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My Big Fat Wedding Loss

CAT SHIPLEY, from Durham, had always worried about her weight, but really noticed it creeping up after meeting her husband Andrew at the end of 2009. “We enjoyed our nights in together," she says. "It was that cosy, contentment everyone talks about. By the time we got engaged in July 2012, I had become really conscious of my weight and when I saw our engagement photos, I was distraught”

As Cat's weight increased, her confidence dropped. “I felt like a failure because I couldn’t control my weight and thought other people looked at me and thought the same," she says. "I looked at the photos and thought that had to be the motivation. I needed to do something."

Cat wasn’t convinced she would lose weight successfully. “I just thought I was naturally ‘big’. I felt that what I was eating was quite healthy and I was pretty active anyway," she says.

As the wedding approached, Cat’s anxiety increased. “I was dreading being centre stage on the day and I put off wedding dress shopping for fear of not being able to find my dream dress. My mum kept saying I needed to get something to cover my arms and I was just dreading it. I wanted a strapless evening gowns.”

Cat kept thinking about her big day and how much she wanted to be able to enjoy it without worrying what people were thinking. “I knew my weight was the only thing stopping me having the perfect day," she says. "I manage a cafe in Blyth as part of my family’s business and I was talking to a customer one day and she said she was losing weight with Slimming World for her daughter’s wedding. When she told me what she was eating, I couldn’t believe it and decided to give it a go myself.”

Cat found a local group on the website and remembers going along to join in September 2014. “I was terrified walking in the door alone” she says, “but once there I was welcomed by a room of people who have all become friends. I couldn’t believe how much I could eat. I’m a vegetarian and the choice was almost limitless. I left group that night excited and in just two weeks I was more than half a stone lighter.”

Cat went on to lose five stones over 12 months and achieved her chosen target weight for her wedding in October 2015. “The changes I made to what I was eating were really easy. It was things like swapping oil for low calorie spray and bread to wholemeal bread. It was fantastic to know I didn’t have to give up crisps or wine, my two favourite treats, to be able to lose weight. My favourite meal is a butternut squash, sweet potato and spinach curry which is better than any takeaway, cheaper to make and quick and easy. My husband loves it too and through the changes we’ve made he’s lost about three-and-a-half stones as well.”

Cat needed the support of the group along her journey. “The members in my group at Belmont are so supportive of each other. No matter what the results at the scales, they have supported me every week with ideas, tips and a good laugh. They have counted down every week to the wedding with me.”

On her wedding day, Cat was happy to believe people when they said she looked beautiful. "I had gone from a size 20 to a size 10 and wore my dream strapless short formal dress," she says. "I wasn’t embarrassed at all on the day; I was blushing for all the right reasons.”

Since the wedding, Cat and Andrew have both maintained their weight losses through the simple changes they have made. “I love cooking” says Cat. “It has been easy to change our old eating ways to healthier ones. Plus we are much more active now, we walk for miles without having to stop and ‘admire the view’ while we catch our breath.” Cat says the difference in her confidence as well as the physical changes are just amazing, “I don’t feel judged by anyone now and I feel I am truly the person that I always wanted to be.”

Cat’s new confidence is leading her into a whole new venture as a Slimming World consultant. “There are so many people out there who feel the way I did and I just want them to know they aren’t alone.”

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