Before and After: Woman shares new passport photos after amazing 11st transformation
A woman who weighed more than 21st (133kg) looks totally unrecognisable in new passport photographs taken after she shifted almost half of her body weight.
Mary Catherine Murphy (45) from Wexford, battled with obesity since childhood but shed more than 11st (69kg) after discovering a passion for running.
The social care worker recently renewed her passport ahead of a trip to Liverpool where she is planning to run a marathon and said the difference between the images makes her proud of how far she's come.
"When I look back at photos now I can see just how big I was but I didn't see it as much back then. It's great to look at something like the passport photos because it really shows the difference.
"I'm going over to Liverpool in May to do the Rock'n'Roll marathon so that will be good fun."
This will be the third marathon for Mary Catherine, who says she knew she had to tackle her health when she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in her thirties.
"I'm not sure how heavy I was, my scales only went as far as 20st but I was definitely more than that, at least 21st. When my doctor told me I had diabetes I wasn’t initially that worried, but the more I began to read up on it I began to realise the implications it could have. My family would have a history of diabetes type 1, and I knew the impact it had on their lives," she said.
Mary Catherine revealed that her diet in the past was unmonitored and she had a soft spot for takeaways.
"Before I lost weight I would have been a big picker and had such a weakness for takeaways. I would have spurts of trying to eat healthier and I’d lose two stone only to put it back on and then some."
It wasn’t until a colleague expressed an interest in Spar’s Great Ireland Run (10km) that Mary Catherine was spurred into making the changes she wanted to make to her life.
"A girl at work told us one day she was keen to run the Great Ireland Run and I just thought I’d love to do that. Another friend and I decided to set a goal and walk it together.
"At the same time I joined a pilot scheme of a new online food diary called Why Weight Ireland, which really allowed me to keep an eye on what I was actually eating.
"Once I had walked The Great Irish Run, I decided that it would be a goal to run it. I thought ‘Why Not?’. I started making an effort to run, even from pole to pole, and walk in between and I gradually built up my endurance.
"I’d be out of breath so quickly at the beginning but I gradually built it up. I've run the last two Dublin marathons," she said.
To help support others who are struggling with weight, Mary Catherine established a Facebook Group, which keeps track of her progress.
"I began the page because I wanted to help other people who may be like I was and to give them a bit of inspiration. I never thought I would run a marathon, but the sky is really the limit.
"When you’re overweight you’re not happy. For me it was a front I put on all the time," she said.