A mother-of-one lost EIGHT STONE after she became worried that she was no longer attractive to her husband.
Melanie Steinkamp, 46, reached 19st 5lb after years of indulging in a junk food habit which saw her eat a family-sized bar of chocolate every day.
But after flicking through her family photo album, Mrs Steinkamp, a professional life coach, realised how overweight she had become and decided to turn her life around for good for the sake of her relationship with husband Thomas.
She said: “I’d always thought of myself as a little chubby. But then I was looking through some photos of myself one day and I realised that I was actually obese.
“I didn’t feel attractive or good about myself any more. I wanted to make myself feel more pretty in front of my husband.”
Mrs Steinkamp, who has a 19-year-old son named Yannick, suffered with weight gain during childhood, leading to bullying at school and comfort eating from a young age.
She said: “My grandmother lived with my parents when I was a child and she always had chocolate in the house. Every time I had a fight with mum or dad, or get stressed, grandma always had chocolate ready to cheer me up.
“I weighed nearly 16 stone at my wedding and after I gave birth to my son I shot up to more than 19 stone.
“Most days, I was eating half a big bar of chocolate a day – often more – and I always had double portions for lunch and dinner. When my son was about two years old, he pointed at a picture of me and said ‘fat woman’.”
In 2009 Mrs Steinkamp decided to look through her family photo album and reached a shocking conclusion.
She said: “I was looking at the photos of myself and I thought ‘I’m fat’.
“I realised that I’d not felt comfortable or attractive for some time – I just felt like an overweight mum. I wanted to be a pretty wife.”
The shock was enough to prompt Mrs Steinkamp to abandon the chocolate and cakes she was used to and start jogging.
Before beginning her weight loss journey, she typically ate bread and butter with cheese for breakfast, followed by chocolate-flavoured breakfast cereal with full-fat milk for lunch, and two portions of creamy chicken with pasta and potatoes for her evening meal. She would snack on cake, chocolate, gummy bears and licorice throughout the day.
During her weight loss, she ate yoghurt and fruit for breakfast, followed by muesli with fruit for lunch and lean chicken in tomato sauce, with salad and vegetables, for her evening meal. She gave up alcohol completely and when she snacked she took fruit with yogurt.
She said: “The hardest part was trying to pay attention to when I was actually hungry. I tried to stop eating if I was just stressed or in a bad mood, but it was just so difficult to stop eating sometimes.”
Today, Melanie weighs 11st 8lb and wears size 12 clothing, having dropped eight dress sizes.
As a direct result of losing so much weight, Mrs Steinkamp decided to change careers and start a new life, helping others to lose weight themselves.
“Losing weight has changed everything. I’ve become much more confident and I can do whatever I want now.
“Three years ago I started training to become a life coach. A year later I’d opened my own independent WeightWatchers center – and now I run my own business.”
Mrs Steinkamp, of Wesel in northwestern Germany, still eats chocolate, but she says that her relationship with it has changed.
“I only eat small amounts of it, with a clear conscience. I’ll take about three squares at a time, but not because I’m reacting to stress, but because I feel like it.
“My new life feels incredible. I feel like a completely new woman.
“I felt so proud – and my husband thinks that he’s got himself a new wife.”
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