‘Emotional eater’ ditched the takeaways and lost 7.5 stone in lockdown


A self-confessed ’emotional eater’ switched her McDonald’s lunches for chicken salads and her work commutes for workouts in a bid to do something positive in lockdown.

Danielle Gough, of Stapleford, started her weight loss journey at 19 stone nine pounds and wearing a size 22.

Over the past eight months, from the first lockdown, she has lost seven and a half stone and now comfortably wears a size 12 – and she has done it all from the comfort of her kitchen.

She said the decision to get healthy came from a combination of factors, starting with a blood test that showed her cholesterol was “really high”.

A doctor also informed the 26 year old her body was showing signs of insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes.

The customer success manager for Medichecks also explained how she wanted to reduce the symptoms caused by having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition which affects how the ovaries work, which she was diagnosed with at age 14.

She said: “I hadn’t had a good couple of years, and I am an emotional eater – either if I am happy or sad.

“My doctors have always said losing weight would also help improve the symptoms of PCOS which can be really horrible.

“But I just felt I didn’t have the time or the motivation.”

When the pandemic struck Danielle saw an opportunity to use the extra time positively.

She said: “I’m usually quite social, I like to eat out a lot and drink, but we couldn’t do that with the lockdown.

“I was just getting lazy and I sat and told my mum I really wanted to make a change, not just physically but mentally.

“I used the time I would be commuting to exercise, and even my lunch breaks.

“People have said they don’t even recognise me now.”

Left, Danielle at her heaviest. Right, Danielle now enjoys running most days.

Starting out with seven-minute Youtube workouts in her kitchen every day, Danielle worked her way up to hour long sessions, now running 5km on her lunch breaks and 10km on the weekends.

“Within the first two weeks, I lost nearly a stone just from these short workouts and healthy eating,” Danielle said.

“I built up my stamina and by four months I was doing 60 minute workouts and I love going for my runs now.”

Danielle’s diet changed dramatically, too, from quick fixes and takeaways to more home-cooked, portion-controlled meals.

She added: “I used to eat out all the time. I’d have McDonald’s three or four times a week and then my home meals were a lot of bread and pasta, and a lot of snacking.

“I don’t think takeaways are bad and I don’t think I’ll ever get away from that, but there is a way to enjoy them in moderation.”

A typical breakfast for Danielle before her journey started was four slices of toast topped with butter and jam. But now she enjoys a hearty bowl of porridge with fruit or sometimes yogurt.

Lunches and dinners are less carbohydrate heavy and include more eggs, chicken, rice and fish rather than Subway sandwiches, with a side of crisps and chocolate.

“I’d sometimes have two packets of crisps, or two bars of chocolate, like I was eating two lunches. But I was just never full,” she said.

“I feel more satisfied now and having more time to cook has helped me enjoy it.

“I still have a burger sometimes, I just make healthy changes.”

Danielle said the only motivation she needed was herself.

Danielle says she allows herself a rest day from exercise and a day with no food restrictions which has kept her motivated.

For the run up to Christmas, she’s having a whole week off to indulge and enjoy the festive period with no guilt.

“I’ve had cheese and chocolate already but I have worked really hard, and I wanted to have a break,” she said.

“In January I’ll be back on it and plan to get a personal trainer to start building more tone.”

Looking back on her transformation and how she has managed to keep going during a tough year, Danielle said her only motivation was ‘herself’.

“I never compare myself to pictures of other people on Instagram, I use my own pictures to see the difference and write how I feel and what I’ve noticed,” she added.

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“It’s not just the weight, my skin is better and I sleep well.

“I look at those first pictures of myself and I don’t even know who that girl is – she was sad.

“This has really benefited my mental health, too, which is the most important thing and I’m so glad I did it.

“I didn’t tell many people but my three closest friends and my mum who all were so supportive and kept me going – I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Danielle smashed her target of reached 12.5 stone by Christmas (she is around 12 stone two pounds), but plans to lose two more stone through weight training.

Her mum, Nichola Gough, 48, shared her pride in Danielle’s success.

The head chef said: “Danielle has always been an extremely motivated girl and accomplished everything she puts her mind to.

“Seeing her progress so much in a short space of time has been amazing and i’m so proud of her.

“She has worked so hard and I can see a real change in her for the better.

“I’m hoping that she can help me lose some of my lockdown weight in January!”





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