As Kate Haynes walked down the aisle on the most special day of her life, she was beaming like only a bride can do.
Her size 10 strapless gown fitted her like a glove – but a lot of hard work and determination had gone into making that happen.
In the months leading up to her wedding to partner, Jason Harvey, Kate lost five stone and dropped from a size 18.
Three years of university life had resulted in her weight increasing to 16st 10 pounds. Overweight and unhappy, Kate was determined to shed the weight.
‘I put on a lot of weight when I went to university,’ she says.
‘I moved to Brighton and I was drinking too much cider and eating too many takeaways. It’s what you do when you’re a student and having fun.
‘But by the time I left I’d gone from a size 14 to a size 18.’
In October 2009, Jason popped the question and that spurred Kate on to do something about her weight.
She joined a slimming group near her home in Waterlooville and began attending the weekly meetings and weigh-ins.
The fatty takeaways of old were out and in came a new, low-calorie, way of eating.
‘My mum had gone to the Rosemary Conley club and had lost two stone on the diet so I knew it worked,’ explains the 22-year-old.
‘I had tried losing weight on my own but facing the class when I got on the scales made me stick to the eating plan.’
In the first two weeks, Kate followed a strict meal plan that cut her intake down to just 1,200 calories a day.
And in the weeks after, she stuck to a plan that cut out everything that was more than five per cent fat.
She was allowed one 100-calorie treat a day and relished the chance to eat her favourite, a tiny, fun-size, Milky Way.
‘I’d have porridge or Special K for breakfast and a pitta bread with ham and salad for lunch,’ adds Kate.
‘Rosemary’s recipes are really good so I’d eat a curry made with yoghurt. It was just about swapping high fat for low fat.’
Trainee teacher Kate also began exercising more and a year after she’d joined the club, she was celebrating the fact that her weight had dropped to 11 stone 10.
Through it all, the thought of her wedding dress had kept her mind on the goal.
And on July 16, she happily posed for photos in the dress of her dreams.
‘My mum made my dress,’ she explains. ‘We’d picked the pattern out and I could picture it in my mind.
‘When I put it on it was brilliant. I never imagined that I would do it but having the dress was amazing. It made my day.
‘It gave me a confidence boost.’
In the nine months between hitting her target weight and getting married, Kate continued to attend the slimming club meetings.
She still goes once a week and believes the support helps to make sure she doesn’t fall off the wagon and return to her old eating habits.
‘It’s been a complete change of lifestyle,’ she adds. ‘Losing weight has made a huge difference to my life.’