A mum who lost a remarkable 14 stone has been left feeling "crushed" as her body now resembles a "90-year-old woman" due to 25lbs of loose skin. Kristina Murphy, 34, previously weighed 26st 7lb and wore a US size 30 at her heaviest, after a lifelong struggle with binge eating, the Mirror reports.
She realised how "out of hand" her health had gotten and the mum-of-two vowed to make the necessary changes to live a healthier life for herself and her children. She began her transformation in January 2021, implementing new diet and exercise changes such as portion control and working out before undergoing gastric bypass surgery in April that year.
Kristina, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US, managed to lose more than half her body weight, and now tips the scales at 12st 7lbs - but she is still suffering with body dysmorphia and a lack of confidence. Her huge weight loss came with a price and has left her with an estimated 20-25lb worth of sagging loose skin around her stomach.
The mum says she needs to wear clothes two sizes too big to "pack a massive stomach" in and feels "stuck with the old shell of [her] fat body". Despite this, she says her self-confidence has increased a little since shifting and reveals that guys now offer to buy her drinks and give her attention, which she still finds "weird".
Kristina said: "The skin is a massive problem and was something I worried about before the surgery. I struggle with finding clothes to fit me properly. I'm a size eight in jeans but I have to buy a size 10 to 12 to fit the skin, which is frustrating.
"I'm dealing with rashes on the skin regardless of how clean I am, in my bellybutton, thighs, armpits. It hurts when I run because it hits against itself and it’s taken a toll on me mentally. "I feel good when I'm dressed, I can see the difference in myself and I feel beautiful, but when I’m by myself and I take my clothes off it crushes me.
"I’ve got the body of a 90-year-old woman - the skin all wrinkly and saggy and not where it should be. I haven’t fully got rid of myself - I’m stuck with my old shell of my fat body. I can’t move into the new me when I still have the old me hung around me."
In the past, Kristina was stuck in a cycle of binges, toxic diets and restrictions, which she realised would never work for her as she was depriving herself and then overindulging. She added: "I was your typical chronic dieter. I would try every diet, and restrict myself. I’ve now been diagnosed with binge eating disorder, but at the time I didn’t know about this.
"I would go without eating much for a week but I would be craving food and as a result of depriving myself so much I would overindulge in the week. I would have protein shakes and salad in the week, then on the weekend I would eat a whole pizza by myself and chicken wings or soft drinks. One binge day would turn into four binge weeks. I would gain 10-15lb from that binge episode."
Before the mum qualified for the surgery, she had to spend three months trying to lose weight through diet and exercise, as well as attending sessions with a nutritionist and psychotherapist to understand her weight issues on a deeper level. Kristina said: “My struggle with my weight has been something I’ve dealt with on and off my whole life.
"In 2020, during the pandemic everyone was stuck at home and my weight got out of hand. It took a toll on me physically. I couldn’t get up steps easily and every aspect of my life was affected. So I decided it was time for me to do a drastic change and I started looking into weight loss surgery. Now I’m in the phase of dealing with the aftermath and figuring out who I am as a person again after the weight loss."
Kristina feels she has been able to reconnect with herself through her weight loss journey and develop a new sense of self-worth. She said: "I‘m becoming who I always was on the inside, the person who I haven’t been able to explore. It’s like the weight has muddled me. It’s been a journey to try and explore that to find myself and my light again, from little things like figuring out how to dress the new body to big things, like how do I have a healthy new relationship with food again?"
Kristina’s relationship with her kids Kamrem, eight, and Isaiah, 10, has been a "big motivator" to improve her health. She said: "They never asked me to lose weight, but it killed me that I couldn’t run around with them because my knees hurt Now it feels amazing that I can go to the park and swing with them and be in those moments with them rather than watching those moments and creating those memories."
Kristina has now adopted a new diet and approach to food after working with a nutritionist and psychologist as part of the bariatric team. She manages her portion control with smaller plates, using scales to weigh her food and balances her meals with at least half vegetables, one third of protein and the rest being carbohydrates.
She has also started chewing her food slowly and giving her brain time to register that she is full to achieve success in her diet. After her nutritionist explained to her to that being restrictive in her diet is what triggers the binge episodes, she still allows herself to have carbs and small treats.
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