A bridesmaid who struggled seeing herself in photos from the big day dropped 11 stone after deciding enough was enough.
Natalia Georgis, from Hayes, London, weighed 21st 4lb when she put on a bridesmaid dress in May 2019, the largest size the shop had, which had also been altered to fit her.
Seeing the pictures had a “huge effect” on her confidence, she said, and how she had felt in the dress prevented her from enjoying the experience as much as she would have liked to.
“It was from that moment that I knew I wanted to make a change and start to lose some of the weight,” Natalia said.
She began researching options to start her weight loss journey and decided to fork out £10,000 – with the help of her family – to undergo a gastric sleeve fitting later that year in a bid to shrink her frame.
“Two weeks prior to the fitting, I had to only drink milk and was allowed one stock cube a day to keep my levels up,” she said.
And after the fitting, she was only able to eat soups and soft foods.
Natalia, who now weighs 9st 7lbs and is a size 8, was also told that the gastric sleeve would only help her lose part of her weight – the majority of her results would come from her own hard work.
“For two months I was not able to do any form of exercise after the fitting which was incredibly frustrating,” she recalled.
“Once the two month mark had cleared, I was in the gym four times a week working hard on my cardio, and when the lockdown came about, I would do home workouts.
“Even when I was not feeling up to going, I would push myself because I would be reminded of what I was working for.”
Natalia was also motivated by the positive comments of friends and family around her on her journey.
She said: “There was nothing more encouraging than somebody saying that I looked really good lately and asking if I had lost weight. The confidence boost it gave me, combined with the results of my hard work at the gym showing on the scales was incredible.”
Natalia also changed her diet entirely in order to work with her new active lifestyle.
She said one of the best things about her journey was discovering how much she enjoyed cooking.
“Whereas before I would jump for an early option like a takeaway Chinese or a curry, I am now buying all of my ingredients fresh and cooking at home.
“I still eat three meals a day, but I am now far more conscious of healthier options and alternatives to what I was eating before.”
It has also had an incredibly positive affect on her mental health, as her concern about being judged for weight was gone.
“Now, I can hold a conversation with anyone and go out feeling like my confidence has never been higher,” she said.
As a result of her incredible weight loss, Natalia was left with loose skin, which she has been treated for at Highgate Private Hospital in London.
She added: “I have to have three rounds of surgery costing a total of £26,000 in order to remove the excess skin and have currently had two so far.”
The initial surgery was “quite traumatic”, she said, especially as she had to go back into surgery after her first procedure in order to correct an internal bleed.
“The second surgery was in September and was totally different, and I was up and walking around almost immediately afterwards which was brilliant.”
Her third and final surgery is approaching in December.
Natalia had managed to stay grounded despite receiving a lot of interest from men since her body transformation.
“I have had a lot of messages but in all honesty, I am in a great place right now and am happy,” she laughed.
Natalia began sharing her journey online on TikTok, where she has an amazing 17.5k followers, videos with over 70k likes, and receives messages from lots of people asking for advice.
“Before long, I was getting people reaching out and asking for tips and calling me an inspiration which was a real shock,” she said.
“I was just trying to be as honest as possible and send recipes and tips which worked for me to anyone who asked for my advice.”
Natalia’s diet before her lifestyle change:
Breakfast: Full English Breakfast
Lunch: Easy Drive Thru food like McDonalds and KFC
Dinner: Chinese / Indian takeaway
Natalia’s diet after her lifestyle change:
Breakfast: Mushrooms, tomatoes and bacon medallions
Lunch: Salad with homemade seasoned chicken or salmon with broccoli and sweetcorn.
Dinner: Freshly cooked stir fry’s and homemade curries.