Tipping the scales at 20st 3lbs (about 129kg), Shannon Leigh-Wedley was prompted to change her bad eating habits after her fiance Tom Futcher popped the question.
The 23-year-old was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition that affects the ovaries. The condition also causes a hormone imbalance and weight gain, among other symptoms.
Shannon, from Cheltenham in the UK, says she was 'devastated' by the diagnosis - which can lead to infertility - and her bad eating habits began to spiral out of control.
"I started to pile on the pounds when I started university as I was cooking less and eating junk such as bacon sandwiches from the canteen and family-sized bags of crisps with a tub of ice cream at night," Shannon explains, adding that her weight gain also led her to discover her PCOS.
"I gained six stone (about 38kg) in one year, but the amount of food I had been eating didn't qualify for the weight gain, so alarm bells began to ring - I had a feeling something wasn't right as my periods which were always irregular - had stopped entirely."
Shannon Leigh-Wedley lost 50kg in preparation for her wedding to fiancé Tom Futcher. All images courtesy @shannonleigh_fitness / CATERS NEWS / Magazine Features.
Back then, she was a size 24 and suffered depression due to my weight and PCOS diagnosis, which was hard for me to come to terms with at a young age.
When Shannon first met Tom, she was in a rut and found comfort in food, but he accepted her for who she was. "I knew I had to lose weight, but I didn't pursue any dieting or exercising as I was comfortable, and it was easier to scoff crisps, ice cream, and junk rather than a salad," she says.
"But when he proposed to me in February 2018, I had a meltdown and knew I had to change my ways."
Now 17 months on, Shannon weighs 11st 12lbs (about 75kg) and has dropped six dress sizes - flaunting a size 12 physique.
"I will always admire Tom, who is a photographer, for loving me no matter what size I was, and he has never put any pressure on me to lose weight."Shannon says it broke her heart when she had to look at plus-sized wedding dresses. She just wanted to feel good and look good when walking down the aisle.
Due to Covid-19 lockdown, the couple is yet to find out if their big day scheduled to take place on August 26 will go ahead. "We booked a stunning country house in June last year and invited 56 guests. The thought of walking down the aisle at 20 stone (about 129kg) made me feel sad, so I set myself a goal of losing 100lbs (about 45kg) so I can fit into a size 12 wedding dress," the bride-to-be says.
"I have now lost 119lbs (about 50kg), which is an incredible achievement, and I will most likely need my dress taken in - something I never thought would happen. We still don't know if our wedding is going ahead, which is driving us mad! On the plus side, I am now healthier than ever before."
Shannon praises her weight loss for 'rebooting' her periods as they had stopped while she was at her heaviest from 2015 to 2018.
The couple hopes to start a family after they tie the knot. "The wedding was my motivator, but now I have completely changed my lifestyle, and I will never go back to that size again," Shannon says.
Have lost or gained weight? Tell us about your journey here.
Story courtesy @shannonleigh_fitness / CATERS NEWS /Magazine Features
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