I was fat, frumpy and fed up but then my hubby dropped a bombshell which forced me to change for good…
By Sue Hayes, 47, from York
Opening the fridge, I grabbed a family-sized bar of chocolate and settled down on the sofa to watch television. Ten minutes later, I had demolished the whole bar, and that was after eating a whole multipack of crisps.
I had steadily gained weight after having my four children, Michelle, 29, Leanne, 27, Lee, 24 and Billy, 19, but it was when my father passed away in April 1995 my figure really took a hit.
Overwhelmed with grief, I turned to food to cope and comfort ate to make myself feel better. I couldn’t be bothered to cook healthy meals, so instead I opted for takeaways and unhealthy fast fixes. The problem was, the more I ate the worse I felt about myself, so I had to eat again. It was a vicious cycle.
A typical yo-yo dieter, I tried all the diets under the sun and I’d manage to lose a few stone, only to pile the weight back on again. Soon, I weighed in at 18st 10lbs and hid my hulking frame under size 24 clothes.
I felt lethargic and low and doctors were forever nagging me to lose weight when I began suffering with a never ending list of health issues.
What should have been a ten minute walk to the local shops used to take me 30 minutes and left me panting for breath and in immense pain. My lower back, hips, knees and ankles would throb due to my excess baggage.
My confidence took a battering, too – I stayed in, not wanting to see anybody as I was so ashamed of my appearance.
I hated clothes shopping, as nothing would ever fit and couldn’t even reach my own feet to fasten my shoes, as my belly got in the way as I bent down.
At least I knew my husband Lee, 39, loved me for who I was. We had been married since Valentine’s Day 1995 and he had always treated me like a princess, whatever my size. But as I got bigger, I started to let my insecurities over my weight get the better of me.
One night, I got into bed and Lee put his arm around me suggestively. I shrank away, panicking that he’d feel my rolls of flab.
“What’s the matter?” he asked, looking hurt. “Why don’t you want me anywhere near you?”
“I’m just tired,” I lied, quickly turning off the bedside lamp and turning over.
I knew Lee would feel rejected, but I couldn’t bring myself to relax around him when I felt so fat and unattractive.
It got to the point when I wouldn’t even undress in front of him, and the more I refused his advances in the bedroom, the more frustrated he became.
Soon, Lee and I were arguing over every little thing, and although I hoped it was just a phase, the situation only worsened between us.
Then one day, my sex-starved husband dropped a bombshell.
“Sue, we need to talk,” he said. “I think we should go to marriage counselling.”
I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. Lee explained that he didn’t feel close to me anymore, that he thought we were growing apart.
“You just don’t seem interested in me anymore,” he shrugged. “Do you even still love me?”
I was devastated that my lovely hubby thought I no longer loved him – I was still besotted with him.
But as we chatted it suddenly dawned on me – my marriage was on the rocks because of my size. We were going for months at a time without sex and Lee was at breaking point.
If I didn’t lose weight, I could lose my marriage.
I agreed to go to marriage counselling where it became apparent my confidence issues were driving a wedge between us. I loved Lee too much to let him go and I vowed there and then to make a change.
“I’ll fix this,” I promised him. “I love you and I want to work this out.”
I’d already lost a stone by the time I joined Slimming World in September 2015, and I was thrilled when I lost another stone in my first month on the plan.
Swapping my takeaways for homemade meals and cutting down on the huge bars of chocolate, I found the plan surprisingly easy to stick to and by February 2016 I hit my weight loss target.
Now, weighing in at 12st 10lbs, I’m six stone lighter and a slinky size 12, I’ve never looked better – and I’m not the only one who’s noticed.
Lee lavishes me with compliments and as the pounds fell away my confidence soared – both in and out of the bedroom!
I’ve banished my health complaints, clothes shopping has become fun again – and best of all, my sex life with Lee is fantastic.
We’ve never been closer and I love flaunting my fab new figure in sexy outfits on date nights with Lee.
On Valentine’s Day 2016, Lee proposed to me all over again by writing the words ‘Will you remarry me?’ in rose petals on the bed. I almost cried with happiness.
“I can’t believe I almost lost you,” I beamed as we toasted our relationship. We plan to renew our wedding vows on our 25th wedding anniversary, in February 2020.
Losing weight is the best thing I’ve ever done – it saved my sex life, and my marriage!
Lee says: “I’ve always loved Sue for exactly who she was – to me, she’s always been my beautiful wife. But after she gained weight her confidence dropped so much she just wouldn’t let me near her. Her weight never bothered me, but it bothered her to the point where she was shrinking away every time I initiated sex. I felt like she was pushing me away and after a while, our relationship was on the brink. We attended marriage counselling, and fought hard to save our relationship. When Sue started to lose the weight, her confidence slowly returned and everything got back on track. Now we’re closer than ever.”