A woman who ballooned to almost 21st after comfort eating her way through a ‘crippling’ battle with OCD has turned her life around after shedding almost half her body weight.
Georgie Callé, 25, who lives with her boyfriend Josh in West Hampstead, London, said she struggled with anxiety and weight issues growing up, but told how her eating spiralled out of control when a disturbing nightmare triggered debilitating obsessive compulsive disorder in 2016.
Technology PR Georgie said she spent eight months terrified her nightmare – in which she had hurt someone – would come true, began binge eating, gorging on a 4,000 calorie a day diet of burgers, chips, pizzas and Mars bars.
But after conquering her OCD with the help of medication and cognitive behavioural therapy, Georgie decided it was time to conquer the weight problems that had plagued her since childhood, too.
She’s lost 9st since joining Weight Watchers last summer, and swapping junk food for a diet rich in vegetables, lean meat and fish.
Georgie, who at 11st9lb is now just 12lb away from her goal weight, is even planning to run the London Marathon next year in aid of the Mental Health Foundation.
Georgie Callé (pictured at her heaviest left and now right) tipped scales at almost 21 stone after a nightmare triggered comfort eating up to 4,000 calories a day including chocolate, fast food and family-sized snacks
Georgie Callé (pictured now) , 25, who lives in West Hampstead, North London reveals how she was able to shed nine stone after ‘crippling’ OCD sparked a battle with comfort eating
‘From a young age, I was constantly trying to lose weight in one way or another. The heart of the problem was that I was deeply unhappy though,’ said Georgie, who told how she had battled with fluctuating size since she was 11 and was bullied at school.
She developed a form of binge eating disorder, secretly snacking on family-sized chocolate bars, and hiding sweets in her bedside table.
Aged 14, she joined Weight Watchers for the first time, by then weighing 14st 6lb.
Over the course of six months, she managed to lose around three-and-a-half stone.
She said: ‘I’d thought for so long that if I lost weight, I’d get some friends, people would like me more and the bullying would stop.
‘But that didn’t happen, so I soon put all the weight back on.’
Georgie saw her confidence increase after moving schools for her A Levels and finding a new, supportive group of friends.
She continued: ‘For the first time, I realised I didn’t need to be defined by my size. I was finally proud of myself and the things I was achieving, like getting involved in politics and working in Parliament during my gap year.
‘It felt so liberating to let all those worries go.
‘I was still living an unhealthy lifestyle, but I figured I’d lose weight eventually and wanted to allow myself to enjoy my youth. I got to a point where, though in denial about just how unhealthy my eating habits were, I was actually very body positive.
‘Being a bigger girl was part of my identity.’
Georgie who weighed around 16 stone when she started university in 2012 would eat a bacon sandwich for breakfast, a calorie-laden pasta dish for lunch and ready meal with an entire loaf of garlic bread for dinner.
Throughout the day she would snack on multiple Mars bars, jelly babies and a family-size bar of chocolate until eventually three years her weight tipped scaled at 17st.
Georgie revealed she didn’t feel a need to change her diet during university.
‘In my head, I didn’t care because other parts of my life were going well,’ she said. ‘I secured a good graduate job and had an amazing set of friends – I was happy. Why would I need to change?’
Georgie (pictured before) was bullied for her weight during her early teens and attempted to lose weight with Weight Watchers. She says despite losing over three stone the bullying continued and triggered her to regain the weight
Georgie (pictured now) revealed she felt comfortable in her body size after moving school and saw being ‘a bigger girl’ as part of her identity. She was around 16 stone when she started university in 2012
Georgie who had previously battled with anxiety revealed a nightmare in February 2016 caused her to become overwhelmed and left her to find solace in food, using it as a control mechanism.
‘I didn’t understand at the time that I had OCD. I just felt like a horrible person,’ Georgie said of her mental health issues, which were triggered by a nightmare in 2016.
‘I’d cross the street to avoid being around people. It affected my concentration at work, my social life – it permeated everything.
‘I felt so alone in my head and tried to control it with binge eating.
