Porky in paradise! A mother-of-two went from beached whale to beach babe after she grew too afraid of wearing a bikini despite the fact she lived right next to a beach resort.
Sheryl Kearney, 23, moved to a seaside home overlooking a beach in Cyprus shortly after she married her husband, Sam Kearney, 28, a corporal in the British army, who was stationed on the Mediterranean island.
Weighing in at nearly 15 stone, Mrs Kearney, who has two sons Jack, three, and Isaac, one, felt too fat to hit the beach.
She covered up her bulky size 18 frame with leggings and dark clothes despite the 30 degree celsius heat.
She even installed a temporary swimming pool in her back garden, even though the beach was just metres from her doorstep.
In desperation, she shed six stone and finally has the 8st 12lbs, size eight beach body she’s always dreamed of.
Mrs Kearney, of Cottesmore, said: “I wanted to use the beach, but I was far too embarrassed to go there.
“It’s a shame I spent my first year living in Cyprus stuck inside. When I lost the weight, I loved finally getting to the beach in my bikini and feeling proud of my body.”
Mrs Kearney tipped the scales at a chubby 14st 7lb when she married her slim and athletic fiance in 2010. At the time she lived on a diet of chips, burgers and sugary cereals.
She said: “I was hungry all the time and I kept eating rubbish, so throughout my teens I got bigger and bigger.”
The couple immediately jetted off to sunny Cyprus because Corporal Kearney, of 2nd Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment, was being posted there for two years.
Mrs Kearney said: “There was barely time to plan the ceremony, let alone think about a wedding diet.
“I crammed my bulky body into my corseted wedding dress and forced myself to think about married life in sunny Cyprus with my perfect man.
“I may not have had my dream wedding body, but I was tying the knot with my dream man and I told myself that was the most important thing.”
Stationed in paradise, the pair had an apartment which overlooked the Mediterranean. But despite living a stone’s throw from the beach, Mrs Kearney couldn’t face squeezing into her bikini.
She said: “I just couldn’t face the thought of baring my folds of flab on the beach, among the bikini-clad holidaymakers.
“When Sam was on leave from work, he’d convince me to join him on a sunshine stroll along the promenade but being with him only made things worse. The chafing on my legs was so bad I had to stop and sit down every few yards.
“We installed a pop-up pool in the back garden so I could cool off in the heat, even though we lived right by the sea.”
In August 2011 Mrs Kearney gave birth to her first son, Jack. After eating healthily throughout the pregnancy she knew it was time to change her diet and joined her local Slimming World group.
Mrs Kearney used to eat two bowls of Coco Pops for breakfast, a baguette with chicken and butter for lunch and a burger with chips and onion rings for dinner. Throughout the day she would snack on biscuits and crisps.
After being inspired by Slimming World, she now eats fresh fruit and natural yoghurt for breakfast, a stir fry made with fresh vegetables and lean chicken for lunch and a homemade lasagne for dinner. Throughout the day she snacks on fresh fruit and ham.
Mrs Kearney said: “I wanted to enjoy my last summer in Cyprus and I wanted to wear shorts rather than leggings.
“Finally, after a lot of hard work I felt confident enough to hit the beach in a bikini and for the first time I attracted glances from strangers for all the right reasons.
“My husband loves me no matter what I look like. But he loves how much more confident and happy I am now.”
Mrs Kearney also started walking for more than an hour every day. The diet and exercise helped her to lose 5st 3lbs – she now weighs 8st 12lbs and wears a slinky size eight.
She said: “When we moved back to England I went shopping with my mum. It felt fantastic to be able to treat myself to size eight dresses.
“I had never enjoyed shopping for clothes and trying things on before.”
Since her life-changing weight loss Mrs Kearney has launched her own Slimming World group in Oakham. For more information visit www.slimmingworld.com.
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