Yes...I can!! The story behind the Smile


**Trigger Warning** - Weight loss, Depression, Suicidal Thoughts, Mental Health

For so many years I felt as though I had a lead weight around me. Constantly feeling that I could never amount to anything more or wasn't worth investing time in. I just didn't feel worthy. I always made excuses for not doing the things I wanted in life like studying, going for a higher paid job, fulfilling my dreams or taking a chance at a new opportunity because I didn't think I was capable, I didn't know that I was capable, I assumed I wasn't. I had no self belief.

I hated the person I had become; emotionally and physically.  Mentally I was dangling by a very thin thread.  I constantly focused on the negative things that I disliked about myself. I just couldn't see the positives.  I felt worthless. Me being the person that I am I tried to put on a brave face and carry on as if everything was fine but I had become so low that tears flowed regularly and happiness only came in small waves.

So many contributing factors weighed me down, my physical health was spiralling out of control and my mental health took the hardest blow. 

I was fed up of being sick, fed up of nothing changing, fed up of coping, fed up of the hand I had been dealt. I wanted more, I needed it, for my own sanity. I longed to be happy again, I wanted to smile. I wanted to be able to walk without my back, legs and chest aching. 

17 year old Kat (size 28) and baby Mya

After doubling my body weight throughout the 9 months of pregnancy at the age of 16 I was left with a body that I had no idea how to deal with. Before pregnancy I was extremely active with no health issues and when my boyfriend at the time left me 7 months pregnant I found it increasingly difficult to come to terms with the bodily changes I was experiencing.   I didn't have the mental capacity at that age to rationalise and not overeat so I binged, I ate more than I needed to and I had no measure of control.  I was unhappy so I ate for comfort. Before pregnancy I was active; a dancer, during pregnancy I stopped exercising. I barely left the house and if I did it was in a cab.   After having my daughter, I sought help from my doctor and we tried many methods of weight loss. I tried weight watchers, diet plans, diet pills, gym, dieticians referrals, slimming world, I even tried more radical measures behind closed doors like fad pills and starvation techniques. None of these things seemed to stick enough for me to lose the amount of weight I desired.

15 year old Kat (Size 12)
My GP gave me an ultimatum, if I didn't lose a considerable amount of weight I was on track to inherit many of my families illnesses, not in later life as I had imagined but imminently. I was petrified. I didn't want to be an unwell young person. He explained that if I did not shift the weight he would refer me for bariatric surgery as a last resort. I didn't want surgery, I had heard so many negative stories about them that even when I read or heard a positive one it was outweighed by all the bad.

Kat age 19 (Size 26)

In a last attempt to get back to my pre baby levels of fitness I joined a theatre group and took up salsa classes and over that 3 year period I lost my biggest chunk of weight. I dropped from a size 28 to a size 24.  Although I had lost some weight, there were other contributing factors that affected my mental health and I was not any happier.  I was not happy at home or at work, I felt like I wasn't being myself with my friends (I didn't know who I was.)

Kat Age 20 - Size 26
My mental state was undeniably low. I wallowed for a long time. Years in fact, just flitting from day to day in this sedentary state, depressed, unhappy, unworthy,  completely unaware that I held the key to change within me if I just new how to release it.

As you probably know, my weight wasn't the only part of me that I had issues with, my dental situation had peaked and gotten to a stage where I was so embarrassed and fed up of being ridiculed and treated differently because of my appearance that I was thinking irrationally about my place in the world. I felt as though I was a hindrance to my daughter, she was seeing an unhealthy woman as her mother and I was afraid of her developing similar characteristics. I felt like constantly being in and out of hospital due to my asthma, DVT, cysts and other medical problems was putting a strain on my family.  Maybe they would be better off if I wasn't here. 

Speaking about those feelings with my other half or anyone was unbearable, no one seemed to understand my rationale instead they shrugged off my comments with a flick of the hand as if they weren't valid feelings at all.

I was too scared to take my own life and I didn't want to burden my family with the pain of me doing so, but I secretly longed for something to happen to me to make things easier for those I cared about, that way it would be out of my hands.  
My Denture Adventure (2014)

In hindsight, I know that these thoughts weren't a solution, they were my way out though...those feelings are what propelled me to taking the first steps to change.  When I actually thought about my life, I felt like I had a purpose and so much more to give but things were holding me back, the biggest thing being my confidence.

When I finally sought advice from my new GP (I had moved areas) she listened to me and my thoughts and decided to take some action, she referred me for a short course of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and referred me to a bariatric team at St Georges hospital to discuss my weight loss options. She understood my concerns with not wanting surgery but felt that I should discuss all my options with the team to see what the alternatives were.  She also wrote a referral letter to Kings College Dental hospital detailing my severe dental phobia explaining that she recommended treatment in hospital to undergo any work under general anaesthetic not just local (so be put to sleep, rather than just injections or sedation.)  I finally felt like someone in the NHS was listening to me.

This gave me something that I had thought I had lost completely....hope!

CBT was hard and painful, talking about my mental health, weight, dental issues, health concerns, relationship/friendships, work issues all at once was overwhelming and I wasn't sure it was helping at all. I stuck at it though, to prove to myself that I could change if I wanted to.  It wasn't the magic cure, nothing ever is, but it did give me some useful tips that I still use to this day.

