Bride loses eight stone in a year to fit into her dream wedding dress

When Gemma Dobbing found the perfect dress for her wedding, she was determined to slim down to make sure it fit on the big day.

Gemma, 32, had put on weight in recent years following the birth of her little boy, Charlie, now three. The council worker had been so busy that her diet simply wasn’t a priority, resulting in her living off Chinese takeaways, chocolate bars, fish and chips for lunch and crisps for breakfast.

At her heaviest, Gemma weighed 17 stone and struggled to find clothes to fit her size 22 frame.

She decided to make a change after she discovered her weight was worsening her asthma, and was motivated to drop dress sizes when she looked at photos from her little boy’s birthday party and didn’t recognise herself.

Having planned her wedding for September 2019, Gemma officially had a deadline to lose the weight.

Within the space of a year, she had dropped eight stone and looked completely different, receiving audible gasps from relatives as she walked down the aisle in her dream wedding dress.

Gemma, from Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, said: ‘It’s a massive achievement. I was so happy.

‘When I bought my dream dress, it didn’t even fit. It didn’t close fully.

‘I was a size 22 and it was size 14 – but it was the dress of my dreams.

‘My mum said “you really shouldn’t do this” as I signed a waiver, confirming I was aware it didn’t fit when I bought it.

‘We’d been storing the dress at my mother-in-law’s house for the last year, but eight weeks ago it went to the dressmaker for alterations.

‘I was convinced it wasn’t going to fit. I panicked.

‘When I put it the dress on it still didn’t fit – but this time it was too big!

‘We had to take four and a half inches off the waist.

‘I hit my target three days before the wedding on September 19. I was a size eight and weighed just 9st 3lbs. I’d finally done it.’

Gemma’s partner Alan had never commented on her weight, but when she announced her plans he told her to do whatever she needed to feel good.

But as she walked down the aisle, Alan had a tear in his eye.

For family members who’d travelled for the wedding, the big day was the first time they had seen Gemma since her weight loss journey began – and they barely recognised her after her transformation.

Gemma lost the weight by joining Slimming World. She knows she’ll never be cured of her asthma, but she does feel she can breathe more easily now.

Her diet went from chips and takeaways to overnight oats with berries and healthy wraps with chicken and rice.

It wasn’t an easy journey, but Gemma stuck to it. After just a month of following the plan she had lost half a stone.

Gemma said: ‘I went to the first meeting and was like ‘oh my god, how do I walk through that door myself?’ But everyone was so supportive.

‘By September 19, I’d lost half a stone and the following month we booked our wedding.

‘The next month I went to the bridal shop and bought a wedding dress for the following September.

‘It made me determined to stay on plan. I knew I wanted to fit into that dress.

‘It’s tough to keep going. I got bored of the same meals because I wasn’t mixing up the recipes and by December, I almost quit.

‘My friend Bex joined too to give me motivation and I learnt to cook from fresh.

‘There were points where my weight plateaued. I was trying so hard but for a few weeks I wouldn’t lose anything.

‘Now I plan each meal. I’ll sit down on Thursday and plan Friday, Saturday and Sunday, then on Monday I’ll plan the next three days.

‘It’s amazing to be able to run around with Charlie now and keep up.’

How Gemma’s diet has changed:

A typical day in Gemma’s diet before:

  • Breakfast – chocolate bars and crisps
  • Lunch – fish and chips with bread and butter at chippy
  • Dinner – takeaway Chinese or pizza with kebab
  • Snacks – sausage rolls or crisps with sandwiches

A typical day in Gemma’s diet now:

  • Breakfast – overnight oats and natural yoghurt and fruit
  • Lunch – Weight Watchers wrap and pizza topping with measured cheese
  • Dinner – Diet Coke chicken rice
  • Snacks – HiFi bars, fruit

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