10-Stone Weight Loss Now every day I look at the mirror and say 'you go girl. Wear what you want, rock your orange hair'
Mum loses half her bodyweight during lockdown and loes her new look
Meet the amazing mum-of-three who shed an astonishing ten stone during lockdown.
Nicola Guilfoyle (35), who lives in Clonmel, Co Tipperary with her young family, began her extraordinary weight-loss journey in January.
Now, just nine months later, the yummy mummy has lost half her entire body weight.
The social media star, who charts her journey on her personal Instagram page @nicola_gets_slim, is now inspiring others to transform their lives for the better.
Admitting to having issues around food from a very young age, Nicola saw her weight spiral out of control following the devastating loss of her older brother Mark eight years ago.
"I was 37 weeks pregnant on my youngest when Mark died of an overdose. I had to identity the body. Three weeks later I gave birth and then two years after that my daughter was diagnosed with autism. There was so much grief and loss that in just under two years I had put on ten stone plus."
Tipping the scales at 22st 8lbs, Nicola, who wore a dress size 28 -30, first began the emotional journey to self-heal.
"I knew that if I wasn't happy on the inside, I'd still find imperfections in my body regardless of what dress size I was. I went on a journey over the period of gaining the weight," she says.
"I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I went swimming with the kids, we went on holidays. Nothing stopped me from being a mam. I learned to truly love the person I was, and not obsess over my shape or size."
Blighted with health problems, the doting mum walked through the doors of her local Slimming World on January 6 and began the physical journey to lose weight.
"At that point I couldn't lie down without feeling like I needed to vomit because the acid reflux was so bad," she recalls.
"I had pains everywhere. I couldn't bend down properly to dress my children without feeling stiff or hurting my knee.
"I thought I was going to have a heart attack, I was constantly living with that fear that I could die."
Speaking of the emotional fallout of her weight gain, Nicola who is mum to Charlie (16), Deborah (10) and Eden (8) said: "There were many occasions where I was fat shamed. I went to Thomasland in the UK, my youngest daughter has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), she's flying it and is in mainstream school, but she's obsessed with Thomas. We brought her four or five years ago and the bar wouldn't close down on my lap on the ride so I had to get off and people just laughed at me.
"How do you explain to a non-verbal child that you can't go on the ride because of your size?
"When I weighed in and I was told I was 22 stone, I wasn't even upset. I just thought, 'you're free mentally now, you're ready for the physical journey'.
"The reality is that if you're not happy, you'd never be happy when you reach your goal."
Cleaning up her diet and fitness regime, Nicola revealed: "I was eating a takeaway a couple of nights a week and having a drink with it and it was just habit.
"That all changed because I wanted it to be a lifestyle change that was healthy and sustainable for the rest of my life. I completely gave up alcohol and will never drink again.
"Now I don't reward myself with food, I'm not a dog.
"I totally changed my relationship with food, which is so important. I adapt every single recipe to a healthy cooking method. I don't even use the word diet because it is a lifestyle change."
Reaching her milestone target two weeks ago, the flame-haired fitness enthusiast says she's never been more comfortable in her skin.
"So many people reach out to me, and say, 'Oh, my God, like your body, your skin.' But I still have stretch marks - nobody's perfect.
"I have it and I embrace it. I'm not going to find flaws in it. I put up pictures showing my stretch marks and my real body.
"I said to one woman who messaged me asking how I looked so great, 'when I bend over to have sex with my husband, my skin hangs loose and looks like an old man's face. That's life, if you don't embrace it and love it what's the point?
"I have learned to do that. Because I felt that if I didn't do that my journey would not have been successful. Losing weight doesn't bring you happiness, it brings more confidence.
"Now every single day I wake up and I look at the mirror and say 'you go girl. Wear what you want, rock your orange hair.' I don't want to feel like I have to conform."
Aside from her new-found confidence, Nicola is now something of a local celebrity in her hometown thanks to her lockdown transformation.
"If Covid could go away so I can go out and wear less clothes that would be great.
"After I came back to the school gates after lockdown there were so many people that didn't even recognise me, they just said 'what happened to you?'
"My youngest said to me, 'Jesus, mammy we can put our arms around you now and I don't want you to be pregnant any more. You were pregnant for years.'
"Covid was hard but I was in the zone, we did Slimming World Zoom sessions so we were still able to connect and we weighed in at home. It was great to get out for more walks too, but it really was the change in my food that made the difference.
"There was a time when I used to feel invisible even though I was the biggest woman in the room and now that has completely changed.
"Women need to realise that you can still be happy when you're overweight, but you can still want to go on a physical journey for a healthier you."
BEFORE: 22st 8lbs
Dress size: 28-30
AFTER: 12st 1lbs
Dress size: 10-12