The 39-year-old has gone from a size 24 to a slim size 12 and puts it all down to 'sexercise' with her boyfriend
Dawn Chappell checked the photo on her phone and scanned the sea of faces on the station platform to see if she recognised anyone.
She was waiting to meet a blind date off the train and feared she’d been stood up.
It wouldn’t have been the first time for unlucky-in-love Dawn, who weighed 22st.
“I’d been on a date a few months earlier, but you could tell by the way he looked at me I wasn’t his cup of tea,” she recalls.
“And halfway through he left without telling me.”
But it turned out her train date, Russ Beach, was just late and still turned up.
Two years on, the couple are still together.
And finding the man of her dreams also helped Dawn, 39, to shed an impressive ten stone, but not through a conventional diet.
She puts her weight loss down to the couple’s three-times-a-day lovemaking sessions. Now she weighs just 12st and has gone from a size 24 to a size 12.
Dawn, from Walkern, Hertfordshire, says: “I ¬struggled for years to lose weight and it took me a while to figure out why.
“Now we call my new regime ‘sexercise’. It’s definitely more fun than counting calories or going to the gym.
"I say to friends who want to lose weight, ‘Put down the crisps and pick up your boyfriends!’”
Russ, 34, says: “I’ve always told Dawn it’s what’s on the inside that matters, but I’m really proud. I’d recommend the sex diet!”
Dawn says she was slim as a teenager but during her 20s, her weight crept up to 14st after she started working as a chef.
And things got worse when she moved from Hertfordshire to Essex in 2002 after getting a new job.
“The restaurant was in the middle of nowhere and I don’t drive so I was stuck,” she says. “I lived on site so I didn’t get much exercise.
"After my shift the last thing I felt like doing was cooking, so I’d take cheese and big baguettes up to my room and then go straight to sleep.”
“I didn’t have friends around me. I became lonely and depressed.”
After two months, Dawn quit and moved back to Hertfordshire, but struggled to find work.
“I was living on friends’ sofas,” she says. “Food was my comfort and I got to 17st.”
Then she landed a job working in a supermarket cafe.
“I’d skip breakfast and lunch, choosing to work through, then at the end of my shift I’d be starving,” she says.
At home, I’d put a pizza in the oven with oven chips and garlic bread.”
Then after dinner, she would snack on junk food until she fell asleep.
“I’d go through a multipack of crisps, half a packet of biscuits, a family bag of Haribo and a packet of wafers,” she recalls.
“I just ate rubbish. What most people buy for two weeks would last me one night.”
Soon, size 18 clothes were a squeeze.
“One night a friend invited me out, so after work I went to the clothes section and I bought a pair of trousers,” she says.
“I’d planned my outfit and even had the shoes to match, but when I got home they wouldn’t go over my thighs.
"I thought: ‘Am I really that big?’ So I called my friend and lied, telling her I was sick.
“I’m a loud character but that knocked me sideways. I felt ashamed of myself.”
Then in 2005, Dawn fell over and hurt her foot and needed surgery to remove a bone from her big toe.
Exercise, even walking, became impossible, as did her attempts at dieting.
“I’d have a bag of crisps and think: ‘It’s not going to happen overnight. One more bag won’t hurt’,“ she recalls.
“Before I knew it, I’d eaten 12.”
By 2012, Dawn tipped the scales at nearly 22st and couldn’t fit into a size 22.
“When a friend who was bigger had a clear-out and gave me some clothes, I was thrilled,” she says. “I had clothes that fit.
“It boosted my confidence, but when I realised they were a size 24, I felt sick.”
She had another setback when a school friend got in touch.
“He messaged me on Facebook. We got chatting then he asked me out,” she says.
“I told him I’d changed a bit since school and he replied: ‘Yeah, haven’t we all’. But on our date, you could tell he wasn’t interested.
“Afterwards, I needed to go to a shop and he said he’d wait, but when I came out he’d gone. That blew my confidence.”
Nearly a year later, in April 2013, she got talking to Russ.
“I posted something on Facebook about a police helicopter flying over the woods near me and Russ commented on it as he grew up in my village,” Dawn says.
“We’d never met but I was friends with his sister. We started sending each other messages and just clicked.”
After a week of chatting online, they exchanged phone numbers.
“He seemed really sexy,” Dawn says. “He said he wanted to come and see me but I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah’.
“I told him to look at my profile picture on Facebook first because I couldn’t face another knock-back.
“He could see I was a big girl but told me it didn’t matter. He said: ‘It’s your personality I like’.”
A few days later, Russ got the train from Milton Keynes, Bucks, to Hertfordshire, arranging to meet Dawn at the station.
“His train was delayed so that’s why he was late,” Dawn says. “We went to a pub and it was like we’d known each other for ages.
“We were having such a good time Russ ended up missing the last train home so he had to stay at mine and we had a kiss.
“He ended up staying for a week.”
During that time, Dawn discovered they had lots of things in common.
“We’re both homebodies. We’d listen to music and play computer games, but the best times we had were in the bedroom.
"We couldn’t keep our hands off each other! We were doing it two or three times a day.”
Dawn booked two weeks off work and went to stay with Russ. She says: “As soon as I got back to work, my colleague said, ‘You look like you’ve lost weight’.
“My work trousers did feel a bit looser so one morning before work I stopped off at Boots to weigh myself.”
To Dawn’s amazement, she had lost a stone and a half in a month.
“I ran into work waving the printout I was so happy. I rang Russ to tell him the good news and he was really pleased for me.”
As the couple carried on seeing other, the pounds continued to drop off.
“One of my customers asked me what diet I was following and when I told her I wasn’t, one of the girls at work shouted: ‘It’s all the bonking she’s doing!’
“I was mortified but luckily the customer saw the funny side.
“I was eating the same things, the only difference was Russ.”
And he was just as stunned when she told him. “I was quite embarrassed at first but then saw the funny side,” he says.
Thanks to ‘sexercise’, Dawn lost eight stone in just six months.
A month ago, jobless Russ moved to Stevenage to be closer to Dawn, who had to give up her job because of her foot.
Dawn says their sex life is as good as when they first met. “We have sex in the morning, afternoon and in the evening.
“And I’ve kept a pair of size-24 trousers – both me and Russ can get into them,” she says. “I can’t believe I used to wear them.
“People ask me for my weight-loss secret and I tell them I have an ‘active relationship’. It always gets a laugh.”
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