A woman who was so fat her thighs bled when they rubbed together, lost six stone because she didn’t want to be a ‘wide bride.’
Self-proclaimed chocoholic Sara Swallow ballooned to a size 22 eating family-size chocolate bars every day as a snack.
The 17-stone mum of two would also binge eat sweets, biscuits and entire tubs of ice-cream on her own as well as fattening takeaways and junk food.
She was so overweight she could only squeeze her feet into flipflops and her GP refused to give her the contraceptive pill as it was too dangerous for ‘obese women’.
Sara, 31, began yo-yo dieting in a bid to lose weight, see-sawing between binge-eating and starving herself on juice only diets.
It was only after her painter and decorator partner Lee, 35, proposed on holiday and she spotted a picture of herself bursting out of a size 22 jumpsuit on her 30th birthday that she vowed to slim.
She lost a staggering six stone and had to have her wedding dress taken in five times to walk down the aisle as a size eight bride.
“I was so excited when Lee asked me to marry him,” Sara, a hairdresser from Brighton, said.
“But the idea of walking down the aisle – or waddling more like – filled me with horror.
“I wasn’t going to get married in a huge tent-like dress so I decided to change my bad eating habits drastically.”
Out went the fish and chip suppers, double cheeseburger large meal snacks washed down with milkshakes, and constant chocolate bars. In came a healthy, balanced meal plan focusing on fresh fruit and veg.
“I wasn’t hungry and the weight fell off,” Sara said.
“I watched a new me – a thin me – emerge in the mirror and couldn’t believe that was me. I looked as good as I felt.”
Suddenly the woman who’d hated seeing photographs of her as a ‘beached whale’ in a frumpy, floral swimming costume could wear tiny bikinis as she went from flab to fab.
“I was greedy and lazy. I ate what I wanted and never went to the gym. I only went for a walk if there was cake at the end of it and yet I hated how I looked.
“My thighs were enormous and covered in cellulite and deep dimples. My arms were almost as big as my thighs and I had rolls of back fat.
“When it was hot or when we went abroad on holiday, I could hardly walk I was so big. My thighs were so chunky they’d rub together and bleed.”
Sara joined a local Slimming World club after Lee dropped to one knee during a family holiday to Ibiza with their children, Archie, eight, and Harry, four.
“I bought my dress in a sale off the rack and every time I went for a fitting they had to keep taking it in. I was so happy until two days before the wedding the seamstress told me not to lose anymore.
“She took it in one last time and said it would hang off me if I lost any more weight. It was beginning to gape at the front as my breasts were so much smaller.”
Sara had gone from a size 22 to a size 8 and now weighs 10st 13lbs.
“It was such a special day and I was so proud of myself. I looked and felt beautiful for the first time.
“Now I want to inspire others – I was the laziest, greediest person around and so if I can lose weight, anyone can.”
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What Sara ate before
Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee with full-fat milk and two sugars and 3 Custard Cream Biscuits Two slices of white toast with butter and peanut butter.
Mid-morning snack: Cup of Tea with full-fat milk and sugar. Chocolate digestive biscuit.
Lunch: Cheese and ham sandwich made with white bread and lashings of mayonnaise. Cheese and Onion crisps, a Dairy Milk family size chocolate bar and a glass of orange juice.
Mid-afternoon snack: Sweets (Haribos) or packet of Oreo biscuits.
After picking children up from school: Cup of tea and biscuits.
Dinner: Lasagne made with creamy sauce, served with potato wedges, salad coated with mayonnaise and cheese and garlic bread. Small tub Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream.
Fish and chips on Fridays and double cheeseburger large meals washed down with chocolate milkshake.
Late Night Snack: Chocolate bar.
Occasional drink: Prosecco or wine.
What Sara eats now
Breakfast: Greek fat free yoghurt with fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Cup of coffee with semi-skimmed milk and sweetener.
Mid-morning snack: Satsuma. Glass of Water (drinks 2 litres a day)
Lunch: Wholemeal bagel (no butter) with ham, lettuce, cucumber and tomato along with a tiny amount of low fat Mayonnaise. Diet Coke.
Mid-afternoon snack: Apple. Glass of water.
Dinner: Home-made wholemeal spaghetti Bolognese with tomato sauce.
Occasional drink: Gin and slimline tonic.