By Kim Reader
An obese mum who ditched her Dr Pepper addiction to shed 12st sometimes wishes she ‘was still fat’ as she has been left with 2st of saggy skin that ‘makes her look 80’.
Mum-of-eight Nicky Codrai, 42, ballooned to a whopping 25st 3lbs after developing an extreme Dr Pepper addiction in her 20s that saw her guzzle 20 cans of the sugary drink every day.
But after watching a scene in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape where a family are forced to burn their dead mother in their home as she is too big to move, horrified Nicky decided enough was enough.
Instead of dieting or going to the gym, gran-of-eight Nicky simply ditched her Dr Pepper addiction and the weight started to drop off.
Three years after going cold turkey, 5ft 8ins Nicky is now 13st 5lbs and her new svelte figure means the full-time mum has been able to swap her ‘frumpy’ size 30 clothes for a healthy size 10-12.
While she is incredibly proud of her amazing transformation, Nicky’s dramatic weight loss has left her with layers of excess skin that ‘slap around’ when she moves causing pain and infections.
The loose skin, which Nicky believes weighs 2st alone, has left the mum crippled with insecurity and sometimes she even wishes she ‘was still fat’ when she sees herself in the mirror.
Nicky, of Rotherham, South Yorks, said: “I was really slim until I was about 20 and then I just got hooked on Dr Pepper.
“I was drinking it like there was no tomorrow, I was so addicted I would drink 20 cans a day and just eat one meal.
“Before I knew it I was over 25st. I didn’t realise what was happening until it was too late. Nobody ever said to me ‘wow, Nick, you’ve got massive’ so I just assumed I was okay.
“But I was huge. I could only wear frumpy clothes, I was struggling to get around and with my breathing. My doctor told me if I didn’t lose weight I’d be dead.
“That should have been enough motivation but it wasn’t until I watched the house burning scene in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and I realised I just couldn’t do that to my kids or my husband.
“I woke up the next morning and instead of having a can of Dr Pepper, I threw them all in the bin. I went cold turkey. The first few weeks I was really moody and grumpy but the weight started to drop off.
“Now I’ve lost all this weight and I am so proud of myself. With my clothes on I feel like a million bucks and losing weight is the best thing I’ve ever done – then I see myself in the mirror without my clothes on and it’s the worst.
“When I look at myself and see all the loose skin I wish I was still fat. I look like an 80-year-old.
“I’m so insecure about it, I won’t even let my husband see me get undressed. He tells me I look gorgeous but to me I don’t.
“Where the skin hangs it has started to go brown because it is dead and I get infections which leave scars. When I move it slaps around and it is so painful. I have to wear a bodysuit like a wrestler to hold it in place.
“All the saggy skin requires a lot of care. Sometimes I have to bathe six times a day and then I have to put on cream and talc.
“I can’t get the surgery to have the skin removed on the NHS so I’m saving up. I tell everyone who asks me about losing weight not to do it unless they can afford the surgery.
“Getting rid of this skin would mean the absolute world. I want to be able to look at myself and feel happy and confident. I just want to be normal.”
For almost two decades Nicky lived off one evening meal and 6.8litres of Dr Pepper, swigging 2,740 calories – almost double the recommended intake for a woman.
The gran, who has four sons and four adopted daughters with her husband-of-25-years Jason Codrai, started to struggle to find clothes that fit her bulky frame and was forced to buy 48DD bras and attach three band extenders.
Nicky’s bulging waistline affected her confidence and the mum felt embarrassed at the park or fairground with her kids as she was too big for the rides and too unfit to run around.
And carrying around the extra pounds meant Nicky was left exhausted by simple household chores but after scrapping her soft drink obsession, the mum has been given a new lease of life.
As well as going cold turkey on her fizzy drink addiction in 2014, Nicky tried different fad diets but found that none of them worked.
Instead in 2015, determined Nicky decided to do things her way eating whatever meals she wanted but on a children’s plate and turning chores like vacuuming and doing the dishes into fat-busting workouts.
Nicky, who can now slip into whatever clothes she wants to, said she would not have been able to do it without the encouragement of Jason, 47, her kids and her doctor.
Now the only thing holding back the glam gran is the saggy skin weighing down her new trim figure but Nicky hopes that by saving up she will eventually be able to afford a full body tuck.
Nicky said: “I did every diet you can imagine and none of it was helping. The doctors offered me a gastric band but Jason had done some research and he begged me to try to do it on my own.
“So I decided if I was going to do it, I was doing it my way. I cut out the fizzy drink and I went out and bought a small kids’ size plate and started eating everything off that but I eat whatever I want.
“I never went on a diet. I still have takeaways, I still eat out but that plate goes everywhere with me so I’m having smaller portions – little and often.
“I also never went to the gym. They suggest all these exercises and when you’re big they just make you feel bad because your body doesn’t bend that way.
“Instead I turned my daily chores into exercise and just really had fun with it. I dance around and shake my bum while I’m vacuuming, if I go to the loo I bend down and touch my toes ten times first.
“When I go to the supermarket, I don’t dawdle around like other mums, I try to get
round as fast as possible. It’s all about just having fun and getting moving.
“Before I always felt like I’d done loads and I was exhausted at the end of every day but I’d done a lot of nothing, it was just my weight tiring me out.
“I was depressed and I didn’t like leaving the house because I only had three outfits that fit. I would get embarrassed when I went out with the kids because I was too fat for rides and couldn’t run around.
“Now I’ve got so much energy, I charge around doing all the housework and dance about and then I’ve still got the energy to play with the grandkids.
“People make excuses and say they don’t have time to exercise but I want to show every big woman out there that they do have time and they can enjoy getting fit.
“I couldn’t have done it without my family. The kids keep me on track every time they think I’m slacking and Jason has been amazing. He’s stuck by me every step of the way.
“I go for weigh-ins at my GP surgery and everyone there tells me how gorgeous I look. It’s things like that that keep you going.
“Now I just need to get all this skin removed. I don’t want to hide my body from my husband, I want to wear shorts. The skin is the only thing holding me back.
“I am so happy knowing how much healthier I am and that I will be around longer for my family and getting my surgery would be the perfect reward for all the hard work.”
NICKY’S DAILY DIET BEFORE:
DINNER: Roast chicken and chips (1,031 calories)
DRINKS: 20 cans of Dr Pepper (2,740 calories)
TOTAL CALORIES: 3,771
NICKY’S DAILY DIET NOW:
BREAKFAST: A bowl of porridge (171 calories)
SNACK: Three apples (285 calories)
LUNCH: A sausage roll (327 calories)
DINNER: Half portion of chicken chow mein (257 calories)
SNACK: A banana (121 calories)
DRINKS: Water (0 calories)
TOTAL CALORIES: 1,161 calories