Woman swaps crystal meth addiction for junk food and ends up weighing 21 stone

But then Shasta Segal, 32, turned her life around in a remarkable way and now looks completely different

PA Real Life
Fighter: Shasta with her daughter Madisyn

A woman managed to beat her addiction to crystal meth but ended up at 21 stone after becoming hooked on food instead.

Shasta Segal, 32, decided to get clean when her aunt offered her a job in a salon but she started compensating for her habit by eating more food .

The mum-of-one, who wore men’s size XXL t-shirts, was too embarrassed to over order at takeaways that she would drive from drive thru to drive thru, desperate for a hit of greasy burgers and fries.

She even became so big her body tricked itself into thinking she had a brain tumour, which resulted in her needing chemotherapy on her eyeball.

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Piled on the pounds: Shasta when she was at her heaviest weight of 21-stone, with her daughter Madisyn

The illness, which mimics the symptoms of a brain tumour, was the motivation she needed to start losing weight and she has is now a slender 9st 2lb .

Miss Segal, who became hooked on crystal meth as a teenager – the drug made famous by Jesse and Walt in Breaking Bad – says she has always been an emotional eater.

The 5ft 1in hair stylist said: “High school was absolutely brutal. I was bullied horrendously .

“Once, some kids even pushed me over to see if I would bounce. As I wasn’t secure with myself at all, I turned to food. It was this ever-going circle.

“At my heaviest, I would drive around going to different drive-thrus. I packed in all this food, and I wasn’t active at all. I was so depressed that I would just mope around all day.”

Miss Segal, mum to six-year-old Madisyn, spoke poignantly about the hardships she has faced growing up.

After dropping out of high school at 16, she fell into a toxic relationship, finding herself living on the streets and battling a crystal meth addiction by just 17 years old.

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Bold: Shasta became so big her body tricked itself into thinking she had a brain tumour

“I dropped out of high school because I was there for everybody, but I felt like nobody was there for me,” she said.

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“When I was really depressed, I left. I was helping everyone else through their stories but I wasn’t helping myself.

“Then, when I was on the streets, I would do any drug to make me feel good and numb the pain.”

After two years of falling in and out of homelessness and drug addiction, Miss Shasta, of San Diego, California, finally sought help from her mum.

Read more: Super slimmer beauty therapist looks unrecognisable after shedding 6st with useful diet tip

“My mum had previously said to me that she loved me and she was there, but that she couldn’t be taken over by me anymore because I was so manipulative when I was on drugs,” she explained.

“But I remember once after three days of rain, I was on the streets with this guy who was so abusive, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I called my mum and she came and got me.”

From there, Miss Segal went to stay with her aunt, who offered her a job helping out at a local hair salon and employment helped her get clean and gave her a focus.

Despite a relapse in 2005, she fought hard to stay sober and has now been so for almost 11 years.

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Slim: Shasta managed to shed 11 stone and is now a slender 9st 2lb

However, after vanquishing her drug demons, she found a new addiction in food and by 2008, she was almost 17 stone.

“By this point I was an emotional wreck. I’d never really recovered from anything in my life because I had numbed it for long,” she said.

“Whether through food or drugs, I would bury any sort of pain. I never wanted to confront it. The easiest thing is to run away from what you don’t want to feel.

“Food is an addiction. Now I look at it, I realise I definitely have to regulate myself because I could go off track at any time. I could relapse on food.”

Read more: Mum told she must lose weight in order to adopt shares her journey to prove she’s fit to be a mother

In 2009, Miss Segal fell pregnant with her daughter and the pressures of being a single mum saw her sink further into depression and, once again, she sought solace in food.

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Since she was a child, she has struggled with a slow metabolism, and so it was not long before she had reached 21 stone.

Then, in 2010, she began to experience severe headaches and double vision.

Panicked, she visited her doctor, where she was diagnosed with uveitis – an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye – sparked by a pseudo brain tumour.

Her body had begun to produce spinal cord fluid in a bid to surround the tumour – which did not really exist – which, in turn, put pressure on her optic nerve and caused her retina to start detaching.

PA Real Life
Obese: The mum-of-one had to have chemo on her eyeball after a pseudo brain tumour

Medics told her the pseudo tumour had began during her pregnancy, but that her weight had exacerbated the problem.

She was given a string of different treatments, including chemotherapy in her eyeball, to combat the problem, but said the ordeal made her realise that she needed to lose weight and so she sought help from a dietician.

“I’d been thinking about having gastric surgery, and my insurance company said I would be covered provided I visit a dietician for three months to show that I had made an effort against my eating,” said Miss Segal.

Read more: Obese former rugby player loses a THIRD of his bodyweight – and now he is unrecognisable

“I started keeping a food diary, tracking everything I ate and drank.”

Logging her eating habits made Miss Segal realise how many cans of fizzy drink she was putting into her body.

She admitted to drinking around 1.5 litres of soda every single day but by cutting out the sugary drinks alone, she lost a stone-and-a-half.

She also began to walk for 30 minutes every day during her lunch break.

“It was hard for me to walk,” she said. “My knees would hurt. I waddled, it was just like a big blob walking.

“I was a mess.”

PA Real Life
Shasta, with boyfriend Ryan, after turning her life around following a drug and food addiction

After three months, she had shed almost three stone, and made the decision to continue losing weight through exercise and healthy eating instead of opting for surgical help.

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She threw herself into an intensive fitness regime and, despite other gym-goers openly making fun of her when she first joined the gym, she stayed resolute and ended up losing almost 11 stone.

Now, she is determined to stay healthy for the sake of her daughter.

She still uses a food diary to keep her on track, mapping everything she eats and how often she exercises via app MyFitnessPal.

“I don’t want Madisyn to see me unhealthy. I want her to have a good role model, and learn that it’s important to take care of your body. She doesn’t even remember me big. If I show her photos, she doesn’t realise it’s me,” she said.

However, Miss Segal’s hard work has left her with around 10lb of excess skin on her stomach, legs and arms, which she is hoping to have surgically removed.

In order to help with the operation costs, she has set up a YouCaring crowdfunding page called ‘150+ gone – skin removal surgery.’

She’s also been holding yard sales and asking friends to donate recyclables for her to sell on.

“There’s no looking back this time,” she said. “I can’t go back to what I was. Being that person reminds me of some very dark times.

“It sounds cliché, but I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t been through all of that.

“That skin hanging off me just resembles how big I was. I don’t want my skin to puddle out around me, I want to be confident.

“I’ve lived in a big body for so long, I just want to close that chapter.”

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