Takeaway addicts Becky and David weighed 40 stone between them at their heaviest.
A couple who transformed their bodies after being mortified by a photo of them dressed as Tweedledum and Tweedledee – weighing a whopping 40 stone – revealed how being “100 per cent fitter” has reignited the spark in their relationship.
When Becky Ember, 47, met her now-husband, David, 50, in 2005, they bonded over their love of football and partying – with him guzzling up to 15 pints on a night out, and her drinking “a dozen or so” Smirnoff Ice alcopops before finishing the evening with an extra-large kebab and chips.
Tipping the scales at 34 stone between them when they first became a couple, they continued to pile on the pounds in the years that followed.
They did manage to slim down a little in 2015 by religiously following a diet plan – but a freak accident in 2018, when teaching assistant Becky damaged some of her vital organs after becoming impaled on an upturned badminton net, saw her weight creep back up during her five month recovery.
Eventually, the pair, of Southampton, Hampshire, who have two children together, Darcey, 10, and, Charlie, eight, reached their heaviest weights – hers an 18st 6lb size 26, and his a 21st 7lb size XXXL.
But, after logging into Facebook in January 2019, and spotting an unflattering throwback snap of them at a fancy dress party, they vowed to change for good, and have since shed 15 stone between them.
Becky, who is now a 10st 6lb size 12, while her groundskeeper husband is a 14st 10lb size XL said: “It’s definitely brought the spark back. Sometimes I look at him and think, ‘Oh my God, he’s fit.’ He has such a peachy bum now.
“We fell in love with each other for who each other was – but now we’ve got the added bonus of getting 100 per cent fitter.”
When Becky first met David after being invited to a regular meet up for Southampton F.C. supporters, she admitted they did not exactly hit it off.
“We were introduced over a pint,” she recalled. “He thought I was stuck up and I thought he was miserable.
“It took a few weeks before he realised I was a just bit aloof, and I realised he had just been hungover.”
From there, the pair would catch up every fortnight at the supporters meet up before watching their team play, and also began exchanging regular texts and phone calls.
Then, when Becky was given a devastating lung cancer diagnosis in June 2005 after flagging a persistent cough and breathlessness during a check-up through her private medical insurance, she found herself turning to David for support.
She added: “They told me there was a tumour in my right lung. I found myself relying on David more than I could have expected, even though we weren’t even official at the time.”
In June 2005, Becky, who has never smoked, making her diagnosis all the more shocking, underwent a lobectomy, where part of on her upper right lung was removed, at Spire Southampton Hospital.
Throughout her 10-day hospital stay, David was a regular visitor.
“He came to visit me every day, and that’s when I realised he was special,” she said. “So many men would have run for the hills.”
Luckily, the surgery was a success and Becky did not require any further treatment, but had annual check-ups until being given the all clear in 2015.
Making things official with David in November 2005, just four months later, keen to put her cancer ordeal behind her, Becky was delighted when the couple moved in together.
But they soon fell into an unhealthy pattern, often enjoying a pre-match fry up before watching football together, washed down with several pints.
“The foundation of our relationship was based on unhealthy habits,” Becky said.
She continued: “Because we’d already bonded over football, we fell for each other’s personalities and not what we looked like – so we just didn’t care about the weight.”
Spending the first four years of their relationship “doing nothing more than eating and drinking,” Becky and David would paint the town red every weekend.
Then, in November 2009, they welcomed their first child, Darcey, and though they curbed their party lifestyle, they soon swapped one vice for another.
Instead of nights in the local pub, they began splurging on fast food, eating takeaways five times a week and consuming an estimated 8,000 calories between them a day – far more than the recommended intake by the NHS of 2,500 for men and 2,000 for women.
Becky said: “We swapped nights out on the town for date nights in front of the telly. We would basically live off takeaways. Chinese, Indian, Kebab, Pizza – we really weren’t fussy.”
On a typical day, the pair would skip breakfast before having a supermarket meal deal for lunch and a huge takeaway dinner.
But, despite their penchant for calorie-laden food, Becky insists her children have always had a well-balanced diet.
“We always made sure the children ate well,” she said. “We’d give them a healthy meal and get the takeaway menus out when they were tucked up in bed.”
In 2015, Becky got her first wake-up call when she was getting dressed for work, and realised she could not do her size 24 trousers up.
She added: “I looked in the mirror and thought to myself, ‘You are a disgrace. You’ve beaten cancer and now you’re going to let your weight beat you.’”
Signing up to the 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Loss at the recommendation of a friend, Joanne Collins, 49, Becky restricted her diet to 1,000 calories a day, swapping snacks and takeaways for 1:1 Diet substitute products and healthier foods.
With David following a similar diet, the overhaul worked, with her losing an impressive seven stone, and him three.
For two years, the pair maintained their new physiques – but a freak accident in April 2018 saw Becky fall off the wagon.
She explained: “I was playing a game of badminton when I fell over and grabbed the net. The whole thing collapsed, and I landed on the upturned feet of the net.”
Rushed to Southampton General Hospital, Becky was told by doctors that, although the net had not pierced her skin, the impact of the fall had ruptured her liver and severely bruised her adrenal gland, pancreas and kidneys.
“They said the force of the fall has caused severe damage to my organs. I was given a load of anti-inflammatories and painkillers, but apart from that all I could do was rest,” she said.
“The liver is incredible at repairing itself – although it still meant I wasn’t able to work for five months.”
Recovering at home, Becky found herself turning to calorie-laden food for comfort.
By January 2019, she was four stone heavier than before the accident, undoing all her hard work following the 1:1 Diet plan.
That same month, she logged onto Facebook one day, and was left red-faced by a throwback snap from 2005 that had been posted to her profile as a memory.
“It’s from David and mine’s first proper New Year’s Eve together,” she said. “We’d gone to the fancy dress shop and there was only one outfit that fit – Tweedledee and Tweedledum from the Lewis Carroll book Through the Looking Glass.
“It pops up every year, and normally we laugh it out – but last year it was all too much and I realised I needed to change. I couldn’t go back to that way of life.”
Enlisting the help of Joanne, who was by then a qualified 1:1 Diet coach, Becky got back on the bandwagon – with David, then weighing 18st 9lb, once again joining her for support.
Following the plan, kick starting their day with porridge, followed by a 1:1 Diet product for lunch and grilled fish and steamed vegetables for dinner, the pair reached their goal weights in less than a year.
Now, not only their diets, but their entire lifestyles have been completely transformed.
Becky concluded: “We used to be so sedentary before all of this, now we’re totally different – really outdoorsy people.
“Before the coronavirus lockdown, we would spend basically every weekend exploring the local countryside.”
She continued: “It’s not just benefited us two – it’s benefited the whole family.
“It’s like I have a new hubby. David has a new wife and the kids have parents who can finally live up to the role of mum and dad.”
Staff at Sewerby Hall and Gardens ...
Soundtracks of birdsong and weathe ...