Mandy Burns (46) is from Newtownabbey and leads a busy lifestyle as a Classroom Assistant, Youth Support Worker, and Assistant Building Supervisor, as well as being married to husband, Ray, and having two children, David (25) and Cameron (18).
Mandy’s struggle with her weight had a significant impact on her mental health and began affecting her home life.
“After experiencing bullying, I was so low that I started believing the comments about how ugly and fat I was. I suffered from depression and anxiety, which was so bad that my eldest son left home. I knew that I was the only one who could change how I was feeling both physically and mentally.”
At her heaviest Mandy was 14 stone, her weight problems also meant that she struggled with everyday tasks.
“The fear and anxiety meant that sometimes I wouldn’t leave the house in case I had a panic attack. My knees were sore, so I couldn’t walk far or kneel on them. I was letting my weight control my life.”
Mandy decided to change her life for the better in 2016 after returning from a holiday in New York.
“I couldn’t get any clothes to fit me when I was on holiday, and I was so disgusted with myself when I looked back on the photos that showed my weight gain, and the sadness I had in my life.
When I got home, I joined the Larne WST Community Group in April 2016 and walking through those doors for the first time, I had instant hope that I could change my life for the better. I was given so much support.”
The positive change in Mandy’s life since her amazing 5 stone weight-loss is immeasurable, and her family and friends have been there to support her every step of the way.
“Before I lost the weight I was embarrassed at myself. I had zero confidence, and sometimes it was a struggle just to get up out of bed and get washed. My husband was fantastic, and my friends stayed by my side.
Now I feel great! No more, sore knees, no headaches, and no depression. I am bursting with confidence, and I’m never in the house. I love being surrounded by people, and I never stop talking. I like seeing the new me in the mirror.”
Mandy believes she wouldn’t have achieved the positive changes in her life if it weren’t for the WST Community.
“Before I joined I had lost hope, but after I joined I never felt like giving up. The tools and support were there and I chose to use them. Every member who walks through the doors inspires me daily.”
Mandy has reached her weight-loss target but knows that this change isn’t a temporary journey to a destination, but a lifestyle she will maintain.
“I’m finally able to hold my head high. I have gained so much strength, and I believe in myself. I know I am not the ugly or fat person I once thought I was. Although I have reached target, WST community is in my blood, and I will be on this plan for the rest of my life.”
In recognition of her success, Mandy has won the Body & Mind Transformation, sponsored by Calm Massage & Beauty at the WST Community Awards 2018, this was for the member who has lost a life-changing amount of weight to change their physical appearance and has also changed their attitude towards themselves.
Mandy was also crowned WST Community champion, sponsored by Modius Health. Chosen from over 65 nominees, Mandy is a WST member who is an inspiration to all the WST community, met the criteria for all of this year’s awards, but most importantly has changed her life and is changing the lives of others.
Awards judge Doctor Jason McKeown said, “Mandy’s story highlighted that even at their lowest, with the help of WST Community, she was still able to turn things around both mentally and physically, and now seems like a new person.
I hope that winning this award will inspire those people who are just starting out on their WST Community journey, and encourages them to keep pressing forward, even when it seems like an impossible task!”
“To anyone thinking of trying the WST Community, all I have to say is go for it. It’s the best decision I have ever made. I love that the community is united in facing our journey together without judgement or guilt. I have made lifelong friends, and I will never feel alone again. My only regret is that I didn’t find a group sooner.”
Talking about her award win Mandy said, “WST has changed my life so much for the better, I’m back to being the woman my husband fell in love with and the mummy who only thinks about her 2 children, I’m bursting with pride”.