Before and After: What do these ten Irish people look like after shifting stones?
Published 21/12/2015 | 15:35
After weeks of drinking, eating and being merry, many of us are feeling more than a little bit overindulgent as Christmas draws to a close.
Throughout 2015, Independent.ie has shared dozens of inspirational stories of Irish people who have transformed their bodies and made a change for the better.
Between them, our biggest losers of the year have lost in excess of 70 stones and are fantastic fitspiration ahead of the New Year.
Marie Bohan (45)
Total weight loss: 10 Stone
Wexford baker Marie Bohan (45) battled with her weight for her entire life and felt that her size contributed to depression as she felt she was trapped in a “vicious cycle”.
The mum of one admitted that people are often astonished that she managed to shift more than half her body weight while working with cakes every day.
“I work in a bakery called Sugar and Spice in Bunclody and I make and decorate the cakes. People always say to me ‘How did you lose it when you’re working in a bakery?’
Marie revealed that the best part of her weight loss has been the impact it’s had on her family; her husband Jim and her son Darragh (11).
“Last year, my son Darragh came up to me and hugged me. He said: ‘Mum, my arms can go all the way around you now and meet’. I didn’t realise that I had been so big before that my child could not even hug me. It was such an emotional moment,” she said.
Jade Delaney (21)
Weight loss: More than 8 stone
Dublin woman Jade Delaney (21) lost more than eight stone in just over a year thanks to a fitness overhaul inspired by her job as a cleaner in a gym.
Jade, whose friends used to call her “Chicken Ball” and weighed more than 20 stone was inspired to begin TRX classes upon taking up her new job in Fairview’s Fit Studios.
“When I was starting the classes I had no training clothes I didn’t have a pair of training runners or nothing and I didn’t know what to wear.
“I was just so nervous but my trainer helped me.
“I was in a state of mind and I was surrounded by fit people in the gym all the time. It was the time to do it,” she said.
The 21-year-old is now studying to become a personal trainer herself after shedding more than 112lbs.
Kim Callaghan (39)
Weight loss: 10 stone
To keep on top of her weight loss mum-of-two Kim Callaghan resolved to get a tattoo for every stone she lost and now she has completed four mini-marathons.
Kim says she was dreading her first weight-loss class, but decided she had to take it.
Days earlier she had not been able to keep up as her children Owen and Shannon - then aged 10 and nine - ran down the main street of her home town of Ardee, Co Louth.
"By the time I had done 1km I was out of breath. I wasn't fit enough to walk and the children didn't know what was going on and why I wasn't able to keep up with them," says Kim.
"The Christmas before I had struggled to get clothes to fit me in a shop for the larger lady. Back then I was a size 26 on the bottom and a size 28 on top."
Kim always loved butterflies and decided to reward herself with a special tattoo for each stone she lost.
Anthony Beakhurst (40)
Weight Loss: 5 stone
Clondalkin bus driver Anthony Beakhurst has shifted more than five stone after he was motivated by a weight loss advertisement pictured on a vehicle in front of him.
“I was driving a bus and a Motivation Weight Management ad appeared on the business in front of me – I took it as a sign,” said Anthony.
The bus driver revealed that he had a particularly difficult time in school which contributed to his weight gain from an early age.
“I’d always felt I was different and struggled to fit in. Like many children, I suffered bullying at school and was often told I was gay. I struggled greatly, never really excelled in one particular area,” he said.
“I also struggled to maintain a relationship for long. I usually drove away potential partners with my own insecurities and lack of trust for other people,” said Anthony.
“I love the guy in the mirror and my wife and kids love the new me. Your emotions rise from the pit of our stomach and I was constantly feeding this part of me instead of looking for help,” he said.
Carol Ann Curley (48)
Weight loss: 13 stone
Carol Ann Curley (48) dropped from dress size 36 to size 10 to 12 by sticking to a healthy diet and weight-loss regime.
She was motivated to change her life because she did not want her children to lose their parents at a young age.
"I was only 21 when my mum died," said Carol Ann. "She was 46 and had high cholesterol and suffered a heart attack. I didn't want that to happen to me."
At her heaviest, Carol Ann was afraid she would die in her sleep and not get to see her sons Gavin (28), Andrew (26), Craig (19) and James (14) grow up.
