A FORMER nurse has swum her way to an incredible new waistline after losing more than a third of her body weight thanks to her hard work in the pool.
Debbie McKinnon had tried every diet going to lose weight and ended up in hospital, where she was referred for gastric bypass surgery to help move things forward.
But the mum-of-three, who lives with a range of health conditions including high blood pressure, sleep apnoea, back pain and high cholesterol, decided to take matters into her own hands and was so successful she has now lost more than 50 inches in total from her body.
Debbie, 45, who weighed in at just over 21 stone and had a 60 inch waist despite only being 5ft 4in tall, decided to join the Bannatyne health club in Newcraighall and hasn’t looked back since.
She said: “I had isolated myself so much because I was humiliated with my size so just going into the health club was a huge step for me but the staff were so welcoming I felt much more at ease.
“One the first day I could only swim one length but within a fortnight I achieved my first goal of swimming for 30 minutes. The reception staff encouraged me and I found myself looking forward to having a chat.
“I was encouraged to not focus on my weight but how I felt physically and the first thing I noticed was how much better I was sleeping.
“My mindset is ‘it’s only half an hour’. The hardest thing is making yourself go but I deserve to look after myself because I’m worth looking after and this is what Bannatyne’s has taught me – the belief I am worth it and I can do it.”
Now on a medically approved diet of 800 calories a day, Debbie weighs 14 stone and has lost some 50 inches across her body and 22 inches from her waist.
Debbie chose swimming as her exercise of choice after a workplace injury resulted in her hurting her kneecap and being left with only 40 per cent use of her quad muscle.
The injury meant to had to leave her job as a nurse and she now works as a volunteer for Oxfam.
Now Debbie, who lives in Humbie, East Lothian, is swimming every day and recently started a programme in the gym, tailored to her goals and taking into account her disability.
She added: “My life has completely changed, I’m healthier and more confident and it’s all down to joining the health club.
“I’d say to anyone, you have got half an hour to spare to look after yourself, so do it.”
Linzi MacKinnon, sales and marketing manager at Bannatyne Health Club and Spa Newcraighall, said: “Debbie is a true inspiration with her determination and commitment.
“The change in her is absolutely amazing and I am very proud that we have been able to support and help her to achieve her fitness and wellbeing goals but Debbie should be so proud of herself for having the resolve to come into the club and literally transform herself and her life.”