‘But I feel and look worse now than I did when I weighed 20 stone 9lb (133kg) and squeezed into a size 24.’
A full-time mum-of-two, Steph, whose partner Aaron, 30, is a technician, now weighs 83kg, after achieving her astonishing weight loss using diet and exercise. But it’s left her deeply unhappy.
‘I honestly wonder why I’ve lost all this weight when I’ve been left looking like this,’ Steph confesses.
‘I lost it all on my own. Now I need the NHS to help me with that final push. People tell me how amazing I look, but the excess skin is holding me back. I’m a young woman with kids, my partner works full time and we pay our taxes, so why shouldn’t I get the help when I need it?’
Brutally honest about her battle with obesity, Steph had a 52in waist when she was 16.
‘I was always a fat kid. Even at the age of five I was obese,’ she says.
‘Then, after developing septic arthritis – an inflammation of a joint caused by a bacterial infection – when I was eight-years-old, my mobility went downhill.
‘By the time I started secondary school, aged 12, my weight had ballooned to 15 stone and, when I was 16, I was roughly 18 stone and my mum had to get my P.E kit specially made.’
It was after the caesarean deliveries of her two children, that Steph became her heaviest.
Skipping breakfast and lunch, she would drink endless coffees, each with two sugars, before snacking on family-sized bags of crisps in the evening and having double-portioned ready-meals of pizzas for dinner.
But it was an embarrassing New Year’s Eve photo of her, looking massively overweight, that shamed her into taking action.
Clearing her fridge of junk food, she joined her local gym and worked out late at night, when it was quiet and her children were in bed.
After a healthy breakfast of fruit and yoghurt, she would have salad for lunch and small-portioned meals, made with lean mince for dinner – shedding almost half a stone each month.
To her dismay, however, the more weight she lost, the more excess skin gathered around her arms, inner thighs, stomach and breasts.
‘Even though I’ve lost my weight sensibly, with exercise and a good diet, every bit of me has been affected,’ she says.
‘My arms, my inner thighs, my stomach and my boobs are just formed of saggy skin. I’ve got loads hanging over my bra and I can’t wear t-shirts or shorts, as I feel so awful. I feel and look deflated, like a balloon that has gone down.’
Hoping that, after losing nearly seven stone, she would be able to wear svelte size 12 clothes, Steph is still having to fold her skin into a size 16.
‘I’m exhausted. I’m trying to turn my life around and I feel and look worse now than I did when I was fat.’
To donate to Steph’s surgery click here