When I saw this photo I felt rounder than the Christmas pudding and I knew I had to act. By Krystal Punt, 32

I groaned as I opened my fridge and surveyed the contents. 

“There’s nothing to eat here again,” I muttered, closing the door.

I searched the cupboards for a tasty snack - before remembering exactly where I could find one.

My secret stash.

I crept upstairs, past the spare room where my husband Jon, 29, was sleeping after his night shift at Sainsbury’s.

I opened my knicker drawer, and rummaged around until I found my hidden haul of chocolate.

Snickers or a Crunchie? It was a tough choice. Both?

I felt a thrill run through me as I secretly devoured my chocolate treats. I’d daydream about my sugary snacks all day, counting down the minutes until Jon fell asleep. I’d often scoff several bars in one sitting.

But afterwards, I felt so consumed with guilt that I could barely look at myself. I carefully stuffed the wrappers under the mattress, and busied myself with some housework.

Out of sight, out of mind.

My secret eating was born out of feeling too embarrassed to eat in front of people due to my huge size.

I tipped the scales at 17st 9lbs and I got out of breath carrying around my size 26 bulk all day.

I’ve always been a big girl - I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. I was one of the biggest kids at my school and cruel bullies nicknamed me ‘Piglet’.

I dieted for years, but I could never keep the weight off.

As I got older, things only got worse as I comfort ate my way through huge Chinese takeaways followed by a bag of sweets for dessert. I loved food, but afterwards I would be consumed with guilt and self-loathing.

I tried every diet under the sun but they never worked and I always ended up eating more than ever to make myself feel better. It was a vicious cycle.

I’ll just start again on Monday, I always thought to myself. But my willpower to make a change barely lasted more than a few days at a time.

After having my two children Alfie, now nine, and Autumn-Rose, now two, I got even bigger than before.

I’d drop Alfie at school, before driving straight to McDonald’s for breakfast.

Of course this didn’t help matters - and my confidence was hit with every pound I gained.

I usually covered my body in drab, tent-like t-shirts, and clothes shopping was a dreaded task that I only attempted if I was really desperate.

It was always a total nightmare getting anything to fit me, and I’d usually end up in tears.

My confidence was non-existent. I struggled to walk up a few stairs without gasping for breath and doctors warned I was at risk of developing diabetes.

I knew Jon loved me for who I was, but I certainly didn’t love myself.

However, if there was one thing that was always bound to cheer me up, it was Christmas

It’s always been my favourite time of the year. I love everything about it - the films, the twinkling decorations, and of course the food!

It’s the season for overindulgence - meaning that I didn’t need to stuff my face in secret, because everyone else was at it too!

Then one day, a few weeks before Christmas 2015, we took the children to a grotto so they could meet Santa.

I dressed Autumn-Rose - who was still a baby - in a cute Christmas dress and beamed with pride as Alfie explained to Santa that he had been a very good boy that year.

The whole grotto looked beautiful, with sparkling fairy lights everywhere and loads of Christmas trees. As we sipped hot chocolate, I was content and feeling very festive.

“Sit there, I’ll take a nice picture of you and the kids,” Jon insisted as we posed for the festive photo.

My stomach churned. I absolutely hated having my picture taken and usually shied away from the camera.

“Why don’t I take the picture instead?” I suggested, but Jon wouldn’t to take no for an answer. I reluctantly sat down and wrapped my arms around Alfie and Autumn-Rose.

“Come on, crack a smile, Krystal,” Jon instructed, chuckling to himself. I smiled weakly as I waited for him to take the festive snap.

A few days later, when I saw the picture, my jaw dropped. I looked rounder than a Christmas pudding.

“Urgh, I look huge,” I said to Jon, looking at his phone in disgust. “I hate it.”

“You look fine love,” he replied.

But the image of me looking fatter than Santa was firmly imprinted in my mind, and a few weeks later, in January 2016, I got rid of the Snickers in my knickers and vowed to stop my secret eating for good.

I joined Slimming World and when the pounds started to melt away, I was over the moon. Everyone was so friendly at my local group, and the plan was easy to follow - it was simply going back to basics, like cooking from scratch.

As the weight dropped off me, it was the motivation I needed to keep going. Now I’ve shed an incredible seven stone and I feel fantastic.

I’m a slim size 12 and I look and feel like a different person. I’ve dyed my hair blonde and pose happily for pictures instead of hiding from the camera.

I wear figure hugging outfits and have even taken up swimming. Jon often says it’s like he has a completely different wife and I’m far more active with the kids, too.

Last Christmas, in December 2017, I bought matching festive dresses for Autumn-Rose and I to wear. She was thrilled - and I beamed happily while Jon took pictures of us.

I still cringe when I look at that turkey of a Christmas picture but I’m so glad I was shamed into action. I certainly won’t be hiding chocolate - or myself - away anymore!

Krystal felt more stuffed than the Christmas turkey when she saw this family festive photo, but we helped her share her slimming success after she made it her New Year's Resolution to shape up and shed an incredible seven stone. If you have a weight loss story you'd like to get published, give us a call on 0117 973 3730 to find out how it works.


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