By Rebecca Drew
MEET the nurse who used to have takeaway restaurants on speed dial and has now shed almost eight-and-a-half-stone after saying she felt like a hypocrite when caring for her patients.
As a child, Bailey Ryan (24) from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA remembers being the biggest amongst her school friends and found herself wearing UK size 16 jeans at 12-years-old.
Two years ago, Bailey started working 12-hour night shifts and went through a difficult break up, which saw her pack on the pounds as she would binge eat to try to feel better, while avoiding going out with friends.
Bailey has since swapped fast food and Chinese takeaways for a whole food diet where she avoids processed foods and has dropped from 20st 13lbs to 12st 7lbs.
“I started shutting myself into my apartment on my days off, I avoided friends and had delivery and take out restaurants on speed dial,” said Bailey.
“I was tired from working long hours and upset at my failed relationship and was binge eating to make myself feel better.
“I knew that I was unhealthy but more than anything, I was unhappy. My confidence started to plummet and I was constantly trying to shrink myself so no one noticed me or stay quiet in a room full of people hoping no one would pay attention to me.
“It hurts me now to think of how I felt about myself and how I treated myself before I lost weight.
“I was working at the hospital by this time and to get into work I had to walk two blocks from the parking ramp to the hospital building. I would be out of breath by the time I got there. Then I’d work all night caring for patients that were often there due to lifestyle choices.
“I realised that if I didn’t change something, I’d be headed for a life destined for difficult medical complications too. I also felt like such a hypocrite and a bad example. I didn’t want to be advocating a healthier lifestyle to patients but not living like it myself.”
Now unrecognisable, Bailey started by only changing her diet but now loves kayaking, hiking, rock climbing and has ran a half marathon.
“One time, a nurse I hadn’t seen for a while whilst she was on maternity leave didn’t even recognise me, she thought I was a new employee and asked if I wanted her to show me around the hospital, I had worked with her for three years,” she added.
“Losing weight has changed my life in more ways than I can count. Everything is different. It’s changed my goals, my relationships, my hobbies and my perspective.
“I have better, stronger relationships with my friends and family because I love myself in a way that allows them to love me, I’m a better friend to them because I’m more engaged and present.
“I’m a more appreciative person for the things I have, like the opportunities I’ve been given and my health, because I’ve seen what living was like on both sides.”
Bailey says that the key to success is to start slowly.
“I would tell someone to start slowly, it can be overwhelming to make a lot of huge changes in one day. You’re more likely to give up if you’re taking on too much at once,” she said.
“Also, remember to run your own race. Don’t compare your progress with anyone else’s and don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t do this.
“As long as you’re making an effort, you’ll also be making progress.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/paleobailey