A young mum who was branded ‘morbidly obese’ by medics after tipping the scales at 16.5 stone has told how she shed almost 100lbs in just 18 months.
Jessica Kaur Nagra was overjoyed at learning she was pregnant in 2019 after previously being warned she would struggle to conceive.
The 26-year-old said she used her pregnancy as an excuse to gorge on junk food – with her favourite being chicken nuggets – with the pounds quickly adding up.
She was at her heaviest when she welcomed her first-born son Ruben in February 2020 and vowed to shed the excess weight, Derbyshire Live reports.
Jessica, who lives in Sinfin with husband Fatinderpal, looked back on the struggles she faced during pregnancy and after giving birth via an emergency caesarean section.
She said: “I was overjoyed and ecstatic about the news of expecting a child, especially after being told by doctors that due to my health and other issues I would struggle to conceive.
“Being pregnant, yet again, became an excuse to engorge myself into all aspects of junk food and soon enough my BMI was at 47, morbidly obese, making my pregnancy extremely high risk.
“I thought I could eat what I wanted because I was pregnant, and used to eat a whole loaf of bread a day with Nutella on it.
“One of my biggest cravings was chicken nuggets, beans and mayonnaise, and I’d eat that for breakfast.
“Me and my husband would order Domino’s, knock that back and then he’d go to work and I’d eat the rest of it the day after.
“When Ruben was born I had to have an emergency caesarean section because there were numerous complications, probably due to how big I was.
“Reality struck when I couldn’t look after our miracle baby due to my weight and my C-section took months to heal due to my size.
“I struggled to walk up the stairs, I couldn’t change our baby’s nappy and I couldn’t even fit into my car comfortably, or our bath for that matter.
“After years of wishing for a child, I was now selfishly impacting his life through my own bad decisions and horrendous food choices.
“If I couldn’t look after myself, how could I look after him? I didn’t want this life for our child and so I needed to change.”
After getting the motivation to lose weight, not only for herself, but for Ruben, Jessica managed to lose around a stone in the first four months after giving birth. She then joined the Slimming World group in Willington in June 2020.
She has since managed to lose a total of seven stone, slimming down to 9.5st, a healthy weight for a woman of her size at 5ft tall.
Jessica, who has gone from a size 24 to a size 6/8, said: “My motivation just totally changed when Ruben was born because I wasn’t only affecting myself, I was affecting him as well.
“I didn’t want him to grow up and see me as his role model and then he would be overweight too. It is just about having that belief and I’d found that.
“I set a target to lose 6.5st, not just for myself, but for my kid, and this time I needed to do it, not like before when I just wanted to do it.
“The weight loss has been mainly about the food, the way I cook it, the way I shop – pretty much everything I make myself.
“I regularly eat things such as pizzas, curries, Chinese – but made in a healthy way. I am always in the kitchen trying out new things, and loving life at the same time.
“You name the food, I will have probably had it over my journey.
“I’ll still have a packet of crisps if I want some, but just not every day – it is all about having everything in moderation.”
One of the biggest benefits to come as a result of Jessica’s weight loss has been the improvement in her asthma, which has become much less severe and means she can now easily go out for a run.
She also spoke about how her weight loss means she can now comfortably ride her pony SD Mr Swayze for the first time since buying him six years ago.
Jessica, who works as a foster carer and is currently looking after two children as well as young Ruben, said: “I’ve got quite severe asthma which was heavily affected by my weight – a blue inhaler which should last three months, was only lasting two weeks.
“But now I don’t have to take it at all, I’m so much fitter for losing the weight and I’ll go running quite easily.
“I am now able to run 5k regularly – something I have always wished to do, getting stronger and fitter every time.
“Me and my husband bought a pony six years ago, but he never grew big enough for me to comfortably ride him due to the size I was.
“So I never rode him up until now, and to be able to ride my own horse is such a massive thing to celebrate.”
Earlier this year, Jessica and husband Fatinderpal contracted Covid, and while it was a difficult experience for her, she was also relieved she avoided it potentially being much worse thanks to losing the weight.
She added: “Me and my husband had Covid earlier this year, we were thankfully not very poorly, but I fear I could have been had I not lost the weight because it can affect overweight people much more.
“If I was seven stone heavier I would have probably been in intensive care and on a ventilator.”
Jessica has recently become a Slimming World consultant and will be re-launching the group at Stenson Community Centre, taking over from Maria Bullock from Wednesday, September 1.
Reflecting on how much her confidence has grown thanks to her weight loss, Jessica added: “Beforehand, I would walk around with my head down, and I wouldn’t take photos of myself.
“Whereas now I can go out with friends confidently – I’m whipping my camera out, taking photos, and I enjoy seeing them photos afterwards.
“I love myself now, whereas before I hated myself inside and out.”
Don’t miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond – Sign up to our daily newsletter here .