A lot of weight loss stories involve the Atkins, Paleo or Cambridge diet. But one woman, who dropped 10 stone after being inspired by her healthy and active sister, went for a much simpler option: she went vegetarian.
Kate Lappin, 32, of Warrington, was overweight and targeted by bullies during her schooldays while her younger sister Kim was popular.
After Kim launched a career as a glamour model, Kate, a carer, decided to take control of her life and ditched extra-large portions of comfort food which saw her shrink down from size 22 to the size 8 she is today.
She said: “I detested being the larger sister. I have a clear memory of mum and dad taking me to Euro Disney when we were kids. We had matching Minnie Mouse outfits on and mine was so much bigger than hers. It was very upsetting.
“I hated myself for a long time, and struggled with so many issues to do with food, that I wasn’t ready to make lasting change for a long time.”
Kate, who is several years older than Kim, saw her body develop differently through adolescence and she became increasingly shy.
She said: “Kim was always active. She was more outgoing. I didn’t like joining in, doing things with other children. I preferred staying home, keeping myself to myself. When Kim went off to parties, I hid under the dinner table because I didn’t want to go.
“I developed so many issues over eating and food. As my size grew, I started to experience bullying in school. When I was 15 I was walking along the street when a car full of lads pulled over and they all called me fat.
“Later I tried to go to the theatre with a boyfriend and I couldn’t fit into the tiny seats. All I could do was fake a panic attack and rush out of the audience, absolutely mortified.
“Kim, who was the most popular girl in school, was very protective of me when she saw I was upset. She would pin the bullies down and get them to apologise. She’s still very caring towards me, even today.”
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In early 2010, the sisters’ stepfather, Dave Easton, passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack.
Kate said: “My stepdad’s death hit me incredibly hard. He had been very supportive of me. I was completely devastated. I hardly left my house for a year, being completely inactive and giving in to my food cravings. My weight just went up and up.”
By the end of 2010, Kate weighed 20st 1lb and was wearing size 22 clothes. In contrast, Kim was in the early stages of what is today a successful career in modelling, seeing her photographs printed in magazines and making appearances at live events.
Kate said: “I knew that if my stepdad was looking down he would be upset to see me in the state I was. I decided to make huge changes. I realised that if Kim could do it, there was nothing to stop me getting back to a good state of health.”
Kate drew up her own vegetarian diet plan which moved her daily diet away from stodgy comfort food towards lighter options with a focus on vegetables. In just over a month she lost a remarkable three stone.
Before beginning her weight loss journey, Kate typically ate four rounds of butter and jam for breakfast, followed by an extra-large portion of spaghetti bolognese for lunch, and an Indian or Chinese takeaway or pizza with extra cheese for evening meal. She would snack on crisps, particularly Pringles, throughout the day.
Today, Kate eats a banana for breakfast, followed by a Quorn ham salad sandwich on lighter-calorie bread for lunch, followed by Quorn chicken fillets with vegetables for her evening meal. She tried to avoid snacking, but when she does, she eats fruit.
She is now at 9st 7lb and can fit into size 8 clothing - having lost 10st 6lb and shrunk seven dress sizes.
She said: “Kim’s amazingly supportive. All throughout my weight loss she’s been willing me on, and giving me tips about new clothes to buy for my wardrobe. She’s over the moon - except when I keep borrowing her clothes without telling her.
“I now go to the gym regularly and love long bike rides. My life has been completely transformed.”
Kim said: “Kate used to ask me why she couldn’t be beautiful like me, which broke my heart as to me, she always was.
“When I started modelling I was very cautious of putting it right under her nose as I didn’t want to upset her, but Kate was really supportive and if anything it helped to inspire her to lose the weight.
“I’m so proud of her. I’ve been thrilled when I’ve been able to share dresses with her. I’m over the moon.”