By Shannon Lane @ShannonLane
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Videographer / director: Fergus Thom
Producer: Shannon Lane, James Thorne
Editor: James Thorne
Steph O’Shea, 28, has gone from 24 stone to just under 10 stone after radically changing her lifestyle.
In this episode of Brand New Me, Steph shares her weight loss journey – and how she has regained her confidence after cruel comments about her appearance.
Steph told Barcroft TV: “I’ve always been big; mum was having to get school uniforms especially made for me because nowhere stocked clothes to fit a child that young at such a big size.”
Before she lost weight she “was running out of room in size 24 trousers.
“I’ve always had to wear things that a grandma would wear.”
But one day something clicked to spur on her weight loss journey.
At a New Year’s Eve celebration she went to have a photo taken with her partner in her kitchen doorway.
However, she couldn’t fit, and the pair had to stand side-on.
After her friend uploaded the picture to Facebook she says, “that was when it hit me.
“In the beginning my intention was to see the number 18 on the scales.
“I never in a million years thought I’d get to where I am now.”
She started by building up her strength at the gym.
“I’ve gone from walking to the fridge and back to going to the gym three times a week for an hour.”
Diet was also factored into her new regime; she threw out her deep fat fryer, replacing greasy meals with lean meats and vegetables.
“Now it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change.”
But Steph still didn’t look how she wanted after losing half her bodyweight.
Her skin became baggy and her confidence dipped.
She says life became even more difficult than before.
Steph told Barcroft TV: “When I lost the weight and skin started to appear, I just became withdrawn. I stopped going out.
“On a few occasions people have come out with cruel comments, so I always covered up.”
In the film Steph explains how she finally had excess skin removal surgery in Lithuania after setting up a GoFundMe page.
“As soon as I woke up I was really intrigued to see how much skin had actually been taken off.”
She even had her bellybutton reconstructed as the skin was removed.
“Obviously you can see it and it’s visible, but it’s much better than I was expecting.”
She has mostly been staying at home since the surgery to recover, and has only been wearing loose garments when going outdoors.
But now her scars are starting to heal and she can see the results.
So Steph goes out shopping with one of her best friends for new clothes to fit her new shape.
During the shopping trip Aleisha says, “you still think that you’re really big but you’re not.”
Aleisha told Barcroft TV: “She was so nervous and quiet before but she’s starting to come out of her shell a bit now.
“It would be nice to see her wear something where she doesn’t have to hide herself because her transformation is amazing.”
Steph opens up and says having loose skin felt like she was being “punished for all the bad habits and all the things I’d done to my body over the years.”
“Now it’s like I’ve been born again, I’ve got another life.”
After her friend encourages her to try on a fitted dress Steph looks shocked at her appearance in the mirror and says, “is this really me?”
“I’ve spent my whole life trying to disguise me, I don’t want to hide away anymore.
“Life is for living, so I want to be out there enjoying life.”