A MUSSELBURGH couple are celebrating shedding the pounds together after they ditched big bars of chocolate and deep-pan pizzas for a healthier eating plan.

Derek Melon, 53, a customer services advisor, and his wife Carole, 54, a mortgage advisor, of James Street, are both feeling “fantastic” after their bumper weight loss, which was sparked by a holiday to Florida.

Derek has dropped five stones from 21st 2lbs to 16st 10lbs, and Carole, who weighed in at 20st 1lbs, lost four-and-a-half stones to get to 15st 10lbs since they joined Weight Watchers in June last year.

Their journey started after the couple, who have a teenage son, booked a holiday to Florida.

Carole said: “I was so excited but the plane journey going left me feeling humiliated and not happy as I had to request a seatbelt extension as I could not fasten the original seatbelt. Thankfully no one heard me asking for it but the embarrassment of having to ask was enough to spur me on.

“At this point, on what should have been an exciting time, I was left feeling down, and it was then that I decided that it was time to lose weight.

“Never again did I want to be in that position of asking for an extension. The next time I was flying I wanted to be able to buckle up like any other person.

“When I returned, I decided to join Weight Watchers at Musselburgh Hope Church, and it was the best decision I have ever made.

“I have now lost more than four-and-a-half stones and feel fantastic. I find the Weight Watchers app amazing as its so easy to use and being able to track is really simple and motivating.

“I am a very fussy eater, and, on the plan, I can still have a treat if I want. This makes life easy and no one really knows you are on a healthy eating plan as I can eat just like everyone else.

“Everything about the Freestyle plan just suits me, and, even though I don’t eat meat or fish, I can still eat a lot of what I like.

“The weekly workshops are very motivational and I love going. My wellness coach, Lisa Stewart, is so supportive, as well as all the other members.

“Now I can make the right choices, walk more and shop for clothes that I would never have been able to buy before. Clothes shopping has also become really enjoyable and less expensive as I no longer need to buy a size 26 but a rather smaller size 16.

“Walking has now become easier as I used to get breathless but this does not happen now. I have the motivation to keep going even when I’ve put weight on as I’m not perfect.”

Derek was inspired to lose weight by Carole, saying: “My wife joined Weight Watchers and her initial weight loss was inspiring. I knew I had to lose weight but I just never had the motivation to do anything about it.

“My wife was looking amazing and it was then that I knew it was time for me to get on the Weight Watchers wagon. I’m so glad I joined with Carole as I find it easy to follow.

“I can still eat my favourite snacks – crisps – which is something I was not prepared to give up. Thankfully I can enjoy these and still lose weight.

“Doing the Freestyle plan with Carole is really good although we do not always eat the same foods. The choice of foods that we can enjoy and eat means both us can enjoy what we want.

“The support from the coach Lisa is fantastic and sometimes I’m the only male who stays for the weekly talk. This does not phase me as my weight loss is too important and everyone is really friendly. Even when my wife can’t make it, I go on my own. Men should not be afraid of joining as I’ve had a fantastic weight loss.

“My food choices are now better and I pay more attention to what I eat. We both used to eat things like large bars of chocolate, deep-pan pizzas, lots of bread and cheese. There was no thought to what we were eating.

“We now eat better with lots of fresh fruit and veg, and have more thought in what we are preparing and eating and are both enjoying our food much better.”

He added: “A big tick to myself is that I can now buy jeans in Primark – something I was not able to do before. It sounds silly but being able to go and buy a 38 waist instead of a 50-inch waist just makes me smile. My top size used to be an XXXL but can now buy a size XL/L, so it’s quite clear why I enjoy buying new clothes.”