‘I convinced myself bigger is best – but it’s a big fat lie’
Nurse suffers super-size scare
SHE spent her professional life treating the seriously obese.
So when nurse Deb McKinnon’s weight soared to almost 20 stones, her doctor had some blunt words for her.
“She told me to look in the mirror and see the size I had become.
“She then said, ‘ Look at yourself. You are supposed to be a nurse who sets an example to patients.’”
Deb’s weight ballooned after she injured her knee in a fall at work.
As she got bigger she initially persuaded herself nothing was wrong, encouraged by the confidence of glamorous plus-size models.
But the mum of three became so ill that she ended up in a unit for patients suffering from obesity- related liver problems.
There, Deb was warned she wouldn’t live beyond 50 unless her weight dropped.
Now determined to shed the pounds, the nurse says Scotland must face up to its obesity crisis.
De b, 45, from Humbie, East Lothian, said: “I had become like all the other super-size women who are convincing themselves that bigger is best.
“But it’s a big fat lie because being fat is never good for your health.” Deb had become so huge that her liver was completely surrounded by fat.
She was given a stark choice by her doctor – lose weight “or die before you are 50”.
“I felt suitably shamed,” said Deb. “I used to nurse patients whose livers were being destroyed by obesity and think exactly the same about them.
“Now I had become a patient in my own ward.
“My weight was forcing food from my stomach up and into my lungs causing pneumonia twice.”
Size 28 Deb regrets falling for the “bigger is best” mantra – and lashed out at plus-size advocates who claim “it’s OK to be fat”.
Deb said: “Women like super-size model Tess Holiday have made being obese look normal and even a desired look.”
Terrified of losing her life to eating, Deb turned to a slimming plan which saw her lose two stones in a month. Now weighing 17 stones, she is aiming to shed another six.
As part of her weight loss drive, she is doing a sponsored slim for the Children’s Hospice Association. “I want to get back into a size 10 or 12 pair of jeans,” said Deb. ‘
“Instead of feasting on cakes I spend my free time swimming.
“This is combined with a slimming plan called Lighter Life which is a very low-calorie diet topped up with counselling.”
Scotland is now seen as one of the fattest nations in the world.
In the 1960s, only 1% of men and 2% of women were classed as obese, compared to today’s 25.2% and 27.7%.
Human nutrition professor Mike Lean said: “The obesity apologists have gone too far.
“It is never healthy to be obese.
“Hats off to Dee for losing weight and flagging it up.
“As for NHS staff, many are overweight and obese. They should be setting patients a good example. Obese people should not be blamed but encouraged to slim.
“Scotland has one of the best recognised programmes worldwide in Counterweight Plus.”
Dr Mike Osborn, 46, of the Royal College of Pathologists, carried out a TV post mortem on a 17- stone woman who died from heart failure, aged 65.
He said: “Obesity is one of the drivers for liver disease, heart failure, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes.
“I am around three stones overweight and currently dieting. I have lost weight eating calorie controlled meals four days a week, with three days off.”
Professor Mike Lean.
■ Deb felt “shamed” by her weight gain.