A bride has revealed she was secretly hiding 7lbs of sagging skin under her wedding dress - after shedding 10 stone ahead of her big day.
Tina Winmill ballooned to a size 28 and 20 stone after meeting her partner, Mark.
Refusing to walk down the aisle until she'd shed half her body weight, the 43-year-old from the Midlands, joined a slimming class with her obese fiance.
But after reaching a size 8 on top, Mrs Winmill was left with an apron of drooping flesh on her tummy, which hung down over her underwear.
She was forced to by a wedding gown in a size 12 to hide it, but despite what's hidden under her clothes, Mrs Winmill says she couldn’t be happier.
“I bought some slimming pants to wear under my wedding dress and hold in the skin I’d been left with, but they made me look worse,” she said. “The skin squeezed out the top so I never wore them. Luckily, my dress covered my arms so I wasn’t conscious about the loose rolls around my armpits on the day.
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“And I can honestly say that looking at those wedding photos is the first time I have ever felt really happy with how I’ve looked. We’ve got wedding pictures up all over our house.”
The couple first started gaining weight after meeting each other on Facebook in 2009. At that time Mrs Winmill was 18st.
“We were so in love we hardly noticed we’d piled on the pounds,” Mrs Winmill said. “Six months later, we moved in together, which only encouraged our bad eating habits. We’d order takeaways and cook big meals.”
Soon the couple had a combined weight of 45 stone, with Mr Winmill, 39, tipping the scales at 25 stone.
It seriously affected their health.
Mr Winmill was diagnosed with sleep apnoea, a condition associated with being overweight, which causes interrupted breathing during sleep.
Mrs Winmill, a former retail assistant said: “It was a really scary time. Seeing Mark struggling made me realise how out of control things were getting.
“We knew we needed to lose weight but it was hard to have the motivation. Mark could have been triple that size and I’d still have loved him, so I didn’t do anything about it.”
On Christmas Day 2010, Mr Winmill, an engineer, proposed.
“I said yes, then I told him there was no way I was getting married until I could do it as a slim bride,” Mrs Winmill explained.
She set herself the goal of losing 10 stone and the pair both signed up to Weight Watchers.
She said: “From there we helped each other stay on track.
“We stopped having seconds and spent more time preparing meals rather than gorging on takeaways.”
The couple learned about portion control and calories, and soon the pounds were melting away.
Fast forward 18 months and Mrs Winmill had reached her target of 10st 10lbs while Mr Winmill weighed 14st 7lbs.
She said: “As soon as I reached my goal weight Mark said, ‘Right, we’re getting married now, you have no excuse,’ and I knew he was right.
“I started planning straight away. I went shopping with my daughter, Kristie, 18.
“I picked out a size-12 wedding dress and it slipped right over me. It felt incredible and I fell in love with it.”
They exchanged vows at Walsall Register Office on 1 November 2013, in front of 20 guests.
Mr Winmill fitted into 34in waist trousers on the big day.
His wife said: “I slipped on my dress and was pleasantly surprised.
“Sometimes it brings me down now and I’d like the perfect figure.
“I wonder how much more weight I could lose without the skin. It would be nice to go the whole way.
“I couldn’t afford the thousands of pounds of surgery. I need to win the lottery to lose the skin.
“I think there’s about half a stone around my stomach, tops of legs and arms.
“But I wouldn’t change anything.
“I was always big and I was bulging out of size-32 leggings at one point. I never imagined I’d be a size 8/10.
“People ask me ‘Where’s the loose skin?’ but my clothes hide it.”
Following their big day the couple continued to shed weight.
Now Mrs Winmill weighs 9st 11lbs and Mr Winmill, 13st 3lbs, after losing a whopping 12 stone.
The combined 23-stone weight loss has left the couple over the moon.
Mrs Winmill said: “It’s like we’re different people to when we met. Not only are we healthier but we are half the people we were – literally.
“I am so proud of Mark and me for managing to lose all that weight.
“I’m never going back there. We’re both keeping the pounds off.”