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Woman who ate four burgers and four curries a day loses seven stone in lockdown

Sep 18, 2021

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Kirstie, 31, who lives in Swansea with partner Steven, turned her life around after being hospitalised with Covid. Now after a seven stone weight loss, she’s in the finals of Ms Great Britain. Here she shared her story in her own words…

Posing in front of the mirror in my size 10 sparkly black bikini, I can hardly believe the person in the reflection is really me. This week, I’ll be stepping onto the catwalk in my skimpy bikini in front of hundreds of people as a finalist in Ms Great Britain.

After five years of weighing more than 17st and feeling incredibly unhealthy, I can’t help feeling proud of how far I’ve come. Until 2015, I was a healthy weight for my 5ft 6in frame. But when my dad Phil died suddenly of heart disease, aged 57, everything changed.

Dad was my best friend and we did so much together. He was a well-known deputy council leader in Coventry, where I grew up, and even when he and my mum divorced,I saw him all the time. We’d meet most days and he was proud of my ambition to follow him into politics.

I was devastated when he died but my grief was compounded by the shocking news that Dad had died owing nearly £1 million. I thought I knew everything about him but now I was dealing with solicitors and newspapers running stories about his death and financial allegations. I had to deal with the estate and the debts, and I struggled to cope with the pressure. I’d moved to London shortly before he died to work in PR. But work couldn’t distract me from the grief I felt.

The only thing that seemed to numb it slightly was eating. Those moments when I was eating became the distraction and comfort I needed and, before I knew it, I was over-eating all the time – piling on 2st in six months.

There was a fast-food restaurant a few minutes’ walk from my house. Every morning I’d buy four sausage and egg breakfast rolls. I’d eat two there and shove the other two in my work bag ready to eat when I got peckish again mid-morning.

By 2pm I was hungry and I’d nip to the supermarket near the office and buy two chicken curries and a four-pack of naans. I’d microwave the curries in the office kitchen, pour them into one bowl and eat the lot.

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I’d often follow this up with a pack of five cookies or a tub of yum-yums. Then, when I left work at 6.30pm, I wouldn’t want to bother cooking when I got home, so I’d go back to my local takeaway for two large chicken burger meals and a chocolate shake.

Often, I’d buy two extra burgers as well, and another portion of chips. So that was four burgers and three portions of chips.

I’d sit on the Tube on the way home and start eating. If I saw people staring at me, I felt ashamed but just moved to another carriage and carried on eating. During 2019, I spent £1,000 at my favourite fast-food place alone and hundreds more on takeaways.

I ate without thinking, almost as if I was in a trance. Soon I’d put on 7st, weighing 17st 4lb. But it was as if the stress and
grief of losing dad had stopped me caring how I looked.

I could only wear large smock tops and several times on the packed morning Tube people offered me their seats, assuming I was pregnant. At a party one evening, I was sitting on a sofa with a glass of wine when a fashion designer approached me. “You’ve got a beautiful face,” he said.

“But you’d need to lose at least 6st for me to take you out!”

I was lost for words and felt flushed with humiliation. I knew I’d put on weight but I was in denial about how big I was.

Then, last March, at the beginning of the pandemic, I caught Covid after a work trip to New York. When I started to feel breathless and because I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, my consultant got me admitted to hospital as a precaution. I was there four days, scared and isolated, propped up on pillows because of the breathlessness. Phone calls to Mum were my only comfort.

When a group of tired-looking medics, clad in full PPE, came to check on me, a doctor told me sternly, “You need to be very careful about your health. You’re obese, pre-diabetic and your cholesterol’s through the roof!”

When he’d gone, I burst into angry tears. I’d expected sympathy but then I realised he was right. So many people had lost their lives to Covid. I’d been lucky and now it was up to me to look after my health. I needed to address my weight.

A few months earlier, I’d bought a house in Swansea, thinking I might rent it out or use it as a holiday home. Instead, I headed there for the first lockdown.

There wasn’t a fast-food place in sight and buying food meant a walk up a steep hill to the little shop. It was a two-mile round trip but I resolved to do it every day.

To start with, I had to keep stopping every few minutes to catch my breath. My thighs were sore where they rubbed together as I walked, my face was bright red and the sweat poured off me. But I kept going, adding litre bottles of water to my backpack to make it more challenging. At the shop, I’d only buy healthy food, such as chicken and a marinade, veg and eggs for breakfast. I went from consuming 4,800 calories a day to around 1,800 and the weight began to shift.

It wasn’t easy and I had a big lapse last August when I ordered a delivery of two large pizzas, garlic bread and ice cream and ate the lot. But I got back on track, using my willpower and resources from the eating disorder charity Beat.

Meeting my partner Steve, 31, a civil servant, last year really helped too. He’s interested in fitness and nutrition and has really helped me push on and get fitter.

We developed a routine, walking every day and making meal plans so I stayed focused. We got a large dining room table and always use it for meals rather than eating with plates on our laps. That helped me to eat mindfully. I always want seconds if I eat in front of the TV.

As soon as the gyms reopened, I started working on strength and conditioning. I’ve lost 7st in 18 months and I feel great.

A few weeks ago I realised a lifetime dream when Steven and I walked to the summit of Snowdon. It felt like a real achievement, especially with my rheumatoid arthritis, which means my joints can be very swollen and painful. There was a little sign
at the top about being closer to heaven and I had a little cry, thinking about Dad and how far I’d come.

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Before Dad died, I’d entered a few beauty contests, winning Miss Coventry one year. I decided to give it one last go this year and was amazed to make it to the finals of Ms Great Britain, a companion contest to Miss Great Britain for contestants aged over 28.

Beauty contests may seem old-fashioned but I feel Ms Great Britain is more about talent and how you present yourself than a beauty contest – and I’m hoping to shine a light on eating disorders.

There is a bikini round though and, believe it or not, I’m looking forward to it. I’ve worked hard on my body. It’s not perfect and I’ve got plenty of wobbly bits but I’m a normal girl and wearing a bikini in front of all those people will be an important part of my journey. I feel as though I’ve been given a second chance at life and I don’t want to waste a moment of it.

Anyone seeking help with eating disorders should consult their GP. You can follow Kirstie’s weight loss journey on her Instagram, @kirstielouiselogan

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