My 'abnormally large' legs were my insecurity, surgery's given me the confidence to flaunt them, says Shaughna Phillips
1st March 2021

SHAUGHNA Phillips has proudly showed off her svelte pins after getting Lipoedema surgery and says her legs were “abnormally large”. 

The former Love Islander had faced years of cruel bullying over the size of her legs, which left her feeling self-conscious and insecure.

But after her stint in the famous villa in January, Shaughna, 26, discovered she was suffering from lipoedema — an abnormal accumulation of fat in the legs — and has since got her confidence back thanks to an operation, which saw two litres of fat drained from her calves.

She recently shared striking side-by-side shots on Instagram, and wrote: “Since having my surgery in September to treat the condition, it has been a long and painful recovery, and to be completely honest, I don’t think I quite saw a difference until I saw the picture on the left the other day.”

Shaughna’s joy at the results could practically be heard as she gushed: “I can’t believe how different my legs look today, I can’t even believe they are my legs (I have an actual visible calf muscle!).

"@drdenniswolf is the magician who has given me confidence in an area that I’ve been insecure about since I was 11 years old, and I cannot thank him enough!"

Fans of the reality star were thrilled for her and rushed to heap praise on the compliments.

One wrote: "u look STUNNING."

"You were beautiful either way you don't deserve the hate," added another.

Shaughna previously told Fabulous: “My legs had been my biggest body hang up since I can remember.

“It has been the one thing I have always said I would want to change about myself.”

Shaughna, who worked for Lambeth council in London before finding fame on the ITV2 dating show, continued: “I’d be going to the gym six times a week, and even though I got down to 9st 6lb and a size six on the top half, my legs would stay at a size 14.

“I was killing myself doing these workouts.

“When I went on Love Island, I spent lots of time crying to the therapist.

“I was surrounded by these lovely looking girls, and I felt like the show’s box-ticking fat girl.

“I would get constant bruising on my legs, and they would be so painful but I had no idea what it was.

“When I came off the show I had all these messages asking if I had been diagnosed with lipoedema — I had no idea what it meant but it was a breakthrough for me.

“It’s scary to think that had I not found out about my condition, and intervened when I did, I would’ve just been getting progressively worse, and in pain as well.”

The brave reality star, who now boasts 1.5million followers on social media, was left with blood running down her legs during Full Monty rehearsals, which took place just five days after her liposuction procedure in September.

She recalls: “There was blood pouring down my laces.

“I was in so much pain. But there was no way I wasn’t going to do it.

“Plus I’m an Aries — it’s not in our blood to quit.”

As for the trolls who have mocked her “cankles”, Shaughna refuses to let them get to her.

“Yes, I have had liposuction on my lower legs. It’s something that I have been suffering with physically and mentally my whole life and it has now been sorted.

“So I am not ashamed or embarrassed to say I have had that done.

“It was to help with a condition I have, and hopefully it will help others too.

“Right now, all I want to do is relax over Christmas, and have fun enjoying the moment.”

Medical expert and the founder of Chemist 4 U Shamir Patel said lipoedema is a condition that affects up to 11 per cent of women.

He said: “It’s often mistaken for obesity, as it is a build up of fat cells in the hips, buttocks and legs, often creating leg bulges and tissue that bruises easily.”

Shaughna, who appeared on the first ever winter series of Love Island, filmed in South Africa in January, was in primary school when she first realised her legs were abnormally large compared to the rest of her body.

She says: “I have always bruised terribly on my legs and they would make it look like I had seriously hurt myself when I was younger.

“In Year Six, I remember being so upset getting ready for the school disco because I couldn’t fit these boots that everyone else had around my calves.

“And I got comments when I was 13 in secondary school, as my legs were compared to girls who are smaller than mine.

“Ever since then, I have always looked at girls’ legs thinking that mine are triple the size.

“It’s crazy how things can stick in your head. But it makes sense now as lipoedema is progressive, and diet nor exercise affects it.”

It wasn’t until her stint on Love Island that Shaughna’s anxiety worsened.

The former council worker said: “I was the most insecure I had ever been in my life on the show.

“I suffered really badly with water retention from the flight, my feet swelled in the heat, the altitude caused more swelling, and I had lipoedema that I didn’t know about.

“I couldn’t even fit my shoes on. It was a nightmare. All you can think about is what you look like.

“I was so embarrassed people would think I was plodding along with my legs.”

Treatment options are limited for the condition, but liposuction can be a permanent option that will remove the fatty deposits.

And despite doctors advising that recovery can take up to six months, she has already dropped from a trouser size 14 to a size ten.

Shaughna said in December: “I have had liposuction on my calves, and it has been such a relief for me.

“I recently tried on a pair of size 12 jeans, and they’re too big for me, and baggy around the ankle.

“It’s something that I have been suffering with physically and mentally my whole life and it has now been sorted.”

Shaughna recently took part in ITV’s The Real Full Monty On Ice with a host of other celebrities, including Diversity and Britain’s Got Talent star Ashley Banjo, Loose Women panellist Coleen Nolan, Welsh rugby legend Gareth Thomas and reality TV star Jake Quickenden, in a bid to urge viewers to check for early signs of cancer.

Meanwhile, Shaughna reveals secret 2017 boob job as she opens up about wanting to be ‘dangerously skinny’.

And Shaughna shows off the results of her liposuction operation in an orange bikini in Dubai.

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