A 36-year-old nurse is almost unrecognisable after dropping half her body weight.
Vanessa Brennan, who had ballooned to a dangerous 162kg, realised that she’d end up bed bound like her patients if she carried on with her unhealthy habits.
Now, thanks to her gruelling gym workouts, cutting out processed food and curbing her addiction to cakes she managed to get down to healthy 86kg.
“I was addicted to food, I would eat when I was happy and eat when I was sad for comfort, it was a vicious cycle,” Vanessa, from Las Vegas, US, said.
“I was self-sabotaging; I would eat a cake or two and feel terrible for eating them so then have another two.”
Vanessa says as she got into the twenties her friends recommended surgery, but she realised it was the mental side of the journey she really needed help with.
“Some people are addicted to drugs or alcohol, my addiction was food, but my problem is I need my addiction to live on,” she said.
No tool or surgery will ever fix my mind but me, which is why one day I decided to change my lifestyle.”
Opting out of surgery, Vanessa started working out and eating healthier and was able to lose 23kg before she met her now-fiancé and fell slightly off the wagon.
“We would go on dates to restaurants or have a cosy night in with a take away and I was getting heavier and heavier,” she admitted.
“I stepped on the scales and promised myself I will never get to size 32 again as I was doing so well and from that day forward my journey truly began.”
Vanessa went on to lose another 63kg by exercising and eating healthy meals without too much snacking. Egg whites with vegetables and sprinkle of cheese are her go-to breakfast, with chicken and vegetables a staple for lunch and dinner.
She has since undergone a tummy tuck and an arm reduction but said is her mindset that has undergone the biggest transformation.
“I knew the gym would be hard and changing my diet, but I never knew how hard it would be to mentally deal with the trauma my weight had caused me over the years,” she said.
“Even after losing all the weight, my mind wasn’t able to adjust to my new body as I was so used to being the ‘fat funny girl with such a pretty face’.
“Previously If I had a bad meal, I would start again on Monday but now if I have one, I jump straight back on it with a healthy meal for the next.
“There is no more putting myself down or saying I ‘can’t do it’ because I know I can so I will continue to maintain a healthy weight.
“I am now off anti-depressants for the first time since I was 16, working out is my new medication.
“My whole entire life has changed, I can now tie my shoes with no problems and walk up a flight of stairs with no problems.”
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