I weighed 20 stone when I married my childhood sweetheart. But when the wedding photos came back I knew it was time to change…
By Roxanne Marshall, 23, from Clevedon, Somerset
As I settled down on the sofa with my fiance Ben, 23, and a huge plate of Chinese food, I tried to ignore my mobile phone flashing repeatedly next to me.
It was one of my friends, asking me to go out for a few drinks – but I was far happier hiding away in my living room than facing the agony of choosing something to wear.
At 20 stone, I was forced to cram my curves into size 24 clothing. I had never been slim but when I had my son Callum, now two, in July 2012, the weight piled on even more.
My confidence plummeted and to make myself feel better I would indulge in all my favourite foods – like pizza, chinese and chocolate.
Of course this just made everything worse – it was a vicious cycle.
One day, I was walking with Callum in his pushchair when a kid strolled past and smirked at me.
‘Fatty!’ he yelled, and ran off. My face flushed crimson with embarrassment and I hurried home. After that, I avoided going out in public at all costs.
Ben and I had been together since we were both 16 years old and had got engaged in January 2010.
I knew he loved me for who I was – so I decided against dieting just for one day. I just wanted to focus on what was important – Ben, Callum and I.
The wedding was planned for October 2012 – just a few months after Callum was born, and I had ordered a bright pink dress from the USA because I hated anything white.
But as I waddled down the aisle, I felt horribly self-conscious. I usually hated having my picture taken, but suddenly all eyes were on me.
I found myself flinching every time I felt a camera bulb flash and I was hardly the blushing bride – I kept trying to suck my stomach in or hide my arm fat away.
‘Stop fidgeting, you look beautiful,’ Ben whispered in my ear, and I did my best to enjoy the day without stressing about my weight.
After our big day, I settled back into my usual routine. I loved being married to Ben and as time went on, I grew excited to what see our wedding photographs looked like.
A family friend had taken them and it took around six months for them to be ready.
‘They’re here!’ I squealed when they finally arrived.
But when I opened up the envelope, my heart sank. There was no denying it. I looked more like a blancmange than a bride.
I tried to hide my disappointment as Ben browsed them, and nodded in agreement when he said we should frame one and hang it on the wall.
But every time I looked at it, it was a stark reminder of just how huge I’d become.
It was the motivation I needed to change – so finally, a year after our big day, in October 2013, I signed up to Weight Watchers.
I swapped my chocolate bars for fruit and my sinful pizza and Chinese takeaways for healthy stir fries and homemade soup.
I was delighted when I lost a stone after just three weeks.I kept at it, and as the weight came off, my confidence increased.
A year later, I’d shed a whopping nine stone. At 11 stone and a slinky size 10, I was thrilled – suddenly clothes shopping was far more fun and a night out with my friends seemed much more appealing.
Now, I love exercise and I’m a much more active mum to Callum. I love flaunting my figure for the camera too!
Ben and I hope to renew our vows in a few years’ time and I’ll get my original dress altered to fit my new slim frame. This time, I’ll have a wedding album I’ll never forget – for all the right reasons.