Elle Goodall, 28, from Mount Isa, Queensland was so hooked on MacDonalds, she’d order at least three large meals in each sitting, causing her weight to balloon to 184kg.
Her addiction was so bad, Elle would get in angry rages if she didn’t get her fix and sometimes “lost it” at her husband Aaron Wilkins, 28, if he got her order wrong.
It was only when her GP diagnosed her with type-2 diabetes at just 26, that Elle decided to have vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) surgery Bariatric Surgery in a last-ditch attempt to regain control.
After going under the knife nine months ago, she’s since switched fried foods for a raw diet and competed in three triathlons to lose more than 100kg.
“My addiction to Macca’s was completely out of hand. If I wasn’t eating the fried food, I was thinking about eating it,” she says.
“I’d easily eat three large Big Mac meals plus an extra portion of fries. I couldn’t get enough of the oily texture.
“I knew I was a bigger woman, but I’d convinced myself I wasn’t that bad and completely avoided scales. It was only when I caught the flu and had to see my GP, that he convinced me to have a health check. I couldn’t believe it when the scales read 184kg and my blood results revealed I had type-2 diabetes. I knew then something had to change.”
Even now, Elle can’t quite believe how big she became because she’d always led an extremely active life and loved sports.
“In school I was a big swimmer. I trained for several hours a day, morning and night. When I left at 18, I stopped swimming and that’s when I started to put weight on,” she says.
“I got a job working on a boat and though it was pretty physical, I was still eating as before and I went up to a size 18. It didn’t bother me though, I had an amazing job travelling around the Whitsundays. My body was the last thing on my mind.”
It was after meeting her husband Aaron in 2007 that Elle started to indulge in takeaways, causing an addiction that would spiral out of control.
“We moved in together and I gave up my work on the boat for an office job. Suddenly I wasn’t moving as much anymore and weight started to creep on.
“I’d be tired after work and couldn’t be bothered to cook, so I’d grab us a takeaway on the way home. It was usually always Macca’s. Soon, one takeout a week became three, then it was every day. Our kitchen was barely ever used.”
By the time the couple got married two years later, Elle walked down the aisle in a size 24 wedding gown.
“I remember feeling like a princess on my wedding day. But when I got the photos back, I was horrified.
“I looked so round and I knew then I was a ‘bigger girl’ but instead of taking action, I turned to food. I got in my car and headed straight for the nearest McDonalds for a feel-good binge.
“After that, I stopped looking at my scales and just lived in denial. I told myself things couldn’t possibly be that bad.”
Over the next six years, Elle’s appetite for fried food grew bigger and at the height of her addiction, the 163cm admin officer would often eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the infamous burger chain.
She said: “I never really had a sweet tooth. It was always savoury foods.
“When I wasn’t eating I was always thinking about when and where I getting my next fix.
“When Aaron and I moved to Mount Isa I frequented our local Macca’s so often the staff knew my name and order by heart. It’s so embarrassing to think about it now.
“I was so big I was having to buy size 32 clothes online as no stores in the small town had anything I could wear.
“It sounds crazy but even when I was buying super-size outfits, I didn’t think I had that much of a problem. But the reality was I spent most of my days eating.
“If I wasn’t eating or I didn’t get enough food, I’d get into furious rages. Some nights Aaron would go out to get our dinner and I’d go mad if he missed my third meal out or got the order wrong. I’d become a Macca’s monster, always hungry for my next fix.”
Eventually, a chance visit to the doctors because a bad case of flu was what made Elle realise how serious her size was.
“The doctor convinced me to have a health check, which included being weighed and having my blood tested. When the scale read 184kg, I just remember thinking ‘wow.’ The type-2 diabetes diagnosis just made me question how I’d ever let it get so bad.”
For several months, Elle tried desperately to lose weight but she always succumbed to her addition.
“I tried shakes, medication and exercise but I just couldn’t beat the demons in my head. Then one day I was in Kmart when some kids started following me and making piggy noises.
“I went straight to my car, cried and drove to Macca’s. As I ate the food, I knew then I couldn’t go on like this anymore. Not only had I spent a small fortune on the food, it was ruining my life.
“The next day I went to see my GP and was booked in for Bariatric Surgery. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
After having a five-hour gastric sleeve operation, Elle’s life changed dramatically.
“In the first week I lost 10kg and felt so inspired for the first time in years. Aaron bought me a pink treadmill and I started exercising at home. It was the first time in years I’d exercised and I couldn’t even run for 30 seconds, but I was determined.
“A few months later, I met my now trainer Vicky through a friend. She was training for a triathlon and I said ‘I wish I could do one of those.’ She turned to me and said: ‘I could have you ready in a month.’
“I accepted the challenge and a month later, weighing 140kg, I completed my first triathlon. It was amazing.”
It’s now nine months since Elle’s surgery and she’s completely changed her lifestyle, switching Macca’s for a strict raw food diet to help with her daily training schedule.
“I weigh 76kg and am fitting into a size 12. To be honest, I can’t quite believe it but it’s true. I’ve lost more weight than my whole body weighs today and I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved.
“I’m competing in my fourth triathlon in October and I can’t wait. I don’t think I’ll ever eat another Macca’s again.”
ELLE’S DIET BEFORE
Lunch — KFC takeaway with 6 pieces of chicken, chips and coke
Dinner — 3 Big Mac Meals plus an extra portion of large fries and an Ice cream sundae
Snacks — McDonalds fries and nuggets. Large hot chocolates throughout the day
ELLE’S DIET NOW
Breakfast — Green smoothie
Snack — Raw corn on the cob
Lunch — 1 boiled egg and raw veggies
Snack — Seaweed
Dinner — Smoked salmon and salad