Renowned make-up artist Paddy McGurgan has lifted the lid on his incredible 13-stone weight loss journey and says the lifestyle change has also super-sized his dating life.
he 42-year-old has his own studio on Belfast’s Royal Avenue and has launched a make-up collection in collaboration with Co Tyrone tanning brand Bellamianta.
Speaking to Sunday Life, the make-up mogul, who has wowed people with his svelte new look, revealed the weight loss came about in the wake of a difficult relationship break-up.
“I’ve been a getting few more DMs [direct messages] online, though, and stuff like that.
“That’s a nice positive change to my love life, I suppose, although it’s still a sh**show, to be honest,” he joked.
“I came out of a long-term relationship when I was at my heaviest and that was one of the things that started my journey.
“That propelled me, along with other things, to start losing weight and commit to it, when the relationship broke down.
“I didn’t do it because of the break-up, or go on the journey to make a point — it’s not a ‘revenge body’ situation.
“It was more a case of taking control of my life and my physique and proving a point to myself.”
Paddy is originally from Armagh but has been living and working in Belfast for more than 20 years, building a reputation as a top professional make-up artist.
In the early stages of lockdown he began to shed the pounds and has been steadily shifting weight since, going from almost 30 stone to around 16 and a half stone.
Despite the incredible downsizing Paddy says he didn’t weigh himself during his weight loss journey and still doesn’t.
He explained: “I would estimate that I’m around 16 and a half stone now, down from around 29 and a half at my heaviest.
“I knew, for lots of different reasons, that something had to change.
“I’ve had numerous failed attempts in the past where I had lost weight but never managed to keep it off.
“So I decided to take a different approach and take it slow, to make changes that were manageable so that I didn’t end up resenting what I was doing.
“I read a lot of books and listened to podcasts, taking on board loads of advice, and the first thing I did was to get in the right mindset.
“It was about my relationship with food and my body and getting me in the right frame of my mind. Not carrying guilt about food and not obsessing about it, more making positive lifestyle changes.
“I wanted to focus on improving bit by bit and did a lot of research around finding a personal trainer.
“I found Mike [O’Sullivan] and he gave me the confidence to work out in the gym as well. Now I have more patience and belief in my ability.”
Paddy also revealed he has been able to reverse some chronic weight-related health problems as a result of his hard work.
He added: “I was a Type 2 diabetic and had chronic sleep apnea. I had to sleep with a CPAP machine, but I’ve managed to reverse all that now.
“I was on medication as well and that’s no longer necessary. It’s a relief.”
Paddy’s 11-piece make-up collection in collaboration with Bellamianta launched to much fanfare last weekend and he is using events like it as a goal to keep in mind when things get tough.
He said: “I used those [events] as massive motivators so I could stand on stage and not feel self-conscious.
“People should be impressed by my talent and passion for my work, but the reality is for me to feel most confident I used the launch of Bellamianta and the photo shoot as massive motivation.
“It’s a huge change for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe big is beautiful, but everyone has a right to be where they want to be.
“I’m still not at my end goal — I still want to keep working and improving — but I’m at a stage where I’m confident about where I am and staying here.”