Three women reveal why their favourite outfit is so much more than a simple fashion choice
three women reveal the dresses that changed their lives
‘I forget I’M not plus size any More’
Donna wells, 46, lives in Plymouth with her husband, michael, 51
Take a look at this photo of me. I certainly look like someone who is happy to strike a pose, don’t I? But there was a time I’d duck at the sight of a camera.
I’d always been a bigger girl, even as a teenager. My mum would cook healthy, balanced meals, but I was adamant that I didn’t like fruit or veg, instead preferring to fill up on crisps, chocolates and sweets. And when I met my husband, Michael, in 1988, we soon discovered we both shared a love of greasy takeaways.
I gave birth to our first son, Steven, in September 1990, followed by our daughter, Natasha, three years later and then Jamie in 2003.
During each pregnancy, I’d make the most of eating for two and afterwards I struggled to shift the baby weight. My job as a cleaner kept me active, but it wasn’t enough to counteract the huge amount I was eating.
By January 2017, I was at my heaviest – 16st 1lb – and wearing a dress size 18-20. At just 5ft 2in, my flabby stomach and thighs swamped my frame and my weight was putting pressure on my back and knees, too.
I decided I needed a new start in the New Year. So I signed up to Slimming World and began swapping fish and chip suppers for its healthier recipes. In the first week, I lost 8lb. Eleven months later, I’d slimmed down to 10st 9lb, just in time for a company awards ceremony.
In the spotlight
I’d been nominated for a prize and I knew I was going to need a new dress. Going shopping for the first time as a size 10 felt surreal. I kept picking up bigger sizes, forgetting that I’d lost so much weight.
In November 2017, I picked up the award for Cleaner of the Year. Rather than being too embarrassed to get up there on stage, I felt proud – and beautiful.
Maintaining the weight loss over the last year has been hard, but whenever I feel as though I’m going to waver, I pull out my dress and remind myself how far I have come.
Donna knew she had to make some changes