SLIMMER Mel Fraser found some unusual inspiration to lose weight – posting belfies online.
Celebrities Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj launched the trend for taking so called ‘bum selfies’ and Mel used hers to track her slimming progress.
But she says it was the support she received via social media that really spurred on her dieting.
Mel’s surprising method saw her lose almost six stone. The beauty salon assistant shrank from a dress size 20 to an eight.
And now the mum of one has more than 10,000 online followers, with whom she shares healthy meal ideas, exercise techniques — and photos of her shrinking bottom.
Mel, 24, from Glasgow, says: “I used to be so fat I hated going outside the house because I couldn’t bear the thought of anyone looking at me.
“Now I post pictures of my body to thousands of people.
“I love my new shape and have Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to thank for helping me get it.
“Posting pictures of my body as it changes keeps me on track and it’s great to know that I’m now helping other people get the body they want.”
Mel’s weight spiralled out of control after she had daughter Aimee, now four.
As the relationship with her daughter’s dad began to falter, Mel started comfort-eating.
She says: ‘With a baby to look after, it was easier to turn to convenience food than cook from scratch. Instead of losing baby weight, I started to get bigger.”
Beauty salon assistant Mel got locked into a cycle of eating junk food.
She adds: “If I was miserable, I would treat myself to a bag of crisps or a chocolate bar to cheer myself up but I was just making the problem worse.”
Mel started a beauty therapy course but got in the habit of eating a pizza on the way home.
She says: “I was in constant denial, telling myself there wasn’t time to cook and that eating a takeaway was OK.”
Mel was out shopping with a pal when she decided to weigh herself in a shop. When the scales read 15st 2lb, she burst into tears. At just 5ft 2in tall, she was obese.
Mel reveals: “I was shocked. I had no idea I was that heavy. I weighed more then than I did when I was nine months pregnant.
“I was so embarrassed that I started to dread being seen by anyone I knew.”
Mel began making excuses not to leave her home. She explains: “When my mates pestered me to go out, I told them I couldn’t get a babysitter and I started getting my shopping delivered so I could avoid the supermarket.”
She also arranged for her mum Julie, 45, to take Aimee out on walks and trips to the park. Mel says: “Of course I wished I could go, but I was worried I’d have a panic attack.
“I was so horrified by my appearance that I assumed others would be, too.”
Stuck at home, she would turn to the junk food being delivered to make her feel better.
Mel says: “It was ridiculous. I was a prisoner in my own home because of how I felt about my weight, yet each week the grocery delivery would be full of pizza, biscuits and crisps.
“I felt I was letting Aimee down. She deserved a healthy mum who could do things with her.”
In January 2012, Mel’s New Year’s Resolution was to visit the gym — but she only managed a handful of sessions.
Just two months later she forced herself to leave the house again when Aimee asked that her birthday party be at a soft-play centre.
Mel says: “I was dreading it. I’d hidden away for so long and I knew people would be shocked to see how big I was. I noticed the look of surprise on the faces of some guests as I arrived.”
Days later, Mel’s mum emailed her pictures of the day and Mel broke down in tears. She says: “I looked like a beached whale.”
In desperation, Mel began researching diets and found the Cambridge Weightloss Plan. Weeks later, she was swapping takeaways and junk food for three calorie-controlled milkshakes a day.
Mel says: “At first it was tough but I knew I had to stick at it for my daughter’s sake. It was torture cooking dinner for her and not being able to have any.
‘But I had such an unhealthy relationship with food that I needed a plan that took it out of the equation all together and the Cambridge offered me that.
“I felt hungry for the first time in years. I had forgotten what it felt like.”
Mel was thrilled to lose nine pounds in the first week of her diet alone, and the next week she lost a further five pounds. The sudden weight loss made her begin to post comments online about her diet.
She says: “It was amazing to get so much support back, especially from forums and Facebook pages where others were following the same diet as me and we could support each other.”
Mel also began posting selfies online, charting her progress. She explains: “I was really nervous the first time I did it but the comments I got were so lovely and encouraging that it gave me a huge boost. I finally rediscovered the confidence to start taking Aimee out to the park.”
As the pounds continued to fall off, Mel continued sharing selfies with her online pals to keep motivated. By October 2012, she had lost 5st 7lb and was down to 9st 9lb.
But Mel knew that to keep the weight off, she would have to start exercising regularly — and introduce normal food to her diet again.
She explains: “I was hooked on lifting weights straight away and, within weeks, my arms looked strong and firm.
“The feeling that I had the power to change my body to how I wanted was amazing.”
Mel made sure to keep her followers up to date with her fitness, too.
She says: “I was posting pictures pretty much every week and people had started to ask how they could lose weight and tone up too.
“I realised social media had helped me lose weight and that now I could use it to help others.
“The comments were so flattering — people said I looked amazing and wished they had a bum like mine.
“It seems crazy that I had gone from hiding indoors to posting pictures of my bum to thousands of people.
“Once, I hated my body so much it was ruining my life — now I can’t stop showing it off and I hope it helps others turn their lives around.’