A Scottish mum has told how she was driven to lose almost six stone by documenting her weight loss on social media.
Ashleigh Munn, 24, of Greenock, decided to lose weight for the sake of her daughter, Mya, who inspired her to live a healthier lifestyle.
She had reached 16 stone and was forced to use crutches during the latter stages of pregnancy because her hip and pelvis bones could not longer take her weight.
Ms Munn, an early education and childcare student at West College, found further motivation to lose weight when she was rushed to hospital with stomach pains and doctors discovered a melon-sized cyst on her ovary.
She believes her weight had contributed to the growth of the cyst.
The proud mother decided to lose weight because she couldn’t tell her daughter Mya to live a health lifestyle if she and her father David didn’t.
She said: “I would see mums at playgroups running about but I was too embarrassed and aware of my size, and I’d get out of breath quickly.
“I didn’t want my little girl Mya to grow up with her mum not running around, and eating rubbish. I wanted to be the best role model.
“Now I’ve learnt how to cook, I go to the gym, I do yoga, I can run, and I go walking a lot with Mya and David, and I feel good in myself.”
Ms Munn said her problems began when she used her pregnancy as an excuse to eat junk food.
She had to be on crutches for the last month of her pregnancy due to suffering from symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) – pelvic pain which she described as her hip bones and pelvis rubbing together because of the pressure from her weight.
By the time Mya was born in January 2014, Miss Munn had ballooned to 16 stone and was wearing a size 18.
In November of that year, she was rushed to the The Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley with severe stomach pains.
Doctors found a cyst on her left ovary after an ultrasound scan. She then had to have surgery to remove both the ovary and its attached fallopian tube.
She said: “It was terrifying. I was only 23 and had to have an operation to remove my ovary. I felt I was too young to experience this.
“I was not happy with myself. After my operation I thought, ‘I’m not doing this anymore.’”
In support, her partner David Barclay, 25, joined in the mission and dropped over three stone in six months, from 15st to 11st 7lbs.
In total, the couple have shed almost nine stone in just over a year, with Miss Munn now weighing 10 stone 5lbs.
Ashleigh claims Instagram was one of the contributing factors in her incredible weight loss.
She said: “I followed a fitness guru on Instagram who posts mini video clips teaching others how to cook healthily.
“I started tracking vegetarian recipe accounts, as they always looked so colourful, and soon turned vegetarian.
“David has recently turned vegetarian and he is joining the gym next week.
“Soon, I became obsessed with commenting on people’s amazing meals, asking how they had made them and trying all sorts out, and decided to make Instagram my food diary.”
Now, the family endeavour to always eat healthy meals together, tucking into poached eggs, tomatoes, avocado and courgette spaghetti.
They have replaced beef with quorn and make homemade pizzas with tortilla wraps, making everything from scratch.
Ms Munn added: “I couldn’t have done this without David’s support. We’re so much stronger and fitter now.”
Experts believe that noting down what you eat, like keeping a food diary, can help with weight loss.
The NHS website also recommends those who are obese to monitor their weight loss progress by regularly noting how much they weigh in a diary.