United Kingdom

Mother-of-two reveals she lost 12 stone to be carried over threshold

A bride who was too heavy to be carried over the threshold has shed eight stone and finally realised her dream - 18 years after her wedding.

When Steph Gill, from Kent, wed almost two decades ago weighing 18 stone, her husband John struggled to lift her over the threshold and  into married life in the traditional way.

But, after her weight ballooned to 22 stone, Steph had a gastric bypass and took up running, and managed to lose 12 stone.

She now weighs just 10 stone and, to mark the couple's wedding anniversary, Steph donned her old wedding dress, with John proudly carrying her through their front door as family and friends watched on.

Steph Gill, from Kent,was too heavy to be carried over the threshold has shed eight stone but finally realised her dream - 18 years after her wedding.  She is pictured with husband John on her wedding day 

After her weight ballooned to 22 stone, Steph had a gastric bypass and took up running, and managed to lose 12 stone. She is pictured before and after her weight loss 

The IT manager had long dreamed of being carried into married life, but her weight made it impossible when she married John aged 22 in a quaint Kent church.

She said: 'It certainly was in my mind. But I knew there was just no way he could carry me at my previous weight.

'I was a size 20 and weighed 18 stone. I would have been upset that others were able to do it but we couldn't.'

When Steph had her gall bladder removed in 2015 the consultant suggested she would benefit from weight-loss surgery.

She now weighs just 10 stone and to mark the couple's wedding anniversary, Steph donned her old wedding dress before her husband carried her over the threshold of their home

Fulfilling her dream, John proudly carried her through their front door as family and friends watched on

She was referred to King's College Hospital in London, and having been part of a weight-loss management programme, medics there agreed to take her on. They removed 80 per cent of her stomach.

Steph said: 'Some people think it is a quick fix but it requires a change in lifestyle. You have to want to keep the weight off.'

Determined to stabilise her weight, Steph enrolled on a 'couch to 5K' programme with her local running club - Beginners2Runners. She has since completed several half-marathons and has maintained her current weight of 10 stone for more than a year.

During lockdown John, 47, happened to pick Steph up and she realised that her dream of being carried across the threshold was finally possible.

The mum-of-two said she was overjoyed that the couple, who have been married for 18 years, were finally able to complete the tradition 

Steph said: 'I can't remember why he lifted me up, but I just, "oh my God, you can pick me up." That's how the idea came about.'

Instead of doing it straight away, the couple agreed to wait until their anniversary last week.

Steph, who is currently managing IT for key workers in lockdown, said: 'John knew I'd always wanted to be carried over the threshold so he agreed to do it. But he didn't realise I was going to wear my wedding dress until the last minute. 

'I was really nervous in case it had turned yellow. I hadn't seen it since I packed it away in its box 18 years ago.'

The couples' parents, children and neighbours gathered around to watch as the long-awaited spectacle unfolded. 

Determined to stabilise her weight, Steph enrolled on a 'couch to 5K' programme with her local running club - Beginners2Runners. She has since completed several half-marathons

The mum-of-two said: 'Finally, after 18 years John was able to carry me over the threshold.

'So it was only right that I dressed appropriately, even though the dress was five sizes too big.'

WHAT IS BARIATRIC SURGERY?

Bariatric surgery is a variety of procedures designed to help a patient lose weight.

Surgeries include reducing the size of the stomach with a gastric band, or removing part of the stomach through a gastric sleeve.

It also includes gastric bypass surgery, in which surgeons reroute the intestine to a small stomach pouch which shrinks the stomach.  

Their 'emotional' nine year old son watched excitedly as their 16 year-old daughter filmed the event.

Steph said: 'John was proud that he could do it and he always says how proud he is of me for all the weight I've lost. 

'Given all the attention it has raised, I think he regrets not wearing a suit. It was just too hot.'

She added: 'It really lifted people's spirits during lockdown. It was also quite funny seeing someone walking around our little close in a wedding dress. It is not something you see every day.'

Running has been crucial for Steph's weight loss. She has ran several half marathons since joining her local club and was due to run in the Greater Manchester Marathon in April before it was cancelled due to lockdown.

She added: 'Running is brilliant for physical and mental health. I wanted to pick a sport which I couldn't make excuses to avoid. You can run whenever, so it's great for that.'

Since losing weight, Steph is much happier with her life and wants to encourage others to seek help if they want to do the same.

She said: 'Being overweight has mental as well as physical effects. It feels so good to be in shape. I would encourage anyone to seek help. It might be harder to reach now, but it is still out there.'

The key worker stressed that the bypass surgery is not an easy weight-loss option and should be combined with a change of habits.

She added: 'Some people think it is a quick fix, but it requires a change in lifestyle. Many people pile the weight back on quickly. You really have to want to keep the weight off.'

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