Weight-loss guy’s amaz­ing tat­toos ....

When Kevin lost half his body­weight he was left with un­sightly ex­cess skin. So he turned to tat­too artists to com­plete his trans­for­ma­tion

YOU (South Africa) - - CON­TENTS - By KIM ABRAHAMS

HE EMERGES from the wa­ter like a moody Ado­nis, bearded and brood­ing, buff and bare-chested. Well, not ex­actly barech­ested – al­most ev­ery inch of his torso is cov­ered in tat­toos. And they’re not there be­cause he has a par­tic­u­lar fond­ness for ink­ing – the in­tri­cate series of shapes came about as a way to hide un­sightly scars.

Kevin Creek­man, from Cologne in Ger­many, has be­come an In­sta­gram star thanks to his rugged good looks and heav­ily inked bod. But he once tipped the scales at a whop­ping 150 kg and de­spised the folds of skin left be­hind once he’d shed half his body weight in less than a year.

Kevin (28) turned to surgery to re­move the skin but was left with un­sightly scars. That’s when he had the idea to have tat­toos inked over them and he’s now learn­ing to love the body he has.

“I’d been over­weight since child­hood,” Kevin tells YOU. “It’s hard to re­flect on what caused it in the first place. A com­plex fam­ily life, an affin­ity for large por­tions and un­healthy food as well as an ob­ses­sion with com­puter games – they all played a role.”

By the age of 10 he was so heavy he had stretch­marks. He spent his teenage years be­ing bul­lied at school and ended up stay­ing mostly in the con­fines of his home, loung­ing around, stuff­ing his face and stay­ing glued to a screen.

“I had few friends, no girl­friends,” he says. “For me it was all about com­puter games. Be­fore school, af­ter school and the whole week­end. I went to school, ate, slept, played videogames – that was my life for sev­eral years.”

Fi­nally he re­alised he had to do some­thing. With the help of a friend, Kevin changed his diet and soon the ki­los started melt­ing away.

“I started with a strict diet. I’d never been suc­cess­ful when I’d tried this be­fore but this time around a friend was di­et­ing with me and we kept mo­ti­vat­ing each other,” he says.

“Af­ter los­ing the first 10 kg I knew I had the power to change my body. So I kept on push­ing and the more weight I lost the more mo­ti­vated I be­came!

“A new form of willpower was born: to work re­ally hard for ev­ery­thing I want to achieve in life be­cause I started to be­lieve that ev­ery­thing is pos­si­ble.”

Kevin’s di­et­ing ef­forts led to him even­tu­ally shed­ding 80 kg within 12 months. But when more than half his body weight fell away he was left with a large amount of ugly ex­cess skin.

He turned to ab­domino­plasty surgery – also known as a tummy tuck – to have the skin re­moved. He thought this would be the fi­nal step to leav­ing his un­healthy past be­hind. In­stead, the two ma­jor op­er­a­tions left him with huge scars – and new in­se­cu­ri­ties.

“I had a ‘nor­mal’ body now but peo­ple would still stare at me,” he re­calls.

“I didn’t feel free in my skin. I wor­ried what peo­ple thought of me. So I avoided sit­u­a­tions where I had to take my shirt off. I just didn’t feel com­fort­able.”

He de­cided to take ac­tion again – and went off to a tat­too par­lour. “I wanted to make my scars ‘in­vis­i­ble’ and I de­cided to make it a full-body pro­ject.”

He’s slowly added tat­toos in what are of­ten long, painful pro­ce­dures with mul­ti­ple tat­too artists work­ing on his skin at the same time.

His en­tire body, apart from his face, is cov­ered in ink, and Kevin says he’s fi­nally lib­er­ated.

“To­day at last I feel free in my skin. I can take my shirt off any­where. I don’t care what peo­ple think. I’m sim­ply be­ing my­self.”

It’s also helped him to make peace with the demons he wres­tled with con­cern­ing his phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance.

“My mind is at peace,” he says. “The tat­toos were the last puz­zle piece to build my con­fi­dence.”

He makes a point of seek­ing out tal­ented tat­too artists and works closely with them when he’s think­ing of get­ting a new ink­ing. Some of his tat­toos have spe­cial mean­ing and oth­ers are just beau­ti­ful body art, he says.

KEVIN’S unique good looks have gained him work as a model and so­cial me­dia star and he’s re­ceived plenty of praise for how he’s trans­formed. A quick look at his In­sta­gram ac­count shows him in var­i­ous moody poses as if he were an ex­pe­ri­enced pro­fes­sional model.

Un­sur­pris­ingly there are many women prac­ti­cally throw­ing their vir­tual selves at him and sev­eral have made pro­pos­als on his posts. But Kevin doesn’t take the bait and re­mains tight-lipped about any lady in his life.

He’s never short on hand­ing out ad­vice though. “No ex­cuses, no self-pity and be will­ing to suf­fer,” he says of those want­ing to trans­form them­selves. “Any­thing is achiev­able!”

De­spite his new­found sta­tus as a hunk, Kevin hasn’t for­got­ten where he comes from or the per­son he once was. He puts in 40 hours a week as a so­cial worker in Cologne, help­ing refugee chil­dren to adapt to Ger­man schools.

“I’m liv­ing a dream life – or prob­a­bly some kind of sec­ond life!” he says with a laugh.

“I still feel like the per­son I was many years ago. See­ing my­self in my cur­rent pic­tures, read­ing all those com­ments – all this feels sur­real but in the most pos­i­tive way.” S

‘Af­ter los­ing the first 10 kg I knew I had the power to change my body’

ABOVE: A much heav­ier Kevin Creek­man as a teen – be­fore he started hav­ing tat­toos. RIGHT: He shed 80 kg and is a far cry from the shy and iso­lated child he once was.

Kevin had a tummy tuck to re­move ex­cess skin fol­low­ing his dra­matic weight loss. He cov­ered the surgery scars with tat­toos.

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