Mum lost 14 stone left with "body of a 90-year-old woman" thanks to 25lb of loose skin - and finds it weird now men give her "attention"
A mum who lost 14 stone says she has the "body of a 90-year-old woman" thanks to 25lb of loose skin - and finds it weird now men give her "attention". Kristina Murphy, 34, weighed 26st 7lb and was a US size 30 at her heaviest after a lifelong struggle with her weight. The mother-of-two said her weight “got out of hand” during the pandemic leaving her unable to tie her shoelaces or walk up the stairs without difficulty. She gained 1st during lockdown and said after it affected “every aspect of her life” she decided in 2020 it was time for a “drastic” change. She started her bariatric journey in January 2021, incorporating diet and exercise changes such as portion control and gym sessions into her lifestyle, before undergoing gastric bypass surgery on April 28th 2021. Now at 12st 7lbs, Kristina is still suffering with body dysmorphia - as the weight loss has left her with an estimated 20-25lb worth of sagging loose skin around her stomach - which she said makes her look like a "90-year old-woman". She has been forced her to buy clothes in a US size 10-12 - two sizes bigger than her new US Size 8, because she has to "pack a massive stomach" in. But her self-confidence has still grown since shifting 14st 4lbs, and says guys offer to buy her drinks and give her attention which she finds "weird". Kristina, a secretary, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US, said: “The skin is a massive problem and was something I worried about before the surgery. “I struggle with finding clothes to fit me properly because I have to pack a massive stomach into clothes. I’m a size eight in jeans but I have to buy a size 10 to 12 to fit the skin, which is frustrating. “I’m dealing with rashes on the skin regardless of how clean I am, in my bellybutton, thighs, armpits. It hurts when I run because it hits against itself and it’s taken a toll on me mentally. “I feel good when I'm dressed, I can see the difference in myself and I feel beautiful, but when I’m by myself and I take my clothes off it crushes me. “I’ve got the body of a 90 year old woman. The skin all wrinkly and saggy and not where it should be. "I haven’t fully got rid of myself - I’m stuck with my old shell of my fat body. I can’t move into the new me when I still have the old me hung around me. “I was always the fat funny friend, and now guys buy me drinks and give me attention which is very weird for me." Previously Kristina was stuck in a cycle of binges, diets, and restriction. She said: “I was your typical chronic dieter. I would try every diet, and restrict myself. “I’ve now been diagnosed with binge eating disorder, but at the time I didn’t know about this. I would go without eating much for a week but I would be craving food and as a result of depriving myself so much I would overindulge in the week. “I would have protein shakes and salad in the week, then on the weekend I would eat a whole pizza by myself and chicken wings or soft drinks. One binge day would turn into four binge weeks. "I would gain 10-15lb from that binge episode.” Before qualifying for the surgery Kristina had to spend three months trying to lose weight through diet and exercise, as well as attending sessions with a nutritionist and psychotherapist to understand her weight difficulties on a deeper level. Kristina said: “My struggle with my weight has been something I’ve dealt with on and off my whole life. “In 2020 during the pandemic everyone was stuck at home and my weight got out of hand. "It took a toll on me physically. It had bothered me mentally but at this point I couldn’t get up steps easily and every aspect of my life was affected. So I decided it was time for me to do a drastic change and I started looking into weight loss surgery. “Now I’m in the phase of dealing with the aftermath and figuring out who I am as a person again after the weight loss.” Through her weight loss journey Kristina said she has been able to reconnect with herself, and develop a new sense of self-worth. She said: “I‘m becoming who I always was on the inside, digging her out from under my weight which was burying who I’ve always been. The person who I haven’t been able to explore. It’s like the weight has muddled me. “It’s been a journey to try and explore that to find myself and my light again, from little things like figuring out how to dress the new body to big things, like how do I have a healthy new relationship with food again?" Kristina’s relationship with children Kamrem, eight, and Isaiah, 10, has been a “big motivator” to improve her health. She said: “They are a big motivator because I want them to grow up and have a healthy relationship with food. “They never asked me to lose weight, but it killed me that I couldn’t run around with them because my knees hurt . Seeing what I couldn’t do with them is what bothered me. “Now it feels amazing that I can go to the park and swing with them and be in those moments with them rather than watching those moments and creating those memories.” Working with a nutritionist and psychologist as part of the bariatric team, Kristina has adopted a new diet and approach to food. She manages portion control with small plates, uses scales to weigh her food, and balances her meals with vegetables making half, protein at least one third, and the rest carbohydrates. Chewing her food slowly and giving her brain time to register she is full has also helped Kristina to achieve moderation with her diet. She no longer severely restricts her food and still eats carbs and small treats, because her nutritionist explained the restriction triggers binge episodes. She said: “It’s helped me see my triggers and how much of an emotional eater I am, has forced me to find healthier outlets in times of darkness and stress - reworking my brain. “Instead of bingeing I now go to the gym three to four times a week or spend time with my kids playing in the park, trying a new restaurant. I also like drawing, pursuing creative outlets, photography, and astrophotography. “In America everything revolves around the food, holidays, birthdays, celebrations. For me I had to learn life differently - we go out to eat now but I’m there for the company and conversation not the food. She is advised to undergo full body lift which will cost $50-55k but Kristina only has the insurance to cover her breasts and lower stomach and is now looking into other ways to fund it. Kristina said: “It feels like the last hurdle to transform into who I want to be. I’ve lost an entire person, but I struggle with body dysmorphia when I look down and still feel like the old me. “I’m just trying make fun of some of the darkness we’re going through. I’ve lost the weight but not my sense of humour.”