Natasha’s sex life dwindled as her waistline ballooned. It seemed her love of a bit of sauce would ketchup with her in the end…
Ketchup ruined my sex life
My 36DD bra whizzed across the living room.
It was soon joined by a lacy size 12 pair of undercrackers. ‘I’ve been thinking about this all day,’ I smiled, sexily strutting up to my boyfriend.
In a tangle of limbs, we got down to it right there on the living room floor.
Since meeting through friends back in 2011, sparks had well and truly flown between me and my hunky electrical engineer. It wasn’t hard to see why. Tanned skin, shaved head, strong muscly arms adorned with a sleeve of tattoos… Yup.
Martin Johnson, 27, was sex on legs. And he thought the same about me.
‘You’re beautiful,’ he’d smile every morning as I got ready for my job as a marketing manager.
Even with half my face on and a towel plonked on my head, he made me feel sexy.
We’d moved in together after just a couple of months, meaning we could take full advantage of the honeymoon period.
And yet a year into our relationship, I was still all over Martin like a dog on heat!
I could have eaten him all up. The issue was, I soon looked like I was eating everything else, too.
I’d always been curvy, hovering between 11st and 12st.
When Martin and me had been together just 18 months, though, I noticed my clothes pinching.
‘I’ve put on a bit,’ I grumbled, appraising my chubbier chops in the mirror.
At just 5ft 4in, a few extra pounds had nowhere to hide.
But I just couldn’t work it out.
It wasn’t like I was greedy, or stuffing myself with cakes every minute. I rarely snacked or ate chocolate and sweets.
I’d often skip breakfast and just pick at a small lunch.
Sure, since getting comfortable with Martin we’d slipped into the habit of getting fast food a couple of nights a week. But who doesn’t? And even then I’d stick to half a pizza rather than a whole one, or a medium Big Mac Meal.
So why was I so large… and growing by the day?!
Confused and cross, I comforted myself with a cheeky kebab.
Well, if I was going to be fat, I might as well eat enough to deserve it!
‘Garlic sauce, and chilli,’ I smiled to the bloke behind the counter. ‘Oh, and ketchup on the chips.’
He duly squirted the sauces all over my grub.
‘Bit more ketchup,’ I said. ‘Until you can’t see the spuds.’ I’ve always loved sauce.
Dry food just wasn’t for me. My sandwiches were sopping with mayo, salads weren’t complete without a coating of salad cream and my roasts were always swimming in a pool of gravy.
Even my healthy home cooking was mostly out of a bottle. I’d use a jar of Dolmio in my spag bol and a whole bottle of sweet chilli sauce on my salmon stir fries.
If I wasn’t eating from a bottle, I was drinking out of one. I’d been doing more of that, too.
I’d guzzle up to two to three litres of full-fat cola a day.
So I suppose I had slacked off on the healthy living a tad…
But, looking at my tum, I was convinced it still didn’t make sense. How could I be wobbling with enough insulation to keep a family of Eskimos warm when I ate pretty well? ‘I just don’t get it,’ I raged to Martin.
‘You’re still gorgeous,’ he’d insist. But I didn’t feel it.
Finally, in early 2015, I decided enough was enough.
By then, I’d crept up to a size 16. ‘I think there’s something wrong with me,’ I explained to my doctor. ‘I’m getting fat but not eating that much.’
He ran tests for my thyroid before concluding nothing was wrong with me physically.
‘Why not look at diet and exercise?’ he suggested gently. I left in a huff.
He probably thought I just couldn’t face the tubby truth. But I could see how big I was getting.
In fact, it was all I could see. Mortified, I took to hiding away.
‘Can’t tonight, I’ve got plans,’
I’d lie if friends invited me out. Really I just didn’t want anyone to see how fat I’d become.
When I did venture out, I felt like everyone was looking at me and laughing.
‘They probably think I’m gross,’ I’d cringe, thinking I saw the cashier judging me when I went to top up my Tommy K supplies.
Cripplingly insecure, I started covering up in baggy clothes and sleeping in PJS.
My sexy underwear, now far too
I looked like a bouncy ball
small, was shoved to the back of the drawer.
