A travel agent who spent $30K flying business class after she became too big to fit economy seats looks unrecognisable after losing an incredible 76kg and eight dress sizes.
Despite visiting nearly 50 different countries over the past two decades, Doina Nicutescu said her morbidly obese frame always spoiled the experience of travelling - and made flying on an aeroplane a “complete nightmare”.
Back in April 2016, the 39-year-old from Sydney, tipped the scales at 153kg and wore size 26 clothes, and said she would often receive stares from people while travelling.
“I’d visit places that you’d assume people would go for a beach holiday, but never go swimming. I went to Tahiti, Thailand, the Greek Islands, Croatia and Hawaii all in summer,” she said.
“But I never even packed a swimming costume. There was no way I would have felt comfortable at the size I was.
“I’d often have people pointing, staring and laughing at me, especially in Asia, because they’re not used to seeing people so big like I was.
“The worst experience was in Turkey, outside the Blue Mosque, and I had a family laughing and filming me. They then asked if they could take a picture with me, which I declined.”
And getting from one travel destination to another was also a difficult experience.
“I could feel other passengers getting annoyed when I’d be seated next to them. One time, I was walking down the aisle to use the restroom and heard one person laugh and say, ‘I doubt she will even fit in there’,” she explained.
“The regular seatbelts never fit around me, so I’d always have to ask for an extender. Usually the flight attendants were discreet, but one time a woman yelled out ‘here’s your seatbelt!’ and held it up for everyone to see as it unravelled.
"When I became too big to sit comfortably in economy seats, I decided to only fly in business class and save myself the anxiety.
"It ended up costing me $30,000 over four years of travelling, purely due to my weight."
While the travel agent said she did not eat ‘too badly’, she explained her food choices were not the best and she had a problem with portion sizes.
“The hardest thing about being overweight is everyone assuming you’re a total pig and always binging 24/7. It wasn’t like that at all, but I always felt like everyone was judging every bite I took,” she said.
“I was once in line to get sushi here in Sydney, and I had a woman approach me and say ‘looking at the size of you, don’t you think you should be having a salad for lunch?’
“She looked totally disgusted by me. It was really shocking and hurtful."
After feeling like nothing was working to help her lose weight, Doina sought help from her doctor and decided to undergo gastric sleeve surgery in May 2016.
She’s now swapped her seatbelt for swimmers after shedding an incredible 76kg and eight dress sizes in less than two years – and now feels more confident than ever travelling the world with her brand new 77kg, svelte size 10 figure.
After losing half her body weight, Doina said she was left with a lot of loose skin – but after undergoing a lower body lift, an arm lift, a breast lift, inner thigh lift and liposuction, she now has the body of her dreams.
“My life has totally changed, and traveling has become an entirely different experience for me now,” Doina said.
"If I ever fly business these days, it is purely as a treat rather than a necessity.
“Since losing the weight, I’ve been to Hong Kong, Fiji, the Caribbean, Thailand, Malta, Portugal, Miami and Dubai.
“I’ve done things I could never do before, like swimming in a bikini, going snorkelling and riding a camel. It’s been amazing."
With additional reporting by Caters News.
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