By Mollie Tracey
An obese singleton who’d never had a proper boyfriend vowed to lose weight and find love – before shedding eight stone and bagging herself a boyfriend.
Laura Jarvis, 31, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, weighed a whopping 18st and wore a size 22 dress after her addiction to pickled onion crisps left her piling on the pounds.
Due to her bulging waistline, Laura’s confidence plummeted and she spent years alone without a partner to share her life with – as she could never hold on to a relationship beyond a couple of weeks.
But determined to find love before she hit the big 3-0, Laura ditched the takeaways and junk food, and lost a staggering eight stone in just eight months.
And after joining dating site, Plenty of Fish, her self-confidence soared and she met Matthew Baird, 29, and the pair have been together ever since.
Laura, a child care assistant, said: “Without losing the weight I would never have had the confidence to date again and I would never have met Matthew.
“I couldn’t believe how big I had let myself get, I was turning 30 and I didn’t have much going on in my life.
“I had been single for quite a while, I had been on dates before but nothing was ever serious.
“When I was younger I would hide away in my room and would scoff my face with sweets whilst watching TV.
“Soon it turned to comfort eating, I was depressed about my size but was stuck in a vicious cycle.
“My addiction to food was out of control, crisps were my weakness and I could easily eat four bags in one go, my favourite flavour was pickled onion or flame grilled.
“But after I reached my goal weight I suddenly realised I had my confidence back and I decided to join an online dating site.
“I had only been on the site for a matter of weeks when I started talking to Matthew, we clicked instantly and have been together ever since.
“Mathew never saw me when I was at my biggest but I have shown him all of the photos, he is constantly saying how proud he is of me.”
In 2014, Laura began suffering with stomach pains and doctors told her that she needed to have her gall bladder removed.
But, in order to have the operation, Laura needed to lose three stone.
She added: “That really gave me the kick I needed and so in January 2015 I joined Slimming World and began exercising at home using workout DVDs.
“A few months later I had lost just over five stone and was finally able to have the operation to remove my gall stones.
“I stopped eating rubbish and have stuck to my diet plan ever since, I have now lost eight stone.”
Laura reached her goal weight of 10 stone in the summer of 2016 which finally gave her the confidence to socialise again.
Laura said: “Some of my friends suggested that I should join a dating site, I had previously been on Plenty of Fish and so decided to update my profile.
“I had just turned 30 and realised I didn’t have anything to lose, I didn’t want to be alone forever.
“From the moment I met Matthew I knew he was just perfect and nearly a year later we are still together.
“At the moment we are living separately but we are always talking about and planning our future together.
“Before losing the weight I was always the biggest amongst my friends, I wanted to look nice and fit into the clothes they were wearing but I never could.
“But now that I’m a size 8-10 I can finally shop in the places they shop in and I can even borrow their clothes, it feels amazing.”
Matthew said: “I think Laura looks great now, but I would love her no matter how big she was, she will always be perfect to me.”
Breakfast – sausage sandwich or sausage roll
Lunch – Subway, crisps, chocolate, diet coke
Dinner – Chinese take away
Snacks – sweets, crisps, chocolate
Breakfast – fruit and yoghurt
Lunch – pasta or cup a soup
Dinner – Homemade meals e.g. Lasagne
Snacks – fruit, slimming world bar