Mum’s battle for fat disease recognition

Becki Cuttell at her home in Clipstone. Despite losing a lot of weight in the past year she has been denied surgery to correct a weight disorder ffecting her legs.
Becki Cuttell at her home in Clipstone. Despite losing a lot of weight in the past year she has been denied surgery to correct a weight disorder ffecting her legs.

An ‘inspiring’ mum who dropped 12 dress sizes to prove she wasn’t lying about her chronic disorder is spreading awareness of an all too common weight disease.

Until recently Becki Cuttell wore a size 24. Now she’s a 12 – and as she battles to receive recognition for an incurable condition, Lipoedema, the Clipstone woman has become a popular figure, inspiring other women who suffer the same demoralising disease.

The Clipstone mum has lost around nine stone in 18 months to prove she hasn't made up a chronic condition.

The Clipstone mum has lost around nine stone in 18 months to prove she hasn't made up a chronic condition.

Now a married mum of three, Becki was bullied growing up, never knowing her obesity was linked to a hereditary disorder. She said: “I spent all my school life being taunted about my weight, and the knock on effect is that you don’t make friends because you think people are judging.

“I didn’t really have any friends growing up, but now I’m married and I’ve got kids of my own – but I still get taunted by the children coming out of the comprehensive.”

Lipoedema, or painful fat syndrome, is a chronic condition that causes excess fatty deposits in the limbs. Also known as ‘tree trunk legs’, it’s often misunderstood by doctors and the general public who will often brand the sufferer as overeating despite having no control over their weight.

For Becki, after first being told she was just trying to find excuses for her obesity, she was finally diagnosed in December last year and took on the challenge of shedding nine stone to prove that no amount of dieting would help her.

Becki with her daughter Heidi at hoem in Clipstone.

Becki with her daughter Heidi at hoem in Clipstone.

But doctors have still denied her treatment, claiming her condition is ‘cosmetic’.

Becki added: “I lost all that weight thinking they would take me seriously and all they gave me was compression stockings. I was absolutely gutted.”

Since losing the weight, the 31-year-old has also become a social media sensation. Her diet diary on Instagram has topped 36,000 followers, some claiming she has ‘inspired them on their own weightloss journeys’. She’s also a keen blogger on Lipoedema and has won attention from celebrities and now hopes to use that support to raise the funds for private surgery costing £20,000.

She says the main problem women like her face is a lack of understand among medical professionals. She added: “It’s not cosmetic. It’s life-long and it’s painful. It’s something I’m going to have to live with and it’s embarrassing.”

Pictured with friend Sam Parr in 2006.

Pictured with friend Sam Parr in 2006.

Support charity Lipoedema Ladies says only 10 per cent of medical professionals are aware of the disease, despite an estimated one in 10 females being affected - potentially millions of women in the UK. The charity added: “Most cases gradually develop during puberty, although it may develop or worsen due to trauma, such as surgery, peri-menopause or pregnancy. Lipoedema has been seen in morbidly obese people and in anorexic individuals. NHS Choices said dieting does not reduce Lipodema, and will only show weight loss in areas unaffected by the condition.

Visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/r-cuttell or find Shrinking_becki_sw on Instagram.

Becki, pictured after graduating form university in 2006.

Becki, pictured after graduating form university in 2006.

After years of being bullied as a child, Becki has become a social media sensation and inspires other woman in similar situations.

After years of being bullied as a child, Becki has become a social media sensation and inspires other woman in similar situations.