Instead I stocked up on granny pants and ugly bras.
‘I don’t care what size you are, babe,’ Martin would reassure me.
Often at night he’d give me ‘that look’ as his hands snaked towards me under the duvet.
His ‘let’s get it on’ look had once made my tummy flip. Now it made it churn.
‘I’m tired,’ I’d whisper as I hefted my bulk to turn away like a tsunami rolling under the duvet.
I still fancied him rotten, but sex dwindled from a few times a week to once a month. Then less regular still. When we did do it, I fought to suck in my belly. ‘I’m disgusting,’ I’d think, far too preoccupied to really get in the mood.
Once, we were rowing about something silly and Martin’s face grew sad.
‘You don’t touch me any more,’ he winced. It broke my heart.
But I couldn’t find the words to explain it wasn’t that I didn’t love him. I didn’t love me any more!
By the time we landed in Las Vegas for Martin’s 30th birthday in February 2016, we hadn’t had sex for more than six months.
My suitcase was full of shapeless size 18 cardigans and jumpers to hide my bingo wings.
Some girls look good at a size 18, curvy and luscious.
Me? I looked like a bouncy ball with a face. Still, I plastered on a smile as we walked into the luxury hotel suite.
‘Happy birthday, babe,’ I smiled. It was an incredible week on the streets. But not between the sheets.
At 16st, I didn’t want Martin anywhere near me.
Climbing the stairs left me sweaty and out of breath. What state would I be in after a bonk?!
We didn’t touch each other all week. Instead, we gambled, ate and had fun.
On the last day of our holiday, I went to upload some pictures to my Facebook.
Smiling images of Martin flicked up on my screen.
Followed by… ‘Oh, God,’ I gasped. Me!
I was huge, dwarfing him like a double-decker bus next to a Mini.
In that instant I knew something had to change.
And, for once, it wasn’t going to be the size of my togs.
Two days after we got back from Vegas, I signed up for the Cambridge Weight Plan.
After one whole day of surviving on just three little sachets of milkshakes and packet meals, I went to bed starving. The second my eyes opened the following morning, I was already miserable.
I could practically see a pile of ketchupcoated chips floating before my eyes.
Hopping on the scales, I was looking for an excuse to quit.
Instead, my mouth dropped open. And, for once, it wasn’t because I was stuffing something into it.
‘3lb down!’ I gasped.
That feeling of smug satisfaction was all I needed to plough on.
By the time I’d reached the end of a week on the diet, and lost 7lb, my stomach seemed to have shrunk.
I stopped feeling constantly hungry, too.
Well, for food that is. When I lost 3st, my appetite for Martin reappeared overnight.
‘Come here,’ I growled one night, pulling him into the bedroom as soon as he walked in.
After that, every pound that I lost we celebrated with a good, err… pounding!
‘It’s good exercise,’ I laughed, pouncing on Martin every spare moment. It was like being in a new relationship again. And I felt like a whole new me. By September, just seven months into my diet, I’d lost more than 5st.
‘I can’t believe I thought I was being healthy,’ I realised, mortified as I actually read the back of the bottles. Sugar, fat, salt. All the sauces I ate were brimming with it. One bottle of sweet chilli sauce that I’d douse my salmon fillets in had the same calories as a Big Mac and small fries! I phased in proper meals slowly, this time leaving out the sugary sauces and soft drinks. Now, me and Martin are enjoying plenty of sex-ercise four times a week!
It’s even helped me drop a further half a stone.
I’m now down to a svelte 10st 5lb and a size 10.
I love going out and showing off my new body. Honestly, life is better than ever. And Martin enjoys my new bod just as much as I do.
He’s even proposed, and we’re due to be married next July. We can’t wait for our honeymoon.
I may have ditched the ketchup, but my saucy side is right back on track! Natasha Freed, 28, Milton Keynes, Bucks
My love of sauces saw me pile on the pounds
Now, me and my fella Martin can’t keep our hands offeach other
I was so big you could barely see Martin in our holiday snaps
After losing more than 5st, I’m feeling happier, and sexier, than ever!