A mum who grew to a size 28 has lost 63kg so she can fit her engagement ring on her finger.
Nadine McGhie, 26, was overjoyed when partner Victor Faamoana, 25, asked her to marry him.
But her delight quickly turned to dismay when she realized she could not fit the 14k gold ring on her finger.
Nadine said: “I told him to size down if he ever buys a ring because I didn’t want to be this size forever, but I’d assumed I’d still be able to fit it.
“I was upset that I couldn’t at least force it on. I felt sad that I couldn’t wear my representation of our engagement.
“I tried to wear it a few times but it was uncomfortable and looked ridiculous only halfway down my finger.”
Nadine, from Queensland, Australia, got engaged in 2018 and then vowed to lose weight.
She went through periods where she would try fad diets, appetite suppressants or hit the gym consistently for a few weeks – but she always reverted back to old habits.
Nadine had struggled with her weight ever since she witnessed her baby sister Lani Lasharn McGhie, now 13, get her head stuck in a chair twelve years ago.
Her sibling made a full recovery, but the guilt led Nadine to binge eating – culminating in her reaching 177kgs in June last year.
It was then, wanting to be able to be a good mother to two-year-old daughter Hestia, that she decided to change for good.
An overhaul in her diet meant Nadine managed to lose 63kg and now weighs 114kg.
“I have so much I’d love to share about my journey and I’d love to inspire others struggling with their weight,” she said.
The travel consultant has struggled with her weight since childhood, and remembers overeating at just eight years old.
She was raised by a single mum who worked two jobs and she resultantly helped look after her younger siblings.
Nadine said: “I was exposed to the stresses of adulthood and it left me feeling very responsible at a young age.
“I think I naturally gravitated to emotional eating.”
Her mother also had her own body image problems, and would comment negatively on how how she looked, warping how Nadine saw herself.
She said: “Comments were made about my physical appearance and I was left feeling not good enough and sought comfort from food.
“Eating was an outlet for my emotions and bought me a sense of joy I never felt otherwise.”
This all intensified when, in 2009, she discovered then 11-month-old Lani was not breathing, after getting her head stuck in a recliner.
Her grandfather performed CPR until an ambulance arrived, and fortunately her sibling made a full recovery.
She said: “From the moment I saw her limp body until I got the phone call two hours after she went to the hospital I thought my baby sister had died under my watch.
“I was very traumatized by the accident but I buried these emotions deep inside me.
“Having my own daughter I was thrust into constant flashbacks of the horrific accident and I often had intrusive thoughts of my daughter suffocating too.
“After becoming a mum my binge eating became the worst it’s ever been and I reached my heaviest weight.”
Most days Nadine would engorge on a huge breakfast of four eggs, bacon, hash browns, two pieces of toast, sausage and spaghetti.
She could then snack on a whole packet of Oreos, then have a couple of meat pies and a slice of cake for lunch, or a takeaway meal from the pub.
Before dinner she would tuck into an ice cream or pastries, and finish the day with a family-sized pizza.
She said: “I would eat just about anything, in massive volumes. My knees were in pain 24/7 and even sleeping was painful.
“I had to ensure any activities I organized didn’t include any stairs. Stairs were a struggle and caused my knee pain to become excruciating.”
On December 2 2018, her long-time partner Victor proposed to her on a sunset boat ride on the Mooloolah River.
“I thought he was just joking!” she said.
“Then I was overjoyed when I realized he was asking me to marry him.”
Victor then presented Nadine with a 14-karat white gold engagement ring, but she was horrified that when she tried to put it on it would not fit on her finger.
Over the next few years, Nadine would try fad diets, appetite suppressants, or hit the gym consistently for a few weeks, but she always reverted back to old habits.
Last April, she woke up and was in so much pain that she knew she had to make a change, and asked her doctor for a referral to a psychologist and bariatric surgeon.
She said: “I was tired of living a half-life and being in pain all the time. I want to be a healthy role model to my daughter and to be able to run and play with her.”
She was told to qualify for surgery she had to go on a diet for six weeks, and cried daily trying to achieve this.
Her new meal plan involved lean meat, veggies and diet shakes or jellies and, once she had safely lost enough weight, she started exercising by walking on a treadmill and lifting weights.
She lost 19kg in time for her bariatric surgery on August 23 2021, where they removed a portion of her stomach, and since then she has lost a further 40kg.
“I feel like I can be myself!” said Nadine. “I have so much more energy to play with my daughter and enjoy life.”
Nadine now has swapped the cooked breakfasts for a protein shake or low-fat Greek yoghurt with berries, and snacks on veggie sticks with hummus.
For lunch she will eat rice cakes with avocado and egg, and have a vegetable curry with brown rice for dinner.
She has completely cut fizzy drinks and drinks water or tea throughout the day.
“Only one week ago I started trying on outfits that I bought years ago as ‘goal outfits’ and they fit,” said Nadine.
“I can actually have a sense of style instead of just wearing whatever fits.”
She tried on her ring again in December last year and it fit perfectly, and now she wears it every single day.
She said: “We will get married once I have had all my skin removal surgeries so that I can wear whatever dress I want, and not just whatever fits.”
While Nadine has not reached her final goal weight of 85kg yet, she wants to share her journey with the hopes of inspiring others, and documents it on her Instagram @nadinephyllisfittt.
She said: “If you’re struggling with your weight like I did for so many years I want you to know that it is possible overcome this.
“Adopt healthy role models to keep you motivated, make a clear plan with steps and most importantly be your biggest cheerleader – don’t underestimate the importance of your mental health.”
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