GP's referrals on the NHS take an age to come around and as fate would have it, something changed which catapulted my dental journey into action.  One of my front teeth broke.  

That was it....the pivotal moment...the catalyst for change.  I was in pain and I had hit the lowest point I could possibly go.  I couldn't face going out with a front tooth broken in half and hanging off.  I had spent the best part of 13 years with my teeth deteriorating at a rapid rate and I had accepted my teeth were a lost cause that I simply didn't have the courage nor the money to fix (I'm not going to go to much into detail with this as I have documented my whole dental story on YouTube - feel free to give it a watch here)

To summarise, having my teeth sorted was the point of change for me.  I had 16 broken roots/teeth removed under general anaesthetic and a temporary denture fitted. Getting my smile back and overcoming my biggest phobia doing so was a huge eye opener for me.  It made me realise that I was way more capable than I actually thought.  It wasn't an instant confidence boost, if you watch my videos you will see that I actually really struggled with the process but it made a huge difference.  Those who knew me "pre-teeth" commented with such positivity which spurred me on.  

If I hadn't had my teeth done, I wouldn't have started this blog, or had the confidence to try out for Ms Curvaceous UK (my first taster of modelling).  I started blogging to help other people who may be in similar situations, to show that they are not alone.  I wanted to share my story in an attempt to inspire at least one person to battle their fears or inner demons if it meant it would improve their quality of life or instil even a smidgen of confidence.

My audition photos for Ms Curvaceous UK (November 2014 Size 24/22)
Over the last year I have worked my arse off at remaining positive and flushing all negativity and toxic thoughts & behaviours from my life.  Instead of me being negative about things, I adapted, using terms like, "I can do it" or "why the hell not" or "what have I got to lose?"  It is hard to remain positive all the time after all we all have down days but I surround myself with strong, inspirational people who are pillars of strength for me.

Conquering my biggest fear made me evaluate my worth and gave me a brighter outlook on life. I have achieved so many things all which have improved both my physical and mental health as a result of a small change.  My smile brought me confidence to try new things, which involved being braver in my outfit choices, taking part in group exercise classes which I previously would've shied away from for fear of ridicule, a more positive outlook & a greater love for my body flaws and all.

My health has improved drastically, I've been cleared of DVT, my asthma is well controlled, I haven't had any reoccurring episodes of previous cysts, my mouth is no longer in pain,  I have been tested for some of the illnesses that my parents suffer with and I do not appear to have indicators at this stage in my life and providing I can continue to care a bit more about this one body I have then I hope I can keep those illnesses away.

Being more active has made me lose not so much weight but inches, I have lost some weight but in the space of a year I have dropped two dress sizes and I am comfortably sitting between an 18/20.  I have learnt that my body is a beautiful and powerful thing and instead of being negative about the things I don't like, I choose to concentrate on the fact that I am happy with it just the way it is right now, if my body changes then so be it.  I'm not going to shed another tear over it. It's my body and I love it just the way it is.  No more fad diets, I love food and I'm bloody going to enjoy it just not binge when I am down and instead of eating rubbish all the time, I'm trying to think about what I am putting in my body and when.  

Various stages of inch loss through fitness classes (all 2015)

I'm not in a huge rush to lose any more weight, I do however want my fitness to improve though. My fitness instructor and good friend Louise and I have set myself a rather big goal for 2016 and I will achieve that goal cos I am powerful and strong, capable, beautiful and I can do anything I set my mind to.

Thank you for listening to me, writing this has been extremely difficult, but quite therapeutic...I don't often share it.  I hope it gives you a little insight into the story behind the smile.
Me & my smile (2015)


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  1. I love that you shared this. You are such a beautiful woman, inside and out. I'm glad I've got to know that bit more about you x

  2. Well done hon. It's hard to write about but cathartic too. Loves x

  3. I share so much of what you have written. Good luck with you new found positivity.

  4. I AM IN LOVE WITH YOU KAT...!!!!!
    After reading this I have never seen a woman as strong as you.
    You inspire me, to do everything that I always wanted to do and I mean It when I say that I am in love with you.
    Keep smiling ����������

  5. So pleased you've shared this, Kat. I can relate to way more of this than you will ever know. Thanks for sharing xxxx

  6. You are simply amazing, thank you for sharing your story xx

  7. Thank you for sharing your story Kat - you are an inspiration to so many of us and now I can understand why! I had no idea of your journey - some of it really resonates with me - so thank you for taking the leap of faith to share with us. Love you xxx

  8. Thanks for sharing your journey. Like yourself I put on alot of weight after pregnancy at 16. I had dental issues too and had to have extensive surgeries to break and remodel both jaws.

    I'm sorry to say I did try and take my life on more than one occasion and for more than one reason.

    I've been looking at a rare pic of me at 17 in between surgeries lately and wondering if I was brave enough to share my story. Seeing how courageous you've been sharing yours makes me think I might be xx

  9. Your're amazing Kat - I'm so glad I met you and I just know you inspire so many xx

  10. As you might recall, I too have gone through the same dental adventure. It was the best and toughest decision I had to make. You are beautiful both inside and out. Keep up the good work because, we, your fans/friends absolutely adore you!

  11. You are so amazing, and thank you so much for sharing your story. It's incredible how far you have come, and I think it's inspiring how you managed to turn such negative feelings into a positive journey. Xx


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