Size 20 woman loses five-and-a-half stone to fit into size 8 dress on her wedding day after vowing her fiance would 'marry the woman he met'
15:39 GMT, 31 May 2012
A woman who got engaged when she was a size 20 has shed an incredible five-and-a-half stone – and managed to wear her dream wedding dress – in a tiny size eight.
Sarah Ward, 30, ballooned from size twelve to size 20 after meeting her boyfriend, Chris, in 2000.
As she swapped evenings at the gym for cosy nights in on the sofa, and the healthy food she once enjoyed for microwave meals, her waistline kept growing.
But after Chris proposed, Sarah vowed he would marry the woman he'd met – and managed to shed an astonishing five-and-a-half stone before the big day.
Unhealthy: Sarah Ward's weight ballooned after she met her future husband Chris. /05/31/article-2152646-13620BC6000005DC-477_306x652.jpg” width=”306″ height=”652″ alt=”Sarah Ward pictured before her wight loss ” class=”blkBorder” />
'I stopped exercising and and eat on the go, or have a ready meal,' says Sarah (pictured before weight loss)
Just a year after getting engaged, Sarah walked up the aisle in her dream dress, a strapless ivory gown that was two sizes smaller than the dress size she wore when they started dating.
Sarah, from Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear, said: 'When I met Chris, I was a size 12 and happy with my figure.
'But typically, I got preoccupied by the relationship and my job, and I stopped looking after myself. I stopped exercising and and eat on the go, or have a ready meal in front of the telly without taking time out to think what I was doing to myself.
'I thought I was happy the way I was, but looking back, I was miserable.
Goal: Sarah, 30, was determined to slim down for her big day – and in the end, when they got married, Sarah was two sizes smaller than she was when she first started dating Chris
'Chris proposing really gave me the motivation I needed to lose weight. I was determined to walk down the aisle the same size I was when we'd met.
'I didn't tell anyone I was going on a diet, because I didn't want anyone to put me off.
'I was thrilled when I not only hit my goal weight, but actually surpassed it.'
trying dozens of diets and weight loss plans, Sarah signed up for
LighterLife – and the pounds immediately began melting away.
New lease of life: 'I'd get up in the morning and be really depressed that I couldn't wear my fashionable clothes that didn't fit,' says Sarah. 'I'd always loved fashion but I just had a choice of different big black tents that I could wear'
Fit: Healthy Sarah now exercises regularly and even ran the Great North Run this year, and right, she feels like a new woman after losing the weight. 'I'll never go back to how I was,' she says
She lost six dress sizes in six months – and had already passed her target weight six months before the wedding.
And impressively, six months after her wedding, she has managed to keep the weight off for more than a year.
Sarah added: 'I'll never go back to how I was – losing the weight has completely transformed my life.
Delighted: Sarah was over the moon to be able to walk down the aisle feeling proud of her slender figure
'I was comfortable in my relationship, and I qualified as an audiologist soon after Chris and I started dating, which meant I was working long hours and travelling up and down the country.
'I didn't find the time to exercise or look after myself, and I thought I was happy, but I realise now I wasn't.
'If we went out with friends, I'd grab dinner at home, and then if we went to the pub, I'd eat another meal with everyone else. I just didn't think about what I was doing to myself.
'I'd get up in the morning and be really depressed that I couldn't wear my fashionable clothes that didn't fit.
'I'd always loved fashion but I just had a choice of different big black tents that I could wear.
'I decided I was going to lose weight just after I got engaged, but I didn't tell anyone at first – not even Chris.
'I planned to go wedding dress shopping with my mum and bridesmaids exactly a year to the day before our wedding.
'I knew it was going to be an awful day, and I was going to look terrible, but I had to do it to give me that kick.
'All my family told me I looked beautiful, but I knew I looked frumpy and awful. I picked out the dress I wanted, even though I looked terrible in it.
'My mum even took me to one side and suggested I get something less clingy – but I was adamant I'd be back.
'When I went back to the dress shop six months later, I picked up the same dress, but in a size eight, not a 20 – and it fitted beautifully.
'I know Chris would love me whatever size I was, but I wanted to lose the weight for me.
'The LighterLife plan did help me to lose weight very quickly, but I also received regular counselling sessions as part of the plan, that have helped me reevaluate my relationship with food.
'I was thrilled with my wedding photos, and I felt confident to strut my stuff in a bikini on our honeymoon too.
'I spent my entire twenties being fat, but I know I'll never go back.