‘Isn’t that your third breakfast,’ my husband, Reuben, 36, laughed.
‘I’m on my honeymoon,’ I snapped at him, feeling my face blush.
But the truth was, I hadn’t stopped eating since we’d arrived.
And when I landed back home and stepped on the scales, I burst into tears.
‘I’ve gained 10 kilos,’ I sobbed to Reuben.
From there, my weight spiralled even further.
At work, and in front of other people, I ate healthy meals.
For brekkie I’d have porridge with fruit, lunch was usually a chicken salad sandwich and at dinner I’d have meat with vegies.
But it was on my way home from work where I’d really indulge.
I would secretly scoff family-sized bags of chips, takeaways and giant chocolate bars – whatever I could get my hands on.
All up, I was eating about 4000 calories per day.
And I couldn’t stop.
After I gave birth to our little boy, Danny, it was even harder.
‘I’m miserable,’ I told Reuben. ‘I’ve got to get rid of this baby fat.’
Trying every fad diet going, I could never sustain the lifestyle as they’d involve cutting out most food groups and living off salad.
Having a sweet tooth,
I found it impossible to avoid chocolate and ice-cream.
Every Christmas, Reuben invited me to his work’s festive party.
‘We can’t get a babysitter,’ I’d lie.
So ashamed of my appearance, I would do anything to avoid leaving the house, and I worried what his colleagues might think.
‘They asked if my wife even exists,’ Reuben told me, after I failed to turn up for the fifth year in a row.
It wasn’t just work-related social events I’d miss either.
I avoided birthdays and weddings by pretending I was sick.
Still, I’d secretly stop inat KFC at least three times a week.
And that didn’t stop me from eating my dinner too.
By July 2017, I weighed 127 kilos and my size-22 frame baffled many.
‘How are you 127 kilos when you barely eat?’ my friends, family and colleagues asked.
Reuben didn’t understand it either, as I’d tell him I hadn’t eaten since lunch.
After our second little boy, Finn, came along, I was so unfit, even walking up the stairs was a struggle.
‘I feel so sluggish and tired,’ I constantly complained to Reuben.
‘Well, we have got a newborn,’ he replied.
But I knew it wasn’t that – it was my weight.
Things had to change.
I wanted to be a good role model to my boys and live a long, happy life with my wonderful husband.
‘I’m going to download My Fitness Pal’, I told Reuben.
It’s a mobile phone app that tracks food and exercise.
I set the daily calorie intake to 2700 but nothing was off limits.
I even continued to eat chocolate!
But rather than eating an entire bag of fun-sized Snickers, I’d have one.
For dinner, I would have one serving rather than two or three.
I also began pushing myself to walk to the park that was farther away from home with the boys, rather than visit the one close by.
Enjoying my new lifestyle, I went one step further.
‘I’m going to join the gym as a hobby, rather than a method of burning calories,’ I explained to Reuben.
It was like I’d had a mental shift.
I didn’t want to be ‘skinny’, I wanted to be strong and fit.
As the weeks passed by, my weight began to drop off and I fell in love with lifting weights.
But I couldn’t have done it without the help of my personal trainer, who never judged me and always motivated me to do better.
‘I can’t believe that is really me,’ I said, looking in the mirror, 11 months later.
I had dropped 54 kilos in less than a year!
The downside, however, was the excess skin I’d been left with. So I used $10,000 from my life savings to have a tummy tuck.
One day, I posted photos of myself on Instagram, showing how far I’d come.
In the first picture, I was wearing giant black briefs and a matching plain bra.
In the second, I had on a pretty floral set.
I also don’t wear granny undies these days! I wrote as the caption.
Now, two years on, I feel like a completely different person. I’ve changed my life physically and mentally.
I go to the gym four times a week and though I still track my calories, I don’t deny myself anything - not even chocolate! I’ve learnt a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Reuben is chuffed because he now has a plus-one for all his social gatherings.
‘You’re real!’ said his flabbergasted colleagues when I arrived at his work Christmas party in December 2018.
Danny, now five, and Finn, two, are happy too, because I’m active and able to keep up with them at the park.
I’m so proud of my achievements.
And from now on, I’ll have no more secrets. ●
You can follow Rachel at @_inspirachional