Danielle Dunstall, from the Scottish Highlands, has gone from a size 22 to a size 10 following a fat shaming incident at Heathrow Airport
Image: Daily Record)
A woman who was mooed at like a cow on the way to her sister’s wedding has now shed almost six stone.
Weighing 17 stones, Danielle Dunstall was aware that she would be twice the size of the other bridesmaids as she flew out to Canada for the wedding.
And, as she headed towards the departure gate at the airport, that anxiety became humiliation for the 33-year-old from the Scottish Highlands.
Ms Dunstall said that, as she was going through Heathrow, two teenagers mooed at her.
She told the Daily Record : “All my life I’ve always been the chubby one, and I already knew I was going to be by far the biggest of my sister Michelle’s bridesmaids.
“Then going through Heathrow I had two teenage boys who actually mooed at me like I was a cow.
“I looked around, hoping it wasn’t aimed at me, but I was the only person there.
“The terminal was empty apart from us, so there was no way I could pretend to myself it was for anybody else.
“It was just so cruel, especially because it wasn’t kids picking on kids, I was a grown woman.
“I was really upset but all it did was make me go to the shop, grab a whole bunch of rubbishy snacks, put them in my bag and then stuff my face on the flight.”
In fact, despite her airport fat shaming in 2018, Danielle’s weight carried on going up, reaching 17 stones 8lbs a year later.
It wasn’t until she was asked to be a bridesmaid again, this time by a friend in Canada, that she finally decided she needed to do something.
“That was it – I said yes, but this time I was determined not to be the big one again,” she says.
“Kelsey’s wedding was in October 2020 so in January 2020 after a year at Slimming World of yo-yoing and only managing to lose two pounds, I gave myself the wedding as my goal.
“I set myself a target to lose 5lb a month and I exceeded that so by Kelsey’s wedding date I was down about four stones. Because of Covid travel restrictions I wasn’t able to go but I still didn’t stop.
“I got to my target of 11stones 11lb in March this year, losing a total of 5stones 11.5lb.”
DailyRecord / WS)
DailyRecord / WS)
At 5ft9in, dog walker Danielle is now a trim size 10, dropping down from a size 22 when she was at her heaviest.
It’s actually the slimmest she’s ever been after a lifetime of weigh struggles which started as a child and went into her teens, growing up in Ontario.
“I was aware of it but I think because I was bubbly and outgoing, it didn’t bother me as much because I didn’t really get teased a lot.
“It was more that I was really conscious of people I didn’t know staring at me or saying things.”
Danielle’s weight really started to creep up after she left high school, moved out of her family home and started living on her own.
“I’ve got a bad sweet tooth, I really love cakes, pastries anything like that, and takeaways.
“I just ate rubbish and too much of it because I was so greedy.
“I worked as kitchen manager in a sports bar which made pizza and wings so I had pizza every day, loaded with really greasy toppings with chips or wedges on the side. I always got way more than I really needed and still ate it all.”
As her clothes stopped fitting, Danielle simply kept sizing up her wardrobe.
When she met her partner Jack and moved to live in Thurso seven years ago, she was at her heaviest, 18stones 13lb.
“There were so many times when my weight really hindered me or embarrassed me.
“We went to a water park in Spain on holiday with my partner’s two daughters and I had to stand on scales in front of a queue of people to see if I was too heavy to go on the waterslide.
“The maximum weight was 100kg I think and I was about 105kg but by then it was too late to turn back.
“They pulled me aside and made me stand on the scales, but it wasn’t discreet at all, they didn’t care if they were going to embarrass me or not.
“The guy just looked at me and shook his finger at me to say ‘no, you’re too heavy’ and I had to turn back and walk past this whole queue, with them all knowing why. I was mortified.”
DailyRecord / WS)
It wasn’t until the second bridesmaid invitation that Danielle finally discovered her inner thinner self.
She actually lost most of her weight through lockdown, with online groups before in-person classes could restart.
“I think lockdown, as hard as it was, gave me focus to stay on track and Slimming World totally changed my mindset.
“I still have a big appetite and I eat loads but now it’s all the right stuff and I can make my own pizza at home with my favourite mushroom, green pepper and broccoli topping instead of the greasy ones I used to have.”
At a target size 10, Danielle doesn’t need to worry about being the big bridesmaid anymore. What is more, she now has her own big day to look forward to.
“We’re getting married in Jamaica in spring 2023 and I’ve already got my dress. For my whole life I’d needed to lose weight so even when I was trying on wedding dresses I’d think, there’s no way that’s going to lift over my backside and then it would zip right up.
“That was just the best feeling.”