'Life is great now' - mirror shame sparked Whitburn mum Nikita's 17 stone weight loss
A woman who felt so ashamed of her body has lost 17 stone after she binned - all the mirrors in her house.
Nikita Orr, 23, tipped the scales at 26st and 4.5lb after years of eating four Chinese takeaways a week, her "go-to" dinner, and snacking on crisps and chocolate.
She piled on the pounds after struggling with postnatal depression following the birth of her first daughter when she was just 15.
Devoted mum Nikita could barely walk due to her size 24 frame which left her in "constant agony" and was embarrassed to take her kids to school.
But she vowed to change her ways when she suffered a heart attack while playing with her daughters - and realised she might not be around to watch them grow up.
She ditched the junk food and started working out and the pounds dropped off until she was able to have a £10k weight loss op.
Now weighing a healthy 9st, she's proud to sneak a look at her svelte size 10 bod in mirrors she now has all around her home.
Newly engaged, she's finally able to run around after daughters Kayden, seven, and Ava, four, with ease.
Nikita, from Whitburn, West Lothian, Scotland, said: "I thought the only person that had always been there for me was food. I could rely on food before I could rely on people.
"I could barely walk, my legs and thighs would be rubbing together and I was in constant agony because of the excess skin.
"It was horrible.
"My most embarrassing memory is from when we were at the soft play.
"I got stuck in between two rolling cylinders and I had to get one of the managers to come and get me out.
"Now I'm the first one on the bouncy castles - there's no stopping me now!"
Nikita used to eat four slices of toast for breakfast, two pot noodles and a packet of crisps for lunch and three or four helpings of takeaway at dinner.
She said: "My main trigger for gaining weight was that food was my comfort, and when I was down I would eat and eat and eat just to try and find some sort of comfort.
"I battled with postnatal depression and trying to learn how to be a mum at a young age."My weight prevented me from living a normal life.
"I couldn't buy clothes from shops like Primark or River Island.
"I couldn't run about after my children, I could barely manage to get up the stairs in my house without gasping for breath.
"It took a lot for me to go out because I had such low self esteem.
"My dad was coming up to take the kids to school and nursery, and I would just do online shopping.
"I used to love cooking but then I'd just want a takeaway, so then it was affecting my kids too."
Nikita said former partners added to her insecurities by making cruel and untrue remarks.
She said: "I was always told that I wasn't good enough and that I wasn't good enough for anyone else.
"I tortured myself by taking all the mirrors down and eating as much as I could to try and make myself feel better."
The support worker said she even received negativity from her friends and family about her weight.
"They could see I was eating myself into an early grave," said Nikita, who was at her heaviest - 26st and 4.5lb - in January 2019.
It wasn't until she suffered a heart attack when playing with her children in December 2019, that she fully committed.
The mum-of-two said: "I was running about with kids at night and I just started getting pains in my chest, but I was prone at that time to getting blood clots so I never thought it could've been a heart attack."
After phoning NHS24, she took herself to St John's Hospital, Livingston where she stayed for two days, and was told she'd had a heart attack due to her weight.
A doctor told her if she didn't lose weight, she would be dead within the year.
"I was scared that I wouldn't be around for my two beautiful girls growing up, and that if I didn't start making the changes I would never find true happiness within myself or with another person," she said.
"This gave me the kick up the arse to do what I needed to do!"
She lost around 6st before she had a sleeve gastrectomy, where a portion of the stomach is stapled off and then the excess removed, in March 2020.
The £10,000 surgery saw Nikita lose four stone in two months, and she booked a liposuction and tummy tuck surgery for November 17 2020 to speed things up.
She changed her diet completely; now eating a yoghurt for breakfast, cheese and crackers for lunch and a small home-cooked dinner, with no snacks in-between.
It took a year from her heart attack to reach her current weight - a healthy 9st.
She said: "Life is great now.
"I am the fittest that I have ever been, I can shop in ordinary clothes stores, and I have learned to love myself and be the best mum that I can be to my two beautiful girls."
Transitioning to lighter life wasn't straightforward for Nikita, as even after her surgery she still wore her plus sized clothes.
She said: "I was still wearing a size 18, but when my fiancée took me to try on some new clothes I found out I was down to a size 14, so we actually had to donate most of my wardrobe.
"Now that I've lost weight it has given me a chance to have a life again."
Nikita met her fiancée Tony Clarke, 25, online just after the first lockdown in March, and they got engaged just five months later.
The happy bride-to-be said: "I have found my missing piece and have an amazing fiancé who I adore and who has been my rock throughout my full journey."
Nikita had returned to her mother a mirror she'd been given as a gift - but took it back at Christmas.
She said: "I have a good few mirrors in my house that I can sneak quick looks at myself in, and I am now in the process of starting up my own support brand for people who are considering weight loss surgery and support them through it."