I didn’t meet my husband at a party or a club – I met him on a Royal Navy type 22 frigate on anti-piracy operations in the Middle East. There’s little choice about what you can eat at sea, so for most of my 14 years’ service, I was at least 2st heavier than I wanted to be.

Soon after James and I became a couple, I completed a command course to gain a promotion. Hiking up and down the Brecon Beacons in full kit, and keeping up with all the men, was exhilarating and exhausting! By the end of five weeks’ intense physical activity, I’d slimmed down to just over 11st and was in good shape for my next challenge: a seven-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.

I was so proud when I completed the full tour, and I returned to the UK to take up a post as a Leading Hand in the Royal Navy Careers Office. The downside was that my daily diet of buttered toast, thick sandwiches and big roast dinners meant I was soon back up to nearly 13st.

I felt like such a hypocrite having to tell potential recruits they needed to have a BMI of below 25, when mine was at least 29.

In the end, my decision to lose weight wasn’t work-related at all. On a family holiday in Egypt, James proposed. I was so excited about getting married, and it wasn’t long before I found my dream dress – a beautiful, close-fitting lace gown. I set my heart on it as soon as I saw it. At the same time, though, the thought of walking down the aisle in a size 18 made me feel really upset. I vowed to slim for my wedding day.

Finding new perspective

Joining Slimming World was James’ idea – he had started a new career as a personal trainer and suggested Food Optimising as one of the healthiest ways to lose weight.

I lost a staggering 12lbs in my first month! I wasn’t tempted to cheat, and in just five months I’d reached my target weight.

Back at the bridal shop, the staff couldn’t believe how much fabric needed to be cut off my gown: I’d lost 7ins from my bottom, and 6ins from my waist and bust. They were so impressed that several of the team joined Slimming World. They still send me texts to say how much they’ve lost!

Our wedding day was wonderful, because I looked and felt more confident than ever before. And I even wore a bikini on my honeymoon! Now I’m determined to stay at my happy weight.

*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.