“I used to be a very active person. I played sports and exercised a lot, and then almost overnight, I was overweight, miserable and hated leaving the house because I felt unattractive. I also couldn’t stand shopping for clothes. All I could see on the fitting room mirror was an ugly woman.

It all started in early 2008 when I had a false eye tumour. I had to take a lot of steroids to fix the nerve problem, which then led to weight gain. I also fell pregnant and had to get o the steroids. The pregnancy hormones actually reversed the eye tumour, but by that time, I was well over 100 kg. After giving birth to my son, my marriage started breaking down. I turned to food for comfort – I ate everything and drank a lot because I wasn’t breastfeeding. My husband would always tell me how ugly I was, and that I’d never amount to anything without him. Then the emotional and physical abuse followed.

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My turning point was when I decided to leave him. I moved out in 2011 and went straight to the gym. It was hard, though, because I felt insecure. I’d actually wear a cap to hide my face, and felt paranoid that people were gossiping about my weight. It was a truly trying time in my life. But I didn’t give up – I went to the gym religiously, which soon paid off.”

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