By Alyce Collins
AFTER needing TWO MEN to squeeze her into a wet suit, this woman, whose diet consisted of THREE BREAKFASTS and a whole block of cheese a day, has shed an impressive EIGHT STONE just in time for her wedding.
Head dental nurse Bethan Coles (28) from Llandrindod Wells, Wales, UK, felt larger than her friends and peers since she was just 10 years old, when she was already a size 12 in clothes.
Bethan’s weight made her feel like the odd one out and embarrassed. Bullies called Bethan ‘Miss Piggy’ and constantly told her how fat she was, but when she started going out as she got older, the taunting grew worse. Bethan became paranoid that people were staring at her on nights out due to her size.
In 2012, Bethan met her husband, Lee (33) and they soon discovered a mutual love for food as they loved cooking, baking and sampling their delicious creations. As happy as Bethan and Lee were, her weight went from 16st to 20st 7lb. Shortly after, Bethan went on holiday to Turkey and enjoyed a boat trip on one of the days. However, before getting in the water, everyone had to put on a wetsuit which became an embarrassing ordeal for Bethan as even the largest wetsuit available was too small, and two tour guides struggled to get her in it.
On a usual day, Bethan would eat two bowls of cereal and jam on toast for breakfast, a creamy pasta dish for lunch with baked goods after, then dinner was often chicken with an entire baguette and a block of cheese. Over the weekends, Bethan would usually bake several treats and her and Lee would eat all of them by the end of Sunday.
Bethan was so miserable with her size 24 frame, which caused her back pain and required her to take time off work. In 2015 she decided to start calorie counting and managed to lose three stone in eighteen months. Unfortunately, by October 2016, Bethan and Lee had fallen back into bad habits and by January 2017, she had gained back a stone.
This was the final push Bethan needed before joining Slimming World in January 2017 after hearing other people’s success stories. Now, Bethan has overnight oats for breakfast, soup or eggs for lunch, then meat and vegetables for dinner and weighs 12st 9lb, wearing a size 12.
“I was always the ‘big friend’ and had an ability to make people laugh at my expense,” said Bethan.
“I first noticed my weight and that I was bigger than the other kids probably around the age of 10 as I remember wearing size 12 clothes before going to secondary school.
“My weight made me feel out of place, embarrassed, uncomfortable, self-conscious and very unhappy for many years. I would make fat jokes and aim them at myself before anyone got a chance to.
“I was bullied from the age of 11 when I started secondary school. I was called ‘Miss Piggy’ and ‘fatty’ on a regular basis. I was picked on not just by people in my own year, but by people up to the age of 16!
“As I got older and started going out, I was called incredibly horrible things and became very paranoid when I used to go on a night out as I felt that everyone was staring at my size. I just used to ignore it and pretend it didn’t get to me.
“Deep down, it made me feel disgusting, unworthy, paranoid, ugly and self-conscious. I used to try and dress well so I didn’t appear as big as I was, but at the same time I wanted to fit in with my friends and wear what they wore.
“I was about 16 stone when I met Lee in 2012 and I was happy to get the attention after feeling so bruised. He was overweight too and we quickly discovered food was a love for us. I loved baking and Lee loved cooking – but most of all, we loved eating.
“We would bake things and have fancy meals most nights, and then we’d buy chocolate, cakes, biscuits and sweets every night of the week. We’d eat ourselves sick.
“Breakfast was a large bowl of cereal, if not two bowls, and jam on toast. Lunch would be creamy pasta or pasta with a whole jar of pesto, covered in cheese with a full fat yogurt and something I’d baked. Dinner was a whole block of cheese with chicken and a whole baguette, or ravioli and creamy sauce. I baked a few different things on the weekends, and we would eat all of it by Sunday night.
“By the start of 2014, I was over 20 stone in weight. I was in a comfortable relationship, so it bothered me but not enough to do anything about it. We could never stick to diets, so our weight just climbed higher.
“I distinctly remember as an 11-year-old, on a school trip, we were climbing through some rocks and cliffs on the beach and I got stuck. I was so embarrassed. When I was 21, I went on holiday with my friend to Turkey and we went scuba diving. I had to have two men zip up the largest wet suit on the boat, and they struggled.”
Since joining Slimming World, Bethan has lost six stone in under two years, shedding over eight stone in total. Shortly after joining Slimming World, Bethan and Lee got engaged and losing weight for her wedding, in May 2019, became her focus.
Bethan is now a qualified Zumba instructor and teaches one class a week, and she hopes to gain an NVQ qualification to further a career in fitness.
“I never felt sexy and could never find nice things to wear, so I guess it became a huge issue for me. I wanted to feel normal,” said Bethan.
“Becoming so miserable and getting to a size 24 made me want to lose weight. I had shin splints and lower back pain which meant I was off work a few times. We calorie counted, weighed weekly and ate healthily, so over 2015 I lost three stone, but we went on holiday in September 2016, and we couldn’t get back in the zone after.
“By January 2017 I weighed 18 stone and seven pounds, and I was a size 20. After chatting with some successful slimmers I knew, I decided I to join Slimming World. We cut out processed and sugary foods and started cooking healthy food from scratch. Cheese, milk, cereals and bread were measured as per the plan. We walked more and I started back at my exercise classes.
“Now, I have apple and plum overnight oats for breakfast. Soup, chicken, egg and fruit for lunch, or a salad for lunch. Dinner is pasta, risotto, steak and veg or stir fry. Snacks are fruit and yogurt.
“I got engaged after I started Slimming World, but once we set a date it became a focus. I bought a dress in July 2018 and slimmed myself down into it by May 2019. It was hard work, but I did it.
“We got married on May 25, 2019 and I felt absolutely incredible. I had so many compliments. I just felt beautiful, slim and gorgeous. To feel that about yourself is such a wonderful feeling. I can happily look back at my wedding photos and feel proud of what I achieved.
“I feel much healthier, and I almost can’t remember being or feeling overweight anymore. To be able to go into a shop and pick up a size 12 is amazing. I never thought that would happen.
“I thought I was destined to be the ‘big girl’ forever. You must learn to love yourself, something I am still very much working on. Losing weight is hard, but the benefits greatly outweigh the hard times you may have on the journey.
“I would never have achieved anything without the support of Lee. He’s supported me through every decision, has never judged me, and helped me every single day. I would not be where I am today without him. I have also had the most wonderful support from my friends, Fay, Sarah, Jena and Ceren. Having a strong support system is so important.
“Thank you to my fitness instructor, Julie, for believing in me and encouraging me to become an instructor myself. Instagram has been wonderful for support, ideas and inspiration. I’ve met so many lovely people who I feel like I’ve known my whole life. It’s a great tool when you’re struggling to help you realise you’re not alone. Everyone’s in the same boat and understands the emotions involved in losing weight.”
To see more, visit https://www.instagram.com/beth_slimmingworld/