‘I con­vinced my­self big­ger is best – but it’s a big fat lie’

Nurse suf­fers su­per-size scare

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - HEALTH - By Janet Boyle jboyle@sun­day­post.com

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.

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