A 24-year-old cancer survivor who felt trapped in the body of an elderly woman has transformed her life during lockdown.
Nicolle Kelly relied on a walking stick to walk to her local shop due to a spinal condition, high grade spondylolisthesis, causing her excruciating pain.
Her fluctuating figure brought on by comfort eating and steroids put further pressure on her spine.
Until one day she decided it was time to give back to the body which continued to defy the odds throughout a harrowing battle with her health.
Nicolle, from Byker, said: “In January 2020 something clicked in my brain and I knew I needed to start giving back to my body after it had been put through so much abuse already.”
(Image: Nicolle Kelly)
At the age of 16, Nicolle was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that affects the lymphatic system throughout the body.
Following months of treatment she managed to beat the disease and, despite being told that she would never be able to carry a child, she give birth to a baby girl in 2016.
But when her daughter Phoebe was two-years-old, Nicolle’s cancer returned and aggressive treatments left her feeling stripped of her identity.
She added: “Losing my hair and my body changing so quickly I felt like I was in a shell of my former self.
“I ended up gaining a lot of weight fast from a combination of comfort eating, fast food when I wasn’t feeling well and aggressive steroids, alongside chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.”
She started to buy oversized clothes in a size 20 to feel comfortable. However slowly her body started to fit perfectly in them.
The mum-of-one said: “I felt constantly anxious and aware of my body and how I might look.
“I dressed in oversized clothing to hide away and even avoided social events or holidays because I had no interest in shopping for a new outfit to go through the motions of not feeling confident enough to wear what I liked.”
When Nicolle beat cancer for a second time in September 2018, she decided to lose weight to live a happier, healthier lifestyle with her daughter.
She cut out her comfort eating habits, which often included sharing packs of doughnuts, crisps and half a whole cheesecake as a way of winding down on an evening.
And she introduced healthier habits such as swapping share-sized chocolate bars for a lower calorie, snack-size options and switching from cooking oils to fry-light spay.
Now Nicolle has lost 4st 1lb, slimming from 16st 7lbs to 12st 6lbs, and is finally starting to feel like like herself again.
The full-time mum said: “I can comfortably go out with my daughter and play with her, which means everything to me.
“I don’t shy away from having my photo taken with her in fear of what I’ll look like and I’m ready to make special memories.”
(Image: Nicolle Kelly)
Nicolle, who has now ditched her size 20 clothes for a size 14, found success after joining her local Slimming World group at Meadowfield Social Club on Chillingham Road, in Heaton.
More than 4000 people follow her inspirational weight loss journey on her Instagram account @sw.nickelly.
And she was awarded ‘Woman of the Year’ at her group this year after being nominated be fellow members.
Nicolle said: “As much as losing weight has definitely give me a lot of my life back and enabled me to be the best version of myself it definitely needs starts within your mindset.
“There is no perfect weight or clothes size – everybody is so different.
“As long as you’re losing weight for the right reasons and in a safe and healthy way to be the happiest, healthiest version of yourself I am happy to encourage and help anyone I can to start their journey of self-love and care.”
Anyone wanting more information on Slimming World can visit their website here.
To find your Slimming World group near you call Lorna Daniels, district manager for Northumberland and Tyne and Wear, on 07384119370 or Sue Thompson, district manager for Wearside and Durham, on 07557028637.