YOU (South Africa)
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
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’