A super-slimmer shed a staggering seven stone after she was mortified by a photo of herself as the “fat ELF” at a festive party.
Gemma Romsey, 28, piled on the pounds after overeating for years and admits “if it wasn’t nailed down then I would eat it”.
But after she saw a photo of herself dressed in a red and green elf outfit at a festive party – and diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – she pledged to change.
She went from 20st 2lbs to a curvy 13st, and has ditched her size 26 clothes to slip into figure-hugging size 12 dresses.
Gemma, from Bournemouth said: “At Christmas I always made the most of the delicious food.
“I’d been on the larger side since I was a child, but I adopted a bubbly and outgoing persona to disguise how self-conscious I really felt about my weight.
“I couldn’t help but pile on the pounds and gaining a stone every year since my teens.
“Only in between Christmas and New Year, when I scrolled through Facebook and saw photos from the festive period I was horrified.
“The elf pic from our Christmas Eve party stood out. I looked enormous.
“I was anything but Santa’s little helper.
“The picture gave me the kick start I needed to finally beat the bugle.
“If it wasn’t for that horrendous picture of me dressed as Buddy the Elf on Christmas Eve I may never have found the drive I needed.”
Gemma had always enjoyed her food, and loved dining out on mince pies, roast dinners and sweet treats over the festive period.
She attends an annual Christmas Eve part for her family, and in 2016 made the fancy dress theme ‘Hollywood’.
She dressed as Buddy The Elf – and had to make her own costume on her sewing machine because she didn’t fit into the ‘one size fits all’ outfits.
She had a great night with family and friends – but was horrified when she saw the pics on Facebook.
“I would hear friends and family say to me ‘you have such a lovely face’ but all I thought was ‘I know, shame about the rest’,” she said.
“Because of this I have never had any confidence in myself and often cry in the shop changing rooms because of how I looked and felt.
“I have suffered from PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) due to my weight but me and my husband want to think about children this year and the only thing to help was to lose weight.”
She tried a few diets before enrolling with National Slimming and Cosmetic (NSC) Clinics, where she was put on a plan including appetite suppressing tablets.
She ditched the junk food and on the first week she lost 11lbs.
“When I started taking the medication I was a little apprehensive if it would work or not, but it really does,” she said.
“I didn’t get the overwhelming cravings for food I really enjoy and I found it much easier than I initially thought, which made it a lot more enjoyable.
“Sure enough after a blood test five months later, I had lost enough weight to reverse the PCOS and for my hormone levels to have return to normal.
“I do still have my favourite foods but only one evening a week and in moderation and this keeps me on plan.
“Before, I felt like my life motto with food is that ‘if it isn’t nailed down then I will eat it’, but since losing weight, I make better choices.”
Size 12-14 Gemma, who now loves clothes shopping and going for walks with friends, said:
“Now, I look forward to what the future holds with my new knowledge, relationship with food and confident self.
“To say I am proud of myself is an understatement.
“Now I’m looking forward to Christmas this year.
“It’s our turn to host the annual festive party and I’d like to go as an elf again – only this year I really will be Santa’s ‘little’ helper.”