Real Life

REAL LIFE: The shocking wake up call that motivated this woman to lose half her bodyweight!

Victorian woman Megan Carter, 40, shares her story in her own words.

By Laura Masia
The knot in my stomach grew tighter as I waited in the police station.
I'd come in to ask about my ex-husband, Clint, who'd gone missing two days earlier.
We'd been separated for two years and co-parented our kids, Jayk, seven, and Chloe, four.
Since meeting at high school, our relationship had its fair share of ups and downs, but no matter how long we went without seeing each other, we always seemed to find our way back together.
When I gave birth to Jayk at 23, Clint was thrilled.
He loved being a dad.
Before long he was asking me when we'd have another child.
"I'm not having another kid unless we're married," I told him.
Not long after, we tied the knot and then had Chloe.
Although I loved Clint deeply, married life was difficult.
He suffered from mental health issues and struggled to open up.
Despite his depression, Clint held down a job to support us but sometimes, I'd catch him deep in contemplation, as though he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Clint and Megan on their wedding day. Image: Take 5
He also had a temper and could snap easily.
I was often walking on eggshells around him.
Eventually, after 10 years together, we parted ways. But because of his fragile mental state, I was too scared to date other people, terrified he'd hurt himself if I did.
When I heard about his disappearance through his family, fear jolted through me.
Now, as two police officers approached and sat me down, their grim faces told me everything.
"I'm sorry," one of them said softly, "we located Clint's body half an hour ago. He's no longer with us."
My eyes stung with tears as I ran out of the room, vomiting into the nearest rubbish bin from shock.
All I could think about were our kids. How on earth could I tell them?
The officers came with me as I broke the news.
"Daddy's been sick with something the doctors couldn't fix," I said gently, "he's passed away."
I wrapped them in my arms as they sobbed into my chest.
I was unsure whether they understood the magnitude of what I'd told them.
I tried to get on with life, but deep down I was a mess.
Megan says she turned to food for comfort and her weight loss journey has had its ups and downs. Image: Take 5
I couldn't bear to burden my loved ones so I turned to food for comfort.
I'd go to drive-through fast food joints, polish off a family-size pizza, a burger and chips alone in the car and bring more home for the kids.
Soon, my weight reached 128kg."You're at risk of killing yourself because of your weight," my doctor warned me.
"You need to do something or your kids will be orphans."
Jayk and Chloe had already lost their dad. They needed me. It was just the kick up the bum I needed – next day I signed up to the gym.
I'd never set foot inside one before, so had no idea what I was doing.
But each day I pushed myself until I could hardly breathe. Dieting and exercise slowly became an obsession that I used to punish myself.
I began obsessively counting calories, sometimes eating as little as 500 a day.
Over four years I lost 64kg.
Megan and Dale. "He always made me laugh," Megan says. Image: Take 5
"You look amazing!" my friends said and admittedly, I enjoyed the compliments.
When my mate took me to a trivia night, she introduced me to a bloke named Dale.
"What do you think of him?" she asked.
"Not my type," I told her. After Clint, I could never imagine myself in another relationship.
But I didn't want to be rude, so we all sat together and soon enough I was laughing at Dale's jokes.
He was my age, hadn't been married before and had no kids.
I wasn't ready for love, but Dale and I started a casual relationship that lasted for seven years until one day, I fell pregnant.
After being a single parent for years, I was prepared to do it alone.
But when I told Dale I was expecting, he was excited.
"I'm not missing out on my child," he said, explaining he'd always dreamed of being a father.
We decided to co-parent, living under the same roof, in separate bedrooms, while maintaining our friendship.
Dale got along great with Jayk and Chloe, and when I gave birth to Alana, now three, it was incredible to have some help.
Dale and Megan with her kids. "We're a happy family," Megan says. Image: Take 5
Two years later, we had another boy, Kye. I was in the hospital, breastfeeding him when, without a word, Dale started cutting up my dinner and feeding it to me.
It was a small gesture, but as I looked up at the father of my child, tenderly caring for us both, I realised I'd fallen for him.
Back home, our relationship grew naturally.
One night, we were watching TV when we fell asleep together on the couch. A few hours later I woke up.
"I'm heading to bed," I said. Dale got up and started to follow me. I was confused.
His bedroom was on the other side of the house.
"What are we doing?" Dale asked. "Let's be together!"
After that, we finally became a proper couple.
A few months later, I bought him a ring and proposed to him in our kitchen. Dale laughed.
"I was going to propose to you, but I'm just waiting for the ring!" he admitted.
The stone he'd chosen was made from my breastmilk – he'd sneakily nabbed some from the freezer.
It was beautiful when it arrived.
Megan with her "beautiful breastmilk engagement ring". Image: Take 5
With each pregnancy, I'd piled on a heap of weight but this time, I wasn't going to torture my body to get rid of it.
I was going to nourish it. I came across the Healthy Mummy meal plans and when I got home, I changed all of our weekly meals.
As Kye got older, he'd only fall asleep in my arms if I was moving, so I started walking him around the block and then for a couple of hours each day, just for some peace.
Within six months, I lost 24kg and started to add in other healthy forms of exercise.
Now I've never felt better.
After Clint's death, I never thought I'd love again.
But once I learnt to love myself, my true love found me.
If you'd like to follow Megan's journey, head to her Instagram here.
If you or anyone you or anyone you know is struggling to cope, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au

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