How Covid-19 helped a Swansea woman recover from a binge eating disorder

Kirstie Logan shares her journey with Andrea Byrne on Wales at Six

A woman who developed a serious binge eating disorder after the sudden death of her father has spoken about how contracting Covid helped lead her on the path to recovery. Kirstie Logan, from Plasmarl, Swansea, gained seven stone while bereft with grief, spending over £1,000 on McDonald’s in one year alone. The 31-year-old said she would "abuse" her body to help cope with the trauma.

“In my grief I became unable to make logical decisions and would abuse my body because I didn’t know how to process what had happened.” Ms Logan’s dad died suddenly in 2015 which left her experiencing nightmares and “unable to control” even the smallest things in her life - starting with her diet. “I would sometimes order from Deliveroo three times a day and order enough food for four people.”

Kirstie lost her father very suddenly in 2015. Credit: Kirstie Logan

She said she would pretend the food she had bought was for somebody else as her disorder left her feeling intense shame and embarrassment.

  • What is a binge eating disorder?

According to eating disorder charity BEAT, people with a binge eating disorder eat large quantities of food over a short period of time.

It says BED (binge eating disorder) is not about choosing to eat large portions, nor are people who suffer from it just “overindulging” – far from being enjoyable, binges are very distressing, often involving a much larger amount of food than someone would want to eat.

People may find it difficult to stop during a binge even if they want to. Some people with a binge eating disorder have described feeling disconnected from what they are doing during a binge, or even struggling to remember what they have eaten afterwards, the charity says.

Kirstie gained seven stone as a result of her binge eating disorder. Credit: Kirstie Logan

Kirstie reached over 17 stone but it was contracting Covid-19 in March 2020 that saw her take back control of her health. “Doctors told me that I was on the verge of diabetes - being unwell gave me the kick I needed to get myself out of the depressive hole I’d been in. “It left me grateful for life and I realised that so many people weren’t so lucky, so I set out on a mission to lose the weight and reclaim my life.”

After losing seven stone and getting back to a healthy 10st 4lb, Kirstie has qualified for the final of Ms Great Britain and is trying to use her beauty pageant platform to increase awareness around binge eating disorder.

She started on her weight-loss journey by walking up and down the Swansea hills every day. After six months of walking, she weighed herself for the first time and realised she had lost three stone. She then decided to join a gym when they re-opened.

Kirstie said, "I have been working with the charity BEAT who have supplied me with some really helpful resources. I want to de-stigmatise binge eating disorder and show that recovery is possible whilst shining a light on the obesity crisis in the UK.

"If I win, I will spend my year dedicating time to helping those who have suffered with not only binge eating disorder, but other types of serious eating disorders too."

Kirstie has made the finals of Ms Great Britain 2021. Credit: Kirstie Logan

Kirstie said there is a "lack of understanding" around what people eat which is contributing to an "obesity crisis".

"We need to be mindful of the triggers which cause not only binge eating disorder but eating disorders in general. We need to challenge ourselves to look outside of who we perceive to be those most affected."Eating disorders are not about being vain or being a ‘sloth’ – they are serious mental illnesses, often triggered by trauma."Full recovery from an eating disorder is possible if intervention happens early enough and more people than ever are now seeking help."

Kirstie is the only contestant from Wales in the Ms GB final, and the final takes place on September 17.

Those looking for help in relation to binge eating disorder can visit BEAT’s dedicated online support group Nightingale which offers support and guidance for those impacted by the condition.