"I would have tears in my eyes and be praying that I would wake up in the morning," she said.
Colm Ryan (33)
Weight loss: 6 stone
Postman Colm Ryan who would eat half a pan of bread while preparing dinner, has changed the way he eats and has shed more than six stone.
Colm Ryan revealed his son was his main motivation for shifting the pounds.
“I did not want to become a burden to Sean in a few years time because of my weight,” he explained.
“I am no use to him if I end up in a wheelchair at the age of 40 or 50. He was one of the main drivers of me losing weight. I realised how important a role I am in his life and I don’t want to be a burden to him.”
Sean credited Slimming World for his impressive transformation and revealed his attitude to food has completely changed.
“There were six or seven months where everything was processed. Cooking is now the main event in our home and I do a lot of it.”
Ciara Connelly (28)
Weight loss: 6 stone
Three years ago Ciara Connelly made the decision to take control of her life and her health, through healthy eating, exercise and determination.
"I have been twice the size of a normal person for pretty much as long as I can remember," Ciara explains.
"As a kid, I just ate and ate. I think it has a lot to do with how I grew up. My parents separated finally when I was about 10. I think that is how I coped with it. I just ate a lot of bad stuff.
"It never really dawned on me what I was doing and how I used food as a coping mechanism," Ciara said.
"I was smoking 20 fags a day, I was partying as much as I could and I was just mad into the party lifestyle," she said.
Ciara started by giving up smoking and a couple of months later she stopped drinking alcohol. Her food addiction was next on her list.
At her heaviest Ciara weighed in at approximately 19 stone 4lbs. She is now 13 stone 8lbs.
"It's all about learning to be confident in who you are. I am realising that as I build physical strength in the gym, emotional strength is coming with that."
Keith Devlin (28)
Weight loss: More than 6 stone
Luas driver Keith Devlin credits hypnosis for helping his shift more than six stone
“At my worst I was 20 stone and 5lbs,” said Keith.
“I got up on the scales one morning and the dial went above 19 stone and back to zero. I knew then I had to do something.
Keith sought the help of hypnotist Jason O’Callaghan who helped transform his attitude to food in three sessions.
“I was so sceptical. When I got there I sat on a long couch, one that you’d imagine in a counsellor’s office,” he said.
“But to this day, if I overindulge or eat a huge portion of curry, that comes to mind and I’m not sure if that pain is in my head or if it’s real, but it is there,” said Keith.
Weight loss: More than 7 stone
Amy O’Riordan was inspired to lose weight after her husband was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in 2011.
“I watched my amazing husband make it onto the dreaded critical list in November 2011 and then slowly regain his strength in the months that followed,” she said.
“Since then he has gone from strength to strength and is now the picture of health - health being the key word.”
Throughout Andrew’s recovery Amy gained more than three stone and was inspired to rejoin Weight Watchers in order to feel as though she was living each day to its optimum.
“I wanted to feel like I was living each day with my miracle husband to the fullest and not looking back with regrets.
“Since my rejoin, I have lost a further 77 pounds bringing my weight loss to 103 pounds in total. I set myself small, achievable goals and focused on 'non-scale victories' just as much as the numbers on the scales.”
Brendan Walsh (36)
Weight loss: More than 9 stone
A cruel comment from a stranger was the final straw for Irish writer Brendan Walsh who was inspired to lose almost ten stone after he was harassed while on Valentine’s date.
“Myself and my partner at the time were out for a romantic dinner on Valentine’s Day,” said Brendan, who is from Stoneybatter in Dublin.
“I was walking back from the bar to the table in the restaurant where we were eating and a group at one table began to call me names.
“Names I used to hear in school all those years ago. One of them stood up and began to mimic me. Arms out, blown out cheeks, swaying from side to side as they walked. All his friends were laughing.
“I pretended I didn’t notice them and continued walking back to our table. My partner seeing I was a little shaken and upset asked what was wrong and I brushed it off but it did affect me. It made me feel completely and utterly worthless,” he said.
The writer credits Weight Watchers for transforming his attitude to food and revealed that he now feels ill when he thinks of his old ways.
“I spent so many years abusing my body with food, alcohol and cigarettes and now I feel queasy when I think of what I used to eat.
“I am 35, but I feel like my twenties only began two years ago. I’m finally enjoying life.”