She has suffered from an eating disorder since childhood.
But Nicola McLean admits it hasn’t stopped her from buying controversial weight-loss shots online to lose weight.
The injections – originally developed to treat type 2 diabetes – are believed to be used by celebrities including Kim Kardashian and Elon Musk.
Last week, experts revealed they’re also being abused by skinny people with eating disorders, including the likes of reality TV’s Nicola, who can buy them on sites like eBay and Instagram.
The former glamor model, who is now speaking out to warn others about the dangers of the sting, said: “It made me so sick.
“It’s advertised as working wonders.
“People like me who suffer from bulimia and anorexia will look at this and think, ‘This is the moment I’ve been waiting for, this is going to change my life.’
“I thought that was the answer to all my prayers, but it was a big mistake. I would not recommend it to anyone.”
Nicola – mother of Rocky, 17, and Striker, 13, with husband of professional footballer Tom Williams – began suffering from anorexia and bulimia when she was 11 and was later diagnosed with body dysmorphia.
She says her struggle to stay healthy has been an ongoing struggle, and in 2021 she was looking for a “quick fix” to lose weight despite already being a very slim size 10.
She then thought she found it after stumbling about the weight loss shots on social media.
Nicola, 41, says: “I was scrolling through Instagram one day and came across someone who had it.
“I don’t want to see weight loss stuff, that’s the last thing I need, but Instagram knows I’m looking at this, so it came up.
“I immediately messaged them and asked if it worked and the person replied that it was brilliant.
“I immediately said, ‘Great, how do I get one?’ and she told me about an Instagram account that categorizes itself as an online nurse and promotes healthy weight loss.
“They ask you about your weight, your blood pressure and your BMI. The person advised me to say that I was at least two stones heavier than I really was.
“So I lied about my weight, stated my normal height of 5ft 4”, my blood pressure, paid 250 pounds for a month and within a couple of days it arrived. It was so simple and easy.
“I thought it would be the quick fix I was always looking for. I told myself it was no big deal. If celebrities did it, it would be safe for me too.”
The injections are marketed in the UK as Wegovy for obese patients and Ozempic for type 2 diabetes patients and must be given weekly.
Nicola bought a third brand, Saxenda, to be used daily.
The drugs work by suppressing appetite, which can result in significant weight loss.
Nicola says: “I injected myself every morning, but after about a week of use I got really sick.
“I got violently sick and Tom said, ‘This is so weird for you,’ because I have the biggest stomach you’ll ever know, having been bulimic for years.
“Then I started getting headaches, but I brushed them away. Tom kept saying, “That’s that skinny jab,” but I brushed it off too. I was obviously in denial. My weight was more important to me.”
Despite feeling ill, Nicola then bought the drug for another month and says: “It made me not want to eat, but that helped me in so many ways, because when you’re obsessed with food, whether you’re under -or are over-eating, being free of that feeling was really nice.
“It was really nice not to be fixated on eating or not eating, it just takes your appetite away completely.
“I don’t use the scale, so I don’t know how much weight I lost, but I definitely lost a dress size. Remember, I didn’t have the weight to lose either.
“But I just got sicker. I felt nauseous every morning, but I had nothing left to throw up, so all I had to do was gag.
“I kept fighting it off and telling myself it wasn’t the jabs until one