Chesterfield bride's amazing 14st weight loss in three years leading up to wedding
A newly married woman has shared an inspirational story of how losing weight gave her the confidence to finally tie the knot with her long-term boyfriend.
Vicky Chaffer had been with her partner David for 15 years before they got engaged.
She said: "Marriage wasn't really high on our priority list, we'd got a couple of holidays booked and there was nothing pushing us.”
Part of the reason for the couple dragging their heels was an awareness of being overweight.
Vicky said: “I think because of the size I was I'd been putting it off. My husband was overweight as well so he would have felt uncomfortable and self-conscious so we never made the push to do it.”
At her heaviest, Vicky was 27st 1lb.
She said: “We went on holiday in May 2018 for my birthday and when I saw pictures of myself, I cried. I got on my scales at home and it said error….I didn’t realise that the maximum weight was 24 stone. I took a picture of it and showed David then burst into tears. My mother had industrial scales and that’s when I saw that I was 27 stone. I’d turned 30 and thought if I don’t change now, I’ll not see the next five years out.
"My mother was already at Slimming World and I thought I'd bob along with her. I was really nervous but I thought I would give it a go.
"From the first day everyone was so lovely. Although I was the biggest in the room and conscious of my weight, no-one made me feel I was the biggest; everyone was on their own journey but also sharing the fact that they were trying to lose weight and it was very much a happy support group which I wasn't expecting.”
Healthy swaps and cutting down on convenience food and takeaways saw the weight drop off both Vicky and IT manager David, who at his heaviest was around 18st and is now a trim 11st.
Vicky, who works for a pensions company, said: “Our confidence just sky-rocketed. When I’d lost quite a lot of weight I thought shall we book a day to get married and just do it?”
They booked the wedding for July 2020 and Vicky bought her dream dress a month before the first lockdown.
With the nuptials postponed until May this year, Vicky shed another six stones through healthy eating and exercise.
She said: "I was obviously over the moon that I’d lost the weight but I was so terrified that I wasn’t going to be able to get my wedding dress altered. The dress was hanging off me whereas before it had fitted like a glove.
"The bridal shop where I got my dress from in Bakewell was absolutely amazing. I never thought they were going to fix it but they refitted it just in time and made it work.”
The day before her wedding, Vicky got on the scales and weighed in at 12st 7lbs.
Vicky and David tied the knot at St John’s Church, Tideswell, followed by a reception for 30 guests at The Maynard Arms in Grindleford.
Her mum Pat said: “Vicky looked absolutely fantastic – it was a wonderful wedding.”
Dropping from a dress size 26 to 12 has completely changed Vicky’s life.
She said: “Before I could never go into a high street shop and pick the clothes I wanted. Now I can pretty much go into any store and choose anything. The first time I went into shops after lockdown I bought a size 12 coat; I was in the changing room trying it on and nearly crying thinking I would never have done that two years ago.”
To celebrate their weight loss achievements, Vicky and her mum will be tackling Saturday’s 10km Sparkle Walk in Chesterfield.
Vicky said: “A few years ago I could barely walk upstairs without being out of breath. At her heaviest my Mum wouldn’t have been able to do the walk either. Look at where we are now!”
Her mum was nearly 20 stone when her knees started playing up and she was concerned about the prospect of knee replacements if she didn’t lose weight.
Pat, 63, managed to shed a stone and a half but found it impossible to lose any more without help. She signed up to Slimming World and initially started at a new branch in Walton but when that closed she transferred to meetings at Boythorpe Community Centre and managed to lose 6st in total.
Having bought her wedding outfit for Vicky’s big day, Pat was determined that she would wear it at the rescheduled ceremony. She said: “I didn’t want to lose any more weight because I liked my outfit.
"Now that the wedding is over, I’d like to lose about another stone and a half.”
An avid supporter of charity, Pat, of Nethermoor Road, Somersall, was delighted that her daughter had signed them up for the Sparkle Walk. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but with me being big, I thought that I could never do it,” she said.
Pat and Vicky’s sponsored walk has attracted £240 in sponsorship for the hospice, which they say is a cause very close to their hearts as staff there have cared for their family and friends.
In her job as a technician working at BT in Barlborough, Pat has raised around £100,000 for charity by collecting broken mobile phones over the past 20 years.
Sandra Oldfield, consultant at Slimming World, said: “I’ve always been astounded with Vicky and Pat’s weight loss. I know they have inspired their fellow members in the group. When Vicky achieved her club 50 award losing half her weight, it was a very proud moment for me as a consultant and also a member.”