of the pictures were banished to a box under the bed.
It wasn’t until years later, after we had our third child – Billy, now four, that the subject of our wedding came up again.
“I wasn’t at your wedding was I Mum?” he asked.
“No Billy, you were born afterwards,” I replied.
“Can I see your wedding pictures?” he asked, and I froze in horror.
I tried desperately to put him off, but by December 2014 Billy had developed such an obsession with seeing pictures of our big day, I was forced to reluctantly pull them out from their hiding place.
Together, we went through them, and even though it was years later, I felt that familiar knot of shame in my stomach.
The image of me bulging out of my wedding dress, with my chubby face smiling for the camera made me feel sick. William didn’t look much better, either.
Suddenly, something inside me snapped. I hated being fat, but I’d never had the strength or the motivation to do anything about it.
I wanted to change the way I felt once and for all, and I knew then I had to do something about it. I had to change for good.
I marched into the other room, where William was sat in his usual position, watching television.
“Right, that’s it,” I said. “We are joining Slimming World together. I’ve made up my mind – we’re doing it.”
William looked up at me and nodded slowly, and in January 2015, we went to our first group meeting.
By that point, I weighed 17st 9lbs and William was 18st 10lbs. We were both shocked at the numbers when we stepped on the scales, but if anything that just made me more determined.
We started learning how to cook healthy meals made completely from scratch. I was amazed when we could still cook all our favourites – like fish and chips and homemade burgers.
At the end of our first month, we lost a stone each – we were absolutely over the moon. For the first time in my life I felt like there was hope of me finally slimming down for good.
By March 2016, we had lost a whopping seven stone each. I’m now 10st 9lbs and William weighs 11st 10lbs.
Since losing the weight, we’ve also started to exercise more – we go on lots of walks with the dog, and go on long cycle rides together.
William looks amazing, and for the first time in years I feel slim and sexy. We were awarded our group’s ‘Couple of The Year’ status this year too, which was incredible.
I always said that if I ever lost weight I’d want to renew our vows, so we’ve booked to have a ceremony in July 2017 – ten years after we first got married.
This time, I’ll be wearing a beautiful size 12 wedding dress, which I’ve already bought. It’s a gorgeous, corset-style dress which is very figure hugging.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be wearing a dress like that – I’m thrilled.
Now, I can’t wait to take brand new wedding pictures to replace the old ones. This time, I’ll have a wedding album I’ll never forget – for all the right reasons.
William says: “I knew that Janice and I both gained a lot of weight due to our unhealthy lifestyles, but it was awful when she said she felt so uncomfortable on our wedding day. I thought she looked beautiful of course, but she was completely right when she said we needed to sort ourselves out.
“Slimming World turned out to be the best decision we ever made and I was thrilled when I started losing weight. It was much easier than I ever thought it would be and now we are like a completely different couple. Janice looks amazing and I’m more in love with her than ever – I can’t wait to renew our vows next year, as we will have so much to celebrate.”