A super-slimmer who ate THREE takeaways a day shed five stone – after she got so fat her throat closed.
Melissa Dowell, 26, was a healthy size 12 when she started university in 2006 but piled on the pounds when she began gorging out on takeaway food.
She piled on five stone in four years – a mammoth three stone in her final year – and graduated university a massive 15 stone.
Crippled with embarrassment, Melissa felt she was too fat to leave her home and did not want to see old friends who knew her before she piled on the pounds.
But a turning point came when she was sat at home on the sofa and felt her throat close – suffocating under the weight of her tubby neck.
She joined a slimming class the next day and, spurred on by an invitation to be a bridesmaid at her sister’s wedding, slimmed down to a svelte size 10.
Paralegal Melissa, from Monmouthshire, South Wales, said: “The turning point came when I was sitting on the sofa and I just couldn’t breathe because my neck was so fat. I had to sit up straight to breathe again, it was frightening.
“I was literally suffocating under my own weight. I didn’t want to be fat anymore – it just wasn’t me.
“I realised then that I had to step up and do something.”
Criminal psychology student Melissa would sometimes eat three takeaways a day while at university in Glamorgan.
Her favourite breakfast was a double egg McMuffin, followed by pasties for lunch and a carry out for dinner.
She smoked 20 cigarettes a day, did absolutely no exercise and snacked on family sized bags of sweets.
Melissa said: “Before I went to university weight was never really an issue.
“I lived in a small town and when I went to uni suddenly I was surrounded by takeaways – I had never even heard of Dominoes before I went to uni.
“But here I was for the first time fending for myself and I just put on weight right from the beginning.
“But my final year I put on about three stone in a year.
“I didn’t want to go out because I just felt so uncomfortable with myself, but then I wanted to have a treat so I would eat takeaways – it was a vicious circle.”
But once she joined Weight Watchers the pounds fell away and she was spurred on by sister Rhiannon, 32, who asked her to be a bridesmaid when she married partner James.
Melissa added: “My absolute nightmare was walking down the aisle as a fat bridesmaid – I couldn’t have done it.
“She got married in March last year and by that time I had lost four and a half stone.
“My dress was a size 12 and I had to have it taken in – it was an amazing feeling.
“When I looked back at all the pictures of the amazing day it was so worth it.
“There were people there that hadn’t seen me for a couple of years and they said I looked great and I felt like I did too.”
Melissa – who now weighs around ten stone – ran the Cardiff half marathon in 2012 and is just a few pounds away from her ultimate goal of losing a total of 75 pounds.
She runs her own Weight Watchers class and is training to be a legal executive while saving up to by a house with new boyfriend Daniel, 27.
She said: “I’m healthier and slimmer now than I ever have been.
“I wanted to be a Weight Watchers leader because nobody should ever feel like they have to sit at home on their own while their friends go out because of their weight.”
Breakfast: McDonalds double sausage and egg McMuffin
Lunch: Greggs pasties or huge sandwich and a packet of crisps.
Tea: Takeaway mostly or lasagne with lots of garlic bread.
Supper: Chocolate biscuits and crisps.
Snacks: A whole packet of chocolate digestives and share-size bags of chocolates.
Breakfast: Yoghurt or fruit
Lunch: Ham salad or vegetable sushi
Dinner: Chicken or fish with rice and vegetables
Snacks: Freddo chocolate or fruit