Disgusted by the snap of her looking hot and sweaty as she walked up a hill, Kayleigh Atkinson, 25, swapped calorific ready meals for wholesome shakes – shedding three stone in the three months before her wedding.
Kayleigh recalled: “When I looked at the photo I felt sick.
“It was January 2015 and I looked like the Honey Monster, and thought, ‘Poor Liam is looking at that!’
“I’d been for a walk with Liam and my brother – who’d bounded up the hill, while I’d struggled to walk up it.
“After seeing the photo, I felt so awful, I couldn’t wait to get home. When I weighed myself and saw I was 17.5 stone, I thought, ‘Are you joking?’
“I was too embarrassed to tell Liam what I weighed, but knew I wanted to get the pounds off asap. He downloaded an app and cooked me healthy meals. He was really supportive.”
Weight loss: Kayleigh Atkinson once described herself as the ‘Honey Monster’
It was January 2015 and I looked like the Honey Monster, and thought, ‘Poor Liam is looking at that!
Weighing 14.5 stone, after losing three stone, when she tied the knot on 11 April 2015, at Wynyard Hall, in Billingham, in the Tees Valley, with green keeper Liam Atkinson, she felt a million dollars in her ivory lace princess gown and was showered with compliments.
Jetting off on their honeymoon for ten days to Jamaica, the couple from Newton Wycliffe, in County Durham soaked up the Caribbean sunshine – also sipping cocktails and tucking into the local food.
But when Kayleigh saw a poolside snap taken on Liam’s phone, of her wearing an orange smock, horrified by her bulges, she vowed to take drastic action.
She said: “I put on weight on our honeymoon. I was eating normal dinner and snacks, chicken, rice, pasta.
“We had American style breakfasts, donuts and pancakes. It wasn’t good for my waistline.”
Kayleigh admitted she always enjoyed tucking in to her mum, Lynda Coulthard’s home-cooked meals, and weighed around 12 stone when she was 16.
Weight loss: Kayleigh managed to shed three stone
But as 5ft 8in, she carried her weight well and Liam never commented on her size – happily tucking into pizzas in front of the TV and restaurant meals with her.
But post honeymoon, in August 2015, she was ready to battle the bulge once and formal – joining Weight Watchers, tipping the scales just shy of 17 stone again.
Then three months on she slipped down the stairs, dislocating her ankle, also needing a plate and screws in the joint and plenty of rest.
Still determined not to let the setback curb her weight loss plans for long, she rejoined her slimming class in January 2016, weighing 16st 5lbs, and within six months lost four stone, eating healthy, calorie controlled meals.
Weighing 12st 11lbs, Kayleigh now feels ‘amazing,’ despite still being classes as overweight and not healthy, but I am. I go to the gym twice a week and eat porridge or toast for breakfast,. and healthy stir-fries.
“I don’t need to lose more weight.”
Weight loss: Kayleigh swapped calorific ready meals for wholesome shakes
Given a massive confidence boost by her new slimline shape, late last year Kayleigh entered a beauty competition – determined to get some recognition for her amazing weight loss.
“The pageant was all about inner sparkle,” she said. “And I felt like I’d got my sparkle back.”
She was chosen as Mrs County Durham in the Miss Galaxy Pageant system.
“Since then I’ve been going to events as Mrs County Durham to help raise money for charities like MIND, the British Heart Foundation, and the Christie Charity.
“I never thought I’d be a beauty queen, but I’ve got the pageant bug now and will be representing my region in Lancashire, on March 9, which could take me to America in the summer for the final to represent the UK.
“It’s great to finally see pictures of myself in swimwear and to feel proud.”
Weight loss: Woman who looked like the ‘Honey Monster’ slims to win beauty pageant | Diets | Life & Style