A woman whose 17-stone weight would cause her thighs to bleed as they rubbed together has lost a staggering six stone because she did not want to be a ‘wide bride.’
Sara Swallow, 31, from Brighton, ballooned to a size 22 after consuming family-size chocolate bars every day, binge-eating sweets, biscuits and entire tubs of ice-cream on her own and eating high-calorie takeaways.
The mother-of-two, who was also refused the contraceptive pill by her GP who said it was dangerous for ‘obese women’, would also have to cover her thighs in talcum powder after the constant chafing left them bleeding.
But when her painter and decorator partner Lee, 35, proposed on holiday Sara, whose weight meant she could only squeeze her feet into flip flops, vowed to slim down.
Sara Swallow, 31, from Brighton, found that her 17-stone weight left her thighs bleeding as they rubbed together and meant her feet would only fit into flip flops
The mother-of-two, who decided to loose six stone after her painter and decorator partner Lee (right), 35, proposed on holiday, had to have her wedding dress taken in five times in order to walk down the aisle
The hairdresser, who is now a size eight and weighs 10st 13lbs, changed her eating habits drastically after Lee’s proposal
Sara, who began yo-yo dieting in a bid to lose weight, would see-saw between binge-eating and starving herself on juice-only diets.
However after losing a staggering six stone she had to have her wedding dress taken in five times in order to walk down the aisle as a size eight bride.
The hairdresser said: ‘I was so excited when Lee asked me to marry him.
‘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 cheeseburgers washed down with milkshakes, and constant chocolate bars, and in came a healthy, balanced meal plan focusing on fresh fruit and vegetables.
Sara said: ‘I wasn’t hungry and the weight fell off. 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.’
Prior to her weight loss journey (left), Sara would consume a Dairy Milk family size chocolate bar daily and also indulge on high-calorie takeaways. However she swapped the high-fat foods for fruits and vegetables (right after weight loss)
Sara said she felt ‘amazing’ as she walked down the aisle and chose not to have a veil so that she could show off her back
Following her dramatic weight loss which saw her go from a size 22 to a size 8, Sara had to have her wedding dress taken in five times
Suddenly the woman who had 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 have always had a weight problem and was bullied at school and called ‘fat s***’ and so growing up I didn’t have any self-esteem,’ Sara said.
‘It was a vicious circle – I’d eat, then I’d get depressed about my weight, someone would make a comment and then I’d eat to make myself feel better.
Sara’s diet before
Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee with full-fat milk and two sugars and three Custard Cream Biscuits. Two slices of white toast with butter and peanut butter
Snacks: Tea with full-fat milk and sugar and chocolate digestive biscuits, chocolate bar
Lunch: Cheese and ham sandwich, crisps, Dairy Milk family size chocolate bar and a glass of orange juice
Mid-afternoon snack: Sweets (Haribos) or packet of Oreo biscuits
Dinner: Lasagne, potato wedges, salad with mayon, cheese and garlic bread
Most nights would have second helpings of man-size portions followed by small tub Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream
Occasional drink: Prosecco or wine
Sara’s diet 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
Mid-afternoon snack: Apple. Glass of water
Dinner: Home-made wholemeal spaghetti Bolognese with tomato sauce
Occasional drink: Gin and slimline tonic
‘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. I’d have to cover them with talcum powder because they chafed so much.
‘My feet were so fat and swollen they would only fit into flip flops and then they got stuck to my feet. That was my biggest and it was a nightmare.
‘My boobs were 38E and so I’d wear tent dresses to hide them. Having sex I always felt too big because I weighed more than Lee.
‘He always thought I looked good and didn’t care what size I was or how much I weighed, but I wasn’t going to let myself down wearing a big wedding dress.’
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.
‘It was a brilliant surprise and since then I’ve had to have my solitaire diamond engagement ring made seven sizes smaller.’
Sara found her diet filling and she used her ‘sins’ to eat chocolate – but this time it was a small KitKat rather than a family-size chocolate bar.
She said: ‘I’ve always been a chocoholic – it has always made me feel better and it tastes good – and so I suffered from headaches after I gave it up. I was quite moody, but that didn’t last too long.
‘I had more energy, and wanted to do exercise for the first time in my life. And I was so proud when I could wear a bikini and knew that there were no rolls of fat and that I looked good.
‘I bought my dress in a sale off the rack and everytime 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.
Sara (left before weight loss and right after), who has lost seven inches of each arm and now has a thigh gap, said that while Lee (left and right) had always told her she looked good, her weight had always left her with self-esteem issues
‘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.’
Following her dramatic life change, Sara went from a size 22 to a size 8 and now weighs 10st 13lbs.
She now wears a 34C bra size, has lost seven inches of fat from each arm and also has a thigh gap where once there was cellulite.
Sara added: ‘I felt amazing walking down the aisle.
‘My dress was backless and I didn’t have a veil as I didn’t have any back fat for the first time in my life. I wanted to show off my smooth back.
‘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.
‘I love looking at my wedding photos as they don’t just show how much I love Lee but they show how far I’ve come.’