IT WAS meant to be a trip of a lifetime.
But when it came to looking at their holiday snaps all they could think about was how overweight they looked.
Now two years on from the trip John Gerard and Stephanie Cadwallader, from Portchester, have shed eight stone between then.
When they returned home from the trip to China in 2015 neither of them liked any of the photos.
The couple, who have been together for six years, joined Slimming World after having the group recommended to them by a relative.
Today, they hardly recognise themselves after losing the weight between them – with Stephanie dropping an incredible five dress sizes.
Stephanie, 24, said: ‘I’ve always been overweight ever since I was a child.
‘We went to China and neither of us liked the pictures. We didn’t really show anybody any of the holiday pictures so I think we knew then that we had to change something.
‘When we got together John was away at work all week so every weekend we used to go out for meals or get takeaways so the weight just slowly crept on.’
John, 29, said: ‘I got injured because I was overweight, and Steph had gone to Slimming World before so we thought it would be a good idea if I did it with her this time.’
Stephanie has lost around six stone, which for the first 28 weeks saw her drop an average of around two and a half pounds a week. She was around a size 20 to 22 and is now a 10 to 12.
John has lost two and a half stone, going from a size 36ins waist to a 28 and from a large top to a small.
John, an air traffic control officer, said following the Slimming World plan – which sees healthy food encouraged and weekly classes – had been easy.
‘The way we’ve cooked has changed, that’s the main thing,’ he said.
‘We actually cook now. I didn’t use to eat breakfast and if I did it would be a full English or something like that.
‘Even if we did cook we weren’t cooking healthy food, it was just like Birds Eye crispy chicken or frozen pizzas.
‘It sounds cheesy but losing the weight together really made it so much easier as we were just having the same meals. When we got home we’d ask each other what we had eaten during the day and if one of us had eaten anything bad you’d feel guilty.’
The couple were even crowned Couple of the Year earlier this year at their Slimming World group in Portchester.
Slimming World consultant Carole Harris said they have been an inspiration to other members.
She said: ‘The competition final was so inspirational, we were all in tears. ‘
Stephanie, who works as a nurse, said shifting the weight had changed their lives.
She said: ‘It’s not even just the physical change, people have noticed how much happier we are.
‘It’s made us a lot fitter, I never use to be able to walk up the stairs without being out of breath and now I do six gym classes a week.
‘I also used to get really bad lower back pain and leg pain but now I don’t get anything and I do a lot more physical activity than I used to.’