THE feeling of dread filled Danielle Richmond’s stomach as she imagined putting on a size 26 bridesmaid’s dress for her father’s wedding.
She’d ballooned to a staggering 22 stone and the prospect of hundreds of guests seeing just how big she’d become made her feel sick to the stomach.
On top of this, a health scare while on holiday in Tenerife had made Danielle, from Lossiemouth, Scotland, realise the stark reality of her weight gain.
Determined to do something about her size, the shop assistant, 27, signed up to Slimming World and has since shed an incredible nine stone and dropped six dress sizes.
And Danielle even managed to transform her figure to a trim 13 stone without giving up her favourite foods including pizza and Diet Coke.
She said: “I had a few family weddings and I was a bridesmaid for my dad at his. I didn’t want to be the fat bridesmaid at his wedding, I wanted to be more confident.
“I had lost seven stone in time for my dad’s wedding. I lost 10lbs in the last two weeks before the wedding and the dress fit me perfectly.
“It was such a good feeling. Family I hadn’t seen for a long time were all complimenting me.
“It was really good to know they could see a positive change in me.
“My brother was crying as I walked down the aisle, he knew it meant so much to me. He was like my personal trainer.”
I just can’t believe I have lost so much weight, I always forget I looked like that. It wasn’t easy, but I was really determined
Danielle first realised she needed to do something about her weight after coming home from holiday with chest pains.
She visited her GP who warned her the extra weight she was carrying that was making her severely ill.
Her weight had also impacted her mental health – and she would avoid going out in public over concerns what people might think of her.
Danielle would wear big t-shirts in the pool on holiday and hide under baggy clothes.
She said: “I was shy, I used to put off going out in public. I was always worried about what people thought.
“I hated the thought of seeing people.
“I came home from a holiday in Tenerife and had chest pains and the doctors said it was connected to my weight.
“All the food and booze on holiday wouldn’t have helped.
“I used to work in bars and would drink full fat fizzy pop, eat crisps, chocolate and peanuts.
Danielle's diet before and after
Breakfast: Latte, and gingerbread muffin
Lunch: Baked potato with butter and coleslaw, heaps of filling.
Snacks: Two packets of crisps, a packet of haribo and two tins of coca cola
Dinner: Pizza, chips, takeaway, convenience meals
Breakfast: Weetabix and milked or low calorie cooked breakfast
Lunch: Soup or baked potato with Cajun chicken, cheese and beans
Snacks: A can of diet coke
Dinner: Home made pizza, pasta dishes
“I was so bad, I would just eat convenience food that was handy.
“I couldn’t even hoover the stairs, I would get out of breath and all the girls at work would laugh at me that I was so unfit.”
Following this realisation, and with her father’s impending wedding day, Danielle decided to join Slimming World in April 2017.
She ditched the takeaways, sweets and fizzy pop that she would gorge on before – and instead started cooking all her food from scratch.
And before long, Danielle had dropped to a comfortable size 14 and regained her confidence in time for her dad’s wedding.
She said: “Now I cook everything from scratch and I know what it in my food.
“My Slimming World lady is amazing. She’s great, she’s always there when I want to chat and she’s so supportive.
“I just can’t believe I have lost so much weight, I always forget I looked like that.
“It wasn’t easy, but I was really determined. When you have something in your head, you have to do it for yourself.”
Danielle, who now runs at least 5km twice a week as part of a running club, even managed to put on a bikini for the first time ever on holiday in Marbella last summer.
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And she managed to lose two more stone since her dad’s wedding in July last year.
She added: “I feel a lot better now, I feel loads more confident.
“I wear skinny jeans, jump suits and swim suits that I would never wear before.”
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