We were in the Four Seasons Hotel on Park Lane when my partner, Ian, asked me to be his wife. We were visiting London for the weekend to celebrate my birthday – little did I know what else he had planned! Before I knew it, he’d whisked me away to Tiffany & Co where we sipped champagne as we looked at rings. In the end, we chose a beautiful cushion-cut diamond – I couldn’t stop looking at it! 

Ian and I had been together for nine years, and we were so excited to start planning our wedding. He’d been so supportive as I’d struggled with my weight, yo-yoing from one restrictive diet to the next. 

Now, though, my weight worries were brought into sharp focus. It was time to start working on the wedding weight loss I truly wanted. I knew I didn’t want to wear a size-24 wedding dress or feel embarrassed about the way I looked in the photos, so I resolved to tackle my lifelong weight problem for good.  

A new beginning

An old colleague had lost weight with Slimming World, so I thought I’d give it a go. Ian got involved, too, helping me cook meals such as Slimming World campfire stew, diet cola chicken and spaghetti carbonara. And in the first week, I lost 8½lbs! 

In the past, any pounds I lost as a result of faddy diets had always piled straight back on again because I hadn’t learnt how to eat in a healthy way. Slimming World was different – it was about permanent lifestyle change, not temporary measures. 

With a few tweaks to ingredients, I found I could eat real meals like pulled pork, pasta bakes and chicken curry, and still lose weight every week.

As well as batch cooking for busy days, I learnt to make simple changes to my eating habits, such as using low-calorie cooking spray, cutting the fat off my meat and snacking on fruit and vegetables. Now I really enjoy being in the kitchen and the Slimming World Magazine, website, app and recipe books are packed full of great recipes.

Making my wedding weight loss dreams a reality

As the weight gradually came off, I felt able to increase my activity levels. I started taking our two border terriers, Scrappy Nelson and Duncan Pickles, for longer walks, often clocking up nine miles a day. That inspired me to follow the Couch to 5K app, and Ian joined me for a run every morning before work. 

I started cycling with Ian, too. He’s always been active, and I loved finally being able to share in his passion for exercise. So, when I saw a size-10 wetsuit for sale online, I snapped it up, determined I’d be able to fit into it a year later for our honeymoon, where I’d be kayaking for the first time.

When I’d decided to lose weight, it was all about being happier with the way I looked. I had no idea it would change other aspects of my life. My mental health massively improved, l started socialising a lot more and I no longer had the crippling back pain I’d struggled with when I was heavier. 

Bride and joy

That summer, 7st lighter, I found a gorgeous wedding dress in the first shop I went to – in a size 14. By the time we got married in May the following year, I’d lost another 3st and it had to be taken in to a size 8! 

Ian’s face was a picture when I arrived at the ceremony. I couldn’t stop smiling – I was so proud of my wedding weight loss!

A few weeks after the wedding, we set off in our motorhome for an action-packed honeymoon in Arisaig, Inverness-shire. After wriggling into my wetsuit, I ran across the beautiful sandy beach with my new husband. We clambered into our kayak, with the dogs in tow, and paddled out to sea. 

Now I’m full of energy, I can look forward to trying activities like indoor skydiving, ziplining and skiing. Best of all, suddenly everything feels new and exciting again for me and Ian. We’re loving married life. 

My five favourite Slimming World recipes

Andria smashed her wedding weight loss target while still enjoying hearty favourites like the filling and fiery Slimming World campfire stew. These five dishes are slimming and super satisfying, too: