Cleaner Catarina Merighi, 30, from Penge, South East London, once tipped the scales at 23st 10lb – gorging on up to 24 bags of crisps every night.
Then a size 26, she suffered eight heartbreaking miscarriages between September 2013 and June 2017 but decided to lose weight after seeing an unflattering snap of herself at a friend's BBQ.
Now, a UK size 8 and weighing 9st 4lb, Catarina is a proud single mum to one-year-old daughter Rosabelle, something she didn't think would have been possible at her previous size – despite always dreaming of having kids.
Catarina, who was a BGT semi-finalist in 2014, said: “Losing weight has made me a totally different person.
“It’s built my confidence, made me happier and at least now I can run for the bus without feeling like I’m having a heart attack.
“I miscarried eight times when I was bigger and it wasn’t until I lost all the weight I had my beautiful little girl, so losing weight in my eyes helped me to become a mum.”
Catarina, who is now a personal trainer and works out six or seven days-a-week, added: “I was always a chubby kid.
“Then when I had the ability to go feed myself and buy my own stuff it spiralled.
“I hated myself, it wasn’t just about looking like my friends and family and looking better. It was about the fact that I knew the damage I was doing to myself.
“I knew the things I wanted to do and I realised that I was restricting my life and myself just to eat a 24 box of crisps.
“I remember the day I decided to lose weight once and for all, I had recently been to a friend’s BBQ and of course pictures were taken.
“I had been in a long-term relationship and I had got into a rut of just eating and not going out.
“The next morning looked at Facebook and I did not recognise the person I’d become.
“I’d always been chubby from a child but this person in this picture wasn’t me and I knew I had to make a change.”
People barely recognise Catarina when they bump into her in the street, and remembering how big she got motivates her to keep going.
She said: “Not falling off the plan was the most difficult thing about the weight loss and getting on with it when I’ve felt disheartened.
“I’ve had many a moment I just gave up but then I looked at who I used to be and kept going.
“Most of the time people don’t recognise me and when they realise it’s me they are just shocked.
“I’ve heard it all from people asking, ‘where did you go?’ and saying, ‘Kitty are you there?’ I am finally content and happy within my own skin.
“If someone really doesn’t know where to start with weight loss, read up about different plans and think about how your body reacts to certain foods.”
Catarina now eats between 1,300 and 1,500 calories-a-day, overhauling her diet to a high protein, good carb and low saturated fat meal plan.
And she hopes to help others along the weight loss journey as a personal trainer.
You can follow her journey on Instagram.
In more weight loss news, a mum with ‘tree trunk’ legs has 128 PINTS of fat drained after spending £50k on 9 ops to get the pins of her dreams.
While a morbidly obese 28st woman given year to live if she didn’t lose weight sheds staggering 17st – WITHOUT surgery.
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