This woman lost a massive 57 kilograms by following the Cambridge Weight Plan and is now ready to get married to the love of her life after 18 years of their engagement.
Charmaine Brooks, 36, is finally ready to get married to the love of her life with whom she got engaged around 18 years ago. After a lot of struggle, she lost a remarkable 57 kilograms and has found new confidence. She thinks it's the perfect time to get married to the love of her life. On the other hand her fiance Darren can't wait to get married to her and says she looks as beautiful as the day they first met.
Bride-to-be Charmaine Brooks says now she has new confidence after losing a remarkable 57 kgs. She admits she had a difficult start at life and was put in to care for a year when she was 12. After battling her weight for years she became so heavy she could hardly stand.
“There was a time looking at holiday pictures made me cry and the thought of getting married and being looked at made me feel sick and hideous. Now I can’t wait to wed the love of my life.”
Proud fiance Darren Squires, 44, says: “She looks as beautiful now as the day we met. When I see her walking down that aisle towards me it’ll the happiest moment of my life.”
Charmaine met Darren when she was only 17 and immediately fell in love with him, they both became inseparable and in a year Charmaine was pregnant.
Back in her childhood, she ballooned from a size 8 to a 16, then had to be mum for her three siblings while sitting GCSEs when her own mother was in the hospital.
“My home life growing up had been surrounded by alcohol, drugs and violence – and now I had this gorgeous man in my life who loved and me was so dependable,” says Charmaine.
She had already put on five stone when she gave birth to their son Nathan in May 2002.
“I ate for four, not two, and was told by nurses I was putting our baby at risk of gestational diabetes,” she says.
“Luckily, Nathan was born without health issues but, looking back, I know I dodged a bullet.”
Six weeks after the birth, Darren proposed. “I jumped at the chance to say yes,” says Charmaine.
“But we’d had a few drinks and kind of left that thought to linger as we dealt with sleep deprivation and nappies.”
“Nathan was just six months, so during that second pregnancy, I was so exhausted I survived on junk food. By the time Aimee was born I was 17 stone.”
Again, former care worker Charmaine, from Southampton, fought to lose weight and slowly reached 13 stone, but then had to deal with the shock of being told Nathan and then Aimee had special needs at school.
“I had to give up the job that I loved, working with adults with mental health problems, to be there for Nathan and Aimee,” she says.
“Within a few months we’d lost my income, our children were really struggling, and then the 2010 credit crunch hit and Darren’s work dried up,” she said.
Charmaine sunk into a crushing depression. “I was so bad I told Darren I didn’t love him anymore as a way of making him push me away,” she says.
“I felt so negative. I couldn’t deal with the kids or the house. I slept almost all the time. Darren was left to do everything.”
Then, as Charmaine started to come out of her depression, Darren, unable to be the provider he felt his family needed, had his own mental health problems.
“We went from the frying pan to fire, but we never let go of each other or our kids,” she says. “When you’re dealing with that kind of nightmare, health is the last thing on your mind – and my weight rocketed again.
"I was eating up to 20 bars of chocolate a day and massive take-aways. My pudding after dinner every night was a family-size bar of Dairy Milk.
“I had zero self-confidence and stopped going out or putting make-up on. I was too big to play with my kids and couldn’t stand more than 10 minutes because of pressure on my ankles.”
Then they went on a family holiday to Poole in 2014 that changed everything.
“We had a pedal cart to go round the campsite and I had to get off as I was too heavy for Darren to pedal. I got back on and tried to take a family selfie, but I was too big to fit us all in, so a woman offered to do it.
“It was the first picture of me I’d seen in years. I was horrified. My arm was bigger than my head, and my thighs spilled out of the cart. I looked like an obese Donkey Kong!”
It was a life-changing moment. Charmaine vowed to lose weight and started the Cambridge 1:1 diet, replacing meals with nutritious shakes. A 50-day Facebook challenge in 2015 increased her focus.
“My consultants Christine and Costas at 2Cchange were amazing. I knew I had eight or nine stone to lose, but by breaking it down, I knew I could do this.”
Charmaine actually managed to achieve her goal, her weight yo-yo’d at first, but by Christmas, she was almost at her goal weight of 10st 10lb.
“I was able to fit into some size 8 clothes for the first time since I was 17, and then knew what I had to do,” says Charmaine.
“I got a Love Books Online printed as Darren’s present, with the back page asking if he’d finally marry me – and the kids walked in carrying the ring. He said yes, more than 17 years after we got engaged."
"I had already bought a size 12 wedding dress – which I’ve had to have taken in twice. It feels like our lives are so special together.”
“We’ve been through such lows and highs. I’m now 10st 7lb and feeling incredible. And I’ve trained as a Cambridge Weight Plan consultant to inspire others. If I can do it, anyone can.”
Darren and Charmaine are all set for their big day, which will happen in March with around 100 guests.
(Images: Roland Leon/Sunday Mirror)