I had my perfect man all along but after losing 9st I had my perfect wedding body to match... By Jennifer Manser, 31

Slumping on the sofa, I reached for the family-sized packet of crisps next to me. After a hard day at work, I often came home feeling tired, so I ate to make myself feel better. 

After the crisps, I then scoffed a whole large bar of chocolate - and that was after having a massive Chinese takeaway for tea.

But snacking only helped me feel better for about half an hour, and then I was back to feeling lethargic and depressed.

I’ve always been big, even when I was a child, and the death of my mum when I was just 15 caused me to comfort eat all the time. By the time I reached adulthood I tipped the scales at a hefty 21st 12lbs.

I’d start the day with a pile of toast dripping with butter, peanut butter and jam, lunch would be a packet of crisps and a bar of chocolate and then I’d snack on piles of biscuits all day.

I’d then devour a takeaway for dinner followed by even more chocolate and crisps before bed. On the weekends, I’d always order a pie and chips from the local chippy.

It was hardly a surprise when my weight crept up and I hid my hulking frame in drab size 28 clothes. And although I tried to convince myself I didn’t care, I felt frumpy and unattractive.

It didn’t help that shopping was such a nightmare - I was limited to plus-sized shops like Evans and specialist stores online.

I didn’t like going out with friends as I could never find anything nice to wear, so I just stopped going out altogether.

I was lucky though - my partner Stephen, 34, loved me for who I was, and was more than happy to snuggle up with me on the sofa with a massive pizza and a tub of ice-cream.

We met in October 2009 and fell in love almost immediately. Comfortable in our relationship, I gained even more weight as we spent night after night in front of the television with a takeaway.

In April 2011, I was slouched on the sofa when Stephen brought out a sparkling engagement ring and proposed.

My heart flipped when I saw the sparkling engagement ring, and I couldn’t stop myself from beaming.

‘Yes, of course I’ll marry you!’ I squealed and threw my arms around him.

But as he slid the ring onto my finger, I had a horrible thought. My excitement quickly turned to dread when my thoughts turned to our big day.

The vision of being a wide bride, waddling down the aisle, filled my mind with horror. I wasn’t sure I could find a dress to fit me - I would be a total embarrassment.

‘Let’s wait a while before setting the date,’ I told Stephen, as we talked about wedding plans. ‘Let me lose a bit of weight first.’

A year later, I gave birth to our daughter Grace, now four, and piled on even more weight. I was so busy taking care of my new baby, all thoughts of the wedding were put on hold. Then our son James, followed, born in June 2015.

But every now and again, Stephen would bring the subject up.

‘I’d like to set the date soon,’ he said gently.

Every time he mentioned it, I felt my heart hammering in my chest.

I said: ‘What’s the rush?’ feeling under pressure. ‘Everything is fine as it is, plus I want to lose some weight before I go near a wedding dress anyway.’

I could tell my response disappointed Stephen, but I just couldn’t get married while I was this fat. So I vowed to make a change.

The thing was, every time I started a diet I soon gave it up - it just felt too difficult. I always started with the best of intentions, but a week later I would find myself giving in to sugary treats and junk food because I felt low and tired.

I deserve a treat - I’ll just start again on Monday, I always thought to myself, but then it would happen all over again.

More years passed by - five in fact - but still no wedding. While friends made harmless jokes about me putting off the wedding, Stephen started getting more and more impatient.

‘Don’t you want to get married?’ he’d ask, looking hurt.

‘Of course I do,’ I answered. ‘Just not yet.’

But in January 2016, he made a surprise announcement which forced me into making a decision.

‘It’s time to book the church for the wedding,’ he said. ‘No more waiting.’

That’s when I knew I couldn’t avoid it any longer. I wanted to marry Stephen - just not looking like this.

I longed to be his wife and realised that the only obstacle standing in my way was me. So I looked for a local Slimming World group in my area and attended a meeting a few days later.

I was really nervous at first, but everyone in my group was lovely and I left feeling really motivated. Surprisingly, I found the diet easy to follow and I really enjoyed learning how to cook healthier meals.

I swapped the buttery toast for a bowl of fruit, the sandwich for a healthy salad, the chocolate for fruit and instead of ordering a greasy Chinese from the local takeaway, I would make my own healthy version.

I stuck a particularly embarrassing picture of me on my cupboard door to stop me from snacking and ruining all my hard work. It worked - every time I reached for a biscuit, I caught sight of the picture and stopped myself.

Even Stephen and the kids enjoyed the new meals, and as my energy increased we started doing more out and about as a family.

Soon, the weight was dropping off me. As my dress size shrunk, I rediscovered my passion for shopping and fashion and started buying flattering outfits to wear.

People started doing a double take in the street when they saw me and often complimented me on my appearance.

I even started asking friends if they fancied going to the pub for a drink or for a night out on the tiles - something I hadn’t done in years.

‘Wow, you look amazing - it’s like I have myself a brand new woman,’ Stephen joked as I was getting ready for a night out. ‘Well done love, I’m proud of you.’

I was determined to keep the weight off for good. Whenever I thought about slipping up, I reminded myself about how much I wanted to be a blushing bride - not a bulging bride.

With our big day as motivation, the weight continued to fall off me and my confidence shot through the roof.

Shopping for wedding dresses was an exciting but daunting experience - and something I never quite believed would happen.

I tried on a few before settling on a beautiful gown. Standing in that gorgeous dress, I beamed as I faced the mirror. I felt attractive - and amazing!

I was thrilled when the store owner told me that I would have to get it taken in before the big day.

Finally, in September 2017, we got married. As I got myself ready, I made time to really study myself in the mirror.

I couldn’t help but smile - I had lost a whopping nine stone and I felt like a princess in my size 14 wedding dress.

As I glided down the aisle to meet Stephen, I felt every inch a beautiful bride. He beamed when he saw me, and I noticed a few of the guests who hadn’t seen me for a while looked shocked, too.

‘You look absolutely incredible,’ he whispered when I met him at the altar. I grinned in response.

It was the perfect day and instead of hiding from the camera, I proudly posed for pictures with my handsome groom. Now I joke that Stephen proposed to a porker, but married a corker!

I had my perfect man all along - but I’m so pleased I got the perfect wedding body to match.

After celebrating her wedding - and her slimming success - Jennifer wanted to share her story with other women. The team at Sell My Story worked with Jennifer to place her story in a top UK magazine, so if you've lost weight and want to tell your story, give us a call to find out how it works.


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