LIFESTYLE

Couple Lose Nine Stone Between Them After Downloading Hypnotising Weight Loss App

15/12/2015 11:01 GMT | Updated 15/12/2015 11:59 GMT

A biker couple who got so big they were too scared to weigh themselves are now shadows of their former selves – thanks to hypnosis.

Gail Barrett, 46, and husband Steve, 54 – known as Big Steve - met back in 2004.

In time, they fell into a cycle of unhealthy eating, with Steve admitting to sometimes eating an entire loaf of bread a day, and the pounds began to pile on.

But when Gail's daughter Paige, 26, suffered a shocking heart attack in 2012, the couple were forced to examine their own health and realised it was time to act - however, they weren't the dieting types.

Then, earlier this year and with the help of a mobile phone app, they hypnotised themselves into losing nine stone between them.

weight loss couple

"I'd never looked at Steve and thought he was fat or unattractive, as his personality is so wonderful - but I did think, 'I don't want you to have a heart attack and leave me,'" said Gail, a public sector worker from Gainsborough in Lincolnshire.

"I didn't want life cut short because we were eating too much.

"In March this year, I was at a spa day for my friend's birthday and one of the ladies there mentioned she'd dropped six dress sizes with this app.

"I was like, 'What? How the hell do you lose weight with a phone app?'

"It was bizarre, but it interested me."

Gail first met her steel worker husband when she casually mentioned to her uncle Mick Stones that she wanted to try riding on the back of a motorbike.

She said: "Being sensible, I didn't want to jump on the back of anyone's bike. So my uncle organised for his biker mate Steve to take me for a spin."

Big Steve, as he was known to friends, took her for a ride in his black and silver cruiser style Yamaha Wildstar and Gail was in love – with the bike, that is.

steve weight loss

Steve before and after losing weight

"It was an amazing feeling. I was hooked from that moment on", she said.

"It took a few bike rides to realise we fancied each other and start dating, but when we did it was a whirlwind romance.

"Two years later, we got married – and our cake had a biker on top. We even did a bike trip across Spain on our honeymoon."

When they met, Gail, who is 5'6, was a size 16, while 6ft 3 rugby player Steve could only fit into XXL shirts.

Neither had weighed themselves for years - but both knew deep down that they were overweight.

They noticed their weight creeping up further every time they jumped on their beloved bikes for a new season on the road.

"We'd go, 'Oh look, our biking gear has been in that incredible shrinking cupboard again,'" joked Gail.

"We had never been dieters, especially not Steve – he couldn't stand the idea of somebody telling him what to do."

Gail and Steve's Daily Diet

Before

Breakfast: (Steve) Four Weetabix, (Gail) Bagels or butter with toast

Lunch: Ham sandwiches, a packet of crisps, a chocolate bar

Dinner: Chinese/Indian takeaway or a full roast dinner with potatoes and veg

Now

Breakfast: (Steve) One Weetabix, (Gail) small bowl of muesli/granola, and natural yoghurt

Lunch: A bowl of chopped veg and small portion of tuna or mackerel

Dinner: Fish and vegetables, or chicken and veg – no potatoes unless it's sweet potato, or the odd jacket potato

Though she tried to lose weight before their wedding on 10th June 2006, Gail only managed to drop one dress size, and the gown she'd chosen for her big day still needed alterations.

Then, settling into life as newlyweds, the couple began to indulge themselves with takeaway and junk food more and more.

"Looking back, we were ballooning. My knees were starting to feel it and I became flat-footed with the weight," said Gail.

"We loved a few drinks – we still do – but food was the big issue.

"We had platter-sized plates at home, and we'd pile them high. We served up massive helpings and actually stuffed ourselves until it hurt.

"You're talking pork pies, bacon, chocolate bars, crisps, bagels. When I went shopping, I'd fill the trolley up with snacks, there'd be no real food at all."

gail weight

Gail before and after losing weight

Eventually, the couple's wake-up call came in the form of a phone call telling Gail that her daughter Paige had suffered a heart attack in Melbourne, Australia, where she and her boyfriend at the time, were on a gap year.

"I got a call – it was literally the day before the football player Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch – to say Paige had had a heart attack. I couldn't believe it," she recalled.

"She was in an induced coma in hospital to minimise any damage to her brain, as it had been 18 minutes before they could restart her heart."

It was a terrifying moment for Gail, who flew out that night to be by her daughter's side - but Paige, who now has a defibrillator fitted, made a complete recovery.

When she returned home to Britain, doctors discovered the genetic heart condition CPVT was behind Paige's heart attack, and said her mum would need to be tested for it.

"I was tested in January 2015, but I didn't carry the gene," Gail explained.

"I was relieved, of course, but as part of the tests, I was weighed.

"I was almost 14 stone. I know there are people much bigger than me, but it was too much.

"After what happened to Paige, I wanted to rethink my lifestyle."

After hearing about EasyLoss, the £5 weight loss app which had helped her friend slim down, Gail downloaded it herself back in March of this year.

Unbeknownst to his wife, Steve had also begun worrying about his weight, so she suggested they try the app together.

It works by delivering daily 40 minute hypnosis sessions, eventually working up to a virtual gastric band operation – which is all about training yourself to eat less by visualising that your stomach is smaller.

The rules the couple heard were nothing new - don't eat too fast, drink more water, stop eating when you're not hungry anymore - but finally, after years of bingeing, they sank in.

The pair also threw away their massive dinner plates, swapping them for smaller side plates in a bid to better control their portion sizes.

Gail explained: "We started putting it on the iPad loudspeaker, morning or night. We'd joke and go, 'Shall we go upstairs and have a listen?'

"We still had no scales in the house, but a month later Steve had to put a new hole in his belt, and my clothes felt looser.

"You work up to having a virtual gastric band, and need to have lost a certain amount of weight, so we did buy scales then and started a new routine of weighing ourselves, every Saturday morning."

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They quickly began to see results, with friends and family soon commenting about how good they looked.

Then, in August this year, they realised just how far they'd come when the Isle of Man Classic TT - a biker festival - for their holidays.

"We realised we needed new leathers – not because ours were too small, which used to be the problem, but because they were so big they were hanging off us," said Gail.

Now, the couple have lost nine stone between them in just eight months.

Currently, Gail is down to 10 stone 6 and her husband is down to 16 stone.

"I'd never go back to the way I was," vowed Gail.

"I love that I don't have to take a big deep breath to bend down and tie my shoelaces. It's all little things, but they've made a huge difference.

"Nobody calls my hubby Big Steve any more. He's Medium Steve now. We have more energy, feel so much lighter and all my aches and pains have gone.

"Now we enjoy the taste of food more. Steve will say now it's about taste, not quantity.

"Before, we would have turned our noses up at small portions. Steve would have laughed at a fine dining restaurant and asked for fish and chips afterwards, and now we love that.

"We're ordinary people, we've just realised food isn't always the answer."

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