A woman who incredibly lost half her body weight finally gets surgery to remove her excess skin.
Steph O’Shea, 28, from Hednesford, Staffordshire, 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.
‘I’ve always been big,’ Steph explained. ‘Mum was having to get school uniforms specially 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.
Steph O’Shea, 28, from Hednesford, Staffordshire, went from 24 stone to just under 10 stone, and is finally happy with her body after having surgery to remove excess skin
After losing more than half her body weight, Steph has left with folds of skin that left her feeling worse about herself than she did when she was bigger
‘I’ve always had to wear things that a grandma would wear,’ she said.
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.
Steph was ‘running out of room’ in size 24 clothes before her weight loss (left). On a shopping trip after her surgery, Steph finally found the confidence to wear a figure-hugging outfit (right)
Steph’s turning point came when she couldn’t pose for a photo with her boyfriend in a doorway because of her size/ (pictured together after her weight loss)
Steph’s belly button was removed during surgery in Lithuania and she had it reconstructed
After her friend uploaded the picture to Facebook, it was a turning point for Steph.
‘In the beginning my intention was to see the number 18 on the scales,’ she said.
‘I never in a million years thought I’d get to where I am now.’
Steph 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,’ she said.
Diet was also factored into her new regime; she threw out her deep fat fryer, replacing greasy meals with lean meats and vegetables.
Steph has gone from walking to the fridge and back to going to the gym three times a week for an hour
Steph with a pair of her old size 24 trousers. She struggled with her weight throughout her life and her mother had to have her school uniform specially made
During a shopping trip with her friend Aleisha (right), Steph finally decided to embrace wearing clothes to show off her new figure
‘Now it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change.’
But Steph still didn’t look how she wanted after losing half her body weight.
Her skin became baggy and her confidence dipped, and despite her weight loss, she felt even worse about her body than she had when she was bigger.
‘When I lost the weight and skin started to appear, I just became withdrawn. I stopped going out,’ she said.
‘On a few occasions people have come out with cruel comments, so I always covered up.’
Stpeh, pictured trying on new clothes, said that her excess skin made her feel like she was being punished for mistreating her body for so many years
Steph 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 said.
She even had her bellybutton reconstructed because the skin was removed.
‘Obviously you can see it and it’s visible, but it’s much better than I was expecting,’ she explained.
After the surgery, she mostly stayed at home to recover and only wore loose-fitting garments when she went out.
Steph pictured after crowdfunding to have surgery in Lithuania. She said that despite being left with some scarring, the results were much better than she’d anticipated
But as her scars started to heal she began to feel more confident and went on a shopping trip with a friend to buy new clothes with her friend, Aleisha.
‘You still think that you’re really big but you’re not,’ Aleisha told her.
Speaking about her friend’s transformation, Aleisha said: ‘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 explained that 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 encouraged her to try on a fitted dress Steph was shocked at her appearance in the mirror and said, ‘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.’