‘I’d felt strong enough to tackle anxiety in the past, but this was completely different.
‘It’s a very misunderstood condition. I didn’t even realise I had it myself until I read an online article about another person with it, and thought, “Oh my god, that’s me.”’
Georgie sought help from the doctor and at the end of 2016, was given counselling and medication.
She also had a course of cognitive behavioural therapy, and read a book called Break Free From OCD to help her understand what was happening.
‘I found the space to talk and learn about what was wrong made a massive difference. The medication was the best thing that happened, it reset my brain,’ she said.
Georgie (pictured before) says she didn’t care about changing her lifestyle during university as things seemed to be going well. She saw her weight increase to 17st by the time she graduated
Georgie (pictured now) gained a further three stone after finishing university when a nightmare in February in 2016 caused her to find solace in food and triggered overwhelming anxiety that she was afraid to speak out about
Georgie (pictured before left and now right) sought help from a counsellor to help overcome her OCD and was able to drop six dress sizes
Georgie (pictured now) used a dress from Ted Baker that she knew wouldn’t be able to fit her as motivation to lose weight and joined Weight Watchers
‘I could tell it was finally getting under control when the medication began to work. I could feel a weight lift out my head, giving me space to really embrace the cognitive behavioural therapy,’ Georgie said.
‘I was still binge eating at this point, but didn’t feel as scared of my condition.
In 2017 Georgie was offered her dream job and began dating Josh, who she met at university and was initially friends with.
She said: ‘I looked around and thought, ‘Things are going well for me – why haven’t I got this sorted yet? .
‘I’d hear people talking about the gym or healthy eating and realised that it didn’t come naturally to anyone.
‘If I wanted this, I’d have to work hard. I remember seeing a gorgeous Ted Baker dress that never would have fit me, even in the biggest size, so I used that as my motivation.’
Georgie (pictured before) swapped her high calorie diet for protein rich dishes filled with vegetables and now attends five classes a week at her local gym
Georgie (pictured) was able to lose 9lb in the first week alone of following her Weight Watchers plan and began documenting her weight loss journey on Instagram
Georgie gained help to overhaul her lifestyle after joining Weight Watchers in August 2017 and was able to lose 9lb in the first week alone.
She swapped her high calorie diet for fish, lean meats and vegetable-packed curries, as well as found a passion for cooking, making fresh, healthy meals from scratch.
She also took up exercise, joining a gym in April 2018, where she’d attend five classes a week.
And, in July 2018, she discovered she’d secured a place in the 2019 London Marathon, where she’ll be running for The Mental Health Foundation – a nod to how she has managed to overcome anxiety and OCD.
Georgie hopes to inspire others by sharing her journey on Instagram under the handle ‘@InPursuitofHealthyness’ .
Speaking on her experience with the weight management group. she said: ‘I was nervous, as I’d no idea what to expect. I almost didn’t want to look at the scales – but when I did, I was two stone heavier than I thought.
‘That was the point where I realised I didn’t just want to do this – I had to.
Georgie (pictured before left and after now) revealed she was nervous to attend her first Weight Watchers meeting and that she was surprised by her weight
Georgie (pictured now) claims managing her anxiety and OCD has become easier since she begun living a healthier lifestyle
‘In the past, I felt like everything in my life was wrong because I was overweight.
‘But this time, I didn’t lose weight because I felt bad about myself. It was because I wanted to be healthy.
‘I’ve now learnt that you can achieve anything, so long as you give yourself a chance and a break.
‘My anxiety and OCD are much easier to deal with. I haven’t felt unwell since I started living a healthier lifestyle.
‘I was really inspired by reading other people’s stories, so I hope sharing mine can help others. My blog keeps me on track, and it’s amazing to see all the lovely messages I receive.
‘To anyone else out there, I’d say lose weight for yourself, not other people, as it’s so important to learn how to love yourself.’
Follow Georgie on Instagram at @InPursuitofHealthyness and sponsor her marathon run at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/GeorgieCalle