A mum-of-one who dropped six stone and four dress sizes after her engagement was called off, has now tied the knot after finding love again.
Bushra Zafar-Khan, 41, says she was devastated when her finance, who lived in Pakistan, ended their long-distance betrothal, and she was determined to change her life.
The university system administrator, who now lives in Canary Wharf, London, with her husband, Fahad, 41, an accounts administrator, and their three-year-old son, Salman, started her weight loss journey as a new year’s resolution in January 2016, after weighing herself soon after her engagement ended and discovering she was 16st 5lb.
Bushra said: “I was heartbroken when my engagement was called off because I was really looking forward to getting married, but it wasn’t meant to be.
“I thank my lucky stars that everything in life led me to where I am now – six stone lighter with a loving husband and a perfect little boy.”
Prior to her weight loss, Bushra wore a size 18 and, at 5ft 7in, her BMI (body mass index) was 35.9 which, according to the NHS, meant she was obese.
But it was back in 2015 that Bushra, then single, was first introduced to her then fiancé by her family members.
She said: “I went to visit relatives in Pakistan and was given the opportunity to meet him and get to know him.
“I couldn’t wait to be married, so when he called off the engagement in December 2015, I was devastated.”
At 35, Bushra says she worried about her age.
She said: “The clock was ticking and on top of that, I have polycystic ovaries, so I already thought it was probably too late for me to have children.
“I found the whole experience so depressing and, while deep down I knew the engagement hadn’t been called off because of my weight, I couldn’t help but feel low over it.”
Breakfast – Coffee
Lunch – Tuna pasta
Snack – 3 or 4 biscuits
Dinner – Vegetables, rice and pitta bread
Other – 5 cups of tea with sugar throughout the day
She added: “I knew I wanted to make a change.”
Searching for weight loss support groups online, Bushra sought advice from other women on how to shift the pounds.
She said: “It wasn’t necessarily how much I was eating, because I probably eat more now since the weight loss, but it was the type of foods I was eating.”
She added: “I was just having all the wrong things, like pizza, and at the wrong times. I would eat dinner at 9pm.”
Her size was affecting her everyday life and how she felt about herself.
She said: “Even though I love sports, I couldn’t run as much because of my weight and lack of energy.”
She added: “Sometimes, when you’re bigger, you feel like certain things, such as failed relationships, are down to your weight. Even though it’s probably not that, it definitely knocks your confidence.”
Determined to shift the pounds, Bushra made a new year’s resolution to lose weight and, in January 2016, she discovered the DA Group, after it was recommended by a friend.
Bushra said: “The DA Group offer different weight plans that you can follow, where they advise how much protein and vegetables to have in one sitting.”
She added: “I started taking an energy supplement in the morning and following their suggestions at mealtimes.
“It’s quite flexible though, so I was still able to have a little treat in the day and, because you can have treats, there was nothing I was missing out on.
“They allow cheat days too which helped me with cravings.”
It worked well for Bushra, who said: “In the first month, I lost over a stone and dropped two dress sizes, and within the year, I had lost six stone, making me a healthy 10st 5lb.
“It was incredible, I was wearing a size 10 which I never thought I would be. I felt so much more confident within myself.”
With her newfound confidence, Bushra even found love.
She said: “I worked with Fahad at the university. I think he might have always fancied me but when we met, he knew I was engaged, so never pursued it.
“A few months after my engagement was called off, Fahad asked me out and I agreed to go for a coffee with him.
“I knew pretty early on that he was the one.”
Breakfast – Boiled egg and thin bread
Snack – Fruit
Lunch – 150g of chicken and 300g of mixed vegetables
Snack – Yoghurt
Dinner – Tomato soup and four fish fingers
Snack – Small bar of chocolate
The couple got engaged in July 2017 and tied the knot just three months later in October 2017.
Bushra said: “Everything happened really fast, even my pregnancy. I fell pregnant just two weeks after getting married.”
Her son, Salman, was born in July 2018, weighing 8lbs.
Bushra said: “All this time I was worried about my fertility, but I fell pregnant so quickly and naturally.
“I think my weight loss played a role in that, but I also think it was just meant to be.”
Now, Bushra is enjoying her new life and says she is still getting used to her new figure.
She said: “It’s hard to believe sometimes that I’ve managed to lose so much weight and keep it off.
“I didn’t notice much of difference at first but people around me definitely did.
It wasn’t until I started comparing photos that I realised how much weight I had lost.”
And she is delighted with how she looks now and with the clothes she can wear.
She said: “I don’t hide myself in baggy outfits anymore – I can wear stylish and trendy clothes.
“Before, I would go on holiday and bury myself in clothes but now I can go out in proper swimsuits.”
She added: “I look younger now that I did when I was in my 30s.
“Other parents in the playground will chat to me while we wait for our children to come out of school, and they can’t believe it when I tell them that I’m 41.
“Half the time they think I’m joking, which is a bit of a confidence boost because I’ve come a long way to get to the point I’m at now.
“But my life is so much fuller now and I feel 10 years younger.”