Sarah Valentine had an emotional reunion with her husband whom she hasn’t seen for seven months after leaving MIQ today – and left him gobsmacked by a huge surprise.

The Auckland accent coach lost more than 30kg while caring for her sick mother in England, but managed to keep it a secret from her husband, until today.

The Herald captured the special moment for the couple outside the Naumi Hotel at Auckland Airport.

“He’s just going to lose it big time, he’s going to cry his eyes out,” Valentine said, in the lead-up to today.

“He’s just not going to believe it.”

Valentine started the 1:1 diet by Cambridge Weight Plan with the support of a friend while she was living with her mother in England.

Her mother had suffered a stroke and fallen down stairs at her home in June last year, breaking 10 ribs and a vertebrae in her back.

Valentine and her brother flew to be with their mother shortly afterwards, but difficulties securing an MIQ spot meant she ended up staying for Christmas.

“As soon as we got there we started this journey of trying to come home looking into MIQ, sometimes five, six hours a day hitting the refresh button which was a nightmare.

“I was crying every day. Maybe I just cried out all my fat.

“And I thought, I have to do something … for myself. My best friend has a shop where she does the 1:1 diet.

“My friend Alex was just like … do it for a week and just see what happens.”

Valentine, who was 122kg, was amazed at how quickly she could shed the pounds.

“In the first week I lost 10 pounds and I was like … really?

“After losing 10 pounds in my first week it was three pounds, in the following week it was four pounds and it just kept on coming off.”

She decided to surprise her husband with the transformation in person, and managed to use camera trickery while video calling him to keep it a secret.

“I just started doing … the really unattractive videos, trying to keep my face down and stuff like that.

“There was one time I had forgotten that I was supposed to be hiding myself, and I’d just got this really cool outfit … so I’m like ‘Oh my god, check me out’.

“He’s like, ‘that looks really slimming’ and … I quickly dove onto the sofa to try and get away because … I nearly got busted!”

But while Valentine believes her husband was in the dark, she confided in her son and shared her weight loss journey to hundreds of followers on social media.

“I’ve videoed the last six months of my life, all the way through, all the tears, all the crying, all the everything.”

A number of videos, including her exercising and “weighing-in” at her friend’s clinic, have been posted to her TikTok account.

“I’m on social media a lot, [my husband] doesn’t look at my Instagram or TikTok.”

She told the Herald that losing the weight, through a combination of dieting and exercise, has been life-changing.

“If you saw what I looked like beforehand and what I look like now, it’s wildly different.

“It’s amazing. I can run, I can walk, I can skip and jump and I’ve also taken the exam to become a Cambridge weight consultant myself now because I just want to help people do what I’ve managed to do, and do it in New Zealand.”

Valentine managed to book a room in MIQ and arrived in New Zealand on January 5.

She completed her 10 days in quarantine today and left the hotel at noon, her husband, son and best friend waiting outside.

“I was literally so nervous I didn’t know what to do with myself,” she told the Herald. “It was very difficult being a little dishonest!”

Husband Brian Schrider knew something was up but had no idea what it was.

When Valentine stepped out, the couple looked at each other incredulously before embracing.

“I had to look twice. That’s Sarah but that’s not Sarah,” Schrider said. “Oh my goodness, I think what she’s done is amazing. I feel a wee bit ahm, chubby now!

“The best thing is that it’s so much better for your health and how you feel about yourself. Wow, I’ve got a stunning wife again.”


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