Big spender!

Now my money goes further than my waistline...

Published by: Jocelyn Cook and Amy Thompson
Published on: 7th July 2010

You know what it’s like when you’ve just got home from work, and finally put your feet up – the last thing you want to do is cook.
Well, me and my hubby, Neill, 45 , had found the perfect solution…
‘Curry or pizza?’ Neill asked as I flopped down.
‘Umm… curry,’ I said, kicking off my shoes.
‘Want me to order your usual?’ he grinned as I went to run a bath.
I nodded. ‘Oh! Don’t forget the chips this time!’ I added.
As I went upstairs, I heard him on the phone. ‘We’ll have a tikka masala, sag aloo, onion bhajis, pilau rice and chips…’ he said.
Sounds like a lot for just two? Well, the worst was that was just my order!
When we’d married 14 years earlier, I’d already been big, squeezing into a size 22 wedding dress.
Even when I fell pregnant with our son Joseph, four, and ballooned to 20st and a size 26, Neill showered me with compliments. I was happy munching through five takeaways a week with him. That’s right – we didn’t mind cooking at weekends!
I loved my food, but while Neill kept trim on the gym equipment in the garage, I dodged all exercise.
‘You only live once,’ I’d grin to my mates at the hospital where I worked as a nurse. ‘Might as well enjoy it. I mean, who has fun killing themselves on a treadmill?’
So I had a vice – who doesn’t? It’s not like I was drowning my liver in alcohol or chain smoking.
No, my curries and meat feast pizzas were luxuries – like the fantastic summer holiday to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands I’d just booked for us, our first family holiday.
I couldn’t wait to soak up the sun. Only problem was, finding the perfect swimming cossie. Okay, I was never going to look like those bikini-clad hotties, but I was sure I could find something that suited my fuller figure and 46EE boobs.
Ordering a black costume with blue trim online, I was all set.
On the plane, I buckled Joseph into the seat between me and Neill, then reached for my seatbelt.
‘Oh,’ I frowned, trying to tug it out a little more to fit round me.
‘Ahem,’ a voice said discreetly beside me. Looking up, I saw an embarrassed stewardess holding a belt extension out for me.
‘Oh… er… thanks,’ I blushed as she fitted it for me. Mortified, I tried to laugh it off.
‘Well, someone’s got to make use of it,’ I chuckled, awkwardly.
I’d never been shy because of my weight but this was a first, and I didn’t like it.
‘I’ve heard the pizzas here are delicious,’ I told Neill as we unpacked in our hotel room. And they were. So was the rest of our holiday, though I was a bit miffed when I couldn’t chase Joseph because I ran out of breath easily.
‘Mummy, come swimming
with me,’ Joseph begged as I sank into the sand.
‘Daddy will take you,’ I nodded towards Neill. ‘He’s better at swimming than me.’  Disappointed, he nodded and ran off to play.
Back home, I missed the sunshine but I was glad to get back to our trusty takeaways.
When Neill came home with our holiday snaps though, I was in for a shock.
Lifting a Chinese spare rib to my lips, my hand froze as I clapped eyes on the first photo of me in my cossie sitting on the sand.
‘That’s not me!’ I gasped.
But Neill, Joseph, and my unmistakable blue-trimmed cossie begged to differ.
‘I-I look like a beached whale!’ I cried. ‘I mean, I knew I was a bit big but…’
‘Don’t be daft,’ Neill chuckled. ‘You look gorgeous, as always.’
Hmm… I might’ve believed that once, but with this evidence I was inclined to disagree.
That was it. Chucking the rest of my Chinese away, I knew I had to bite the bullet – or at least a stick of celery, and I tried every diet going, even attempted a bit of running on Neill’s treadmill.
Nothing worked.
Then I heard about a clinic nearby that did gastric band surgery, so I booked a consultation and Neill came with me. At 20st, I was dangerously overweight.
‘So, what’s your diet like?’ the surgeon asked.
‘We get a lot of takeaways,’ I said, listing them for him to note down.
‘How much does the surgery cost?’ I asked him nervously.
‘£7,500,’ he replied.
‘Wow, that’s a lot,’ I said, disappointed.
‘Not nearly as much as you’ve spent on takeaways in the last 10 years,’ he smiled.
‘Huh?’ I frowned.
‘Well, say on average you’ve spent £30 a time, at least three times a week, on takeaways – that makes a total of about £50,000 you’ve spent over 10 years,’ he explained.
Oh my God!
Me and Neill stared at each other gobsmacked. £50,000?!
‘Imagine all the stuff we could’ve bought with that,’ I groaned.
So we took out a loan for my surgery – the repayments would be much less than we spent on our takeaways!
Luckily, the op went without a hitch, and in the last year, I’ve lost a whopping 8st. I’m now a slim size 12 and still losing weight.
I still can’t believe I spent £50,000 on takeaways, though. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is!
Charlotte Morton, 43, Braintree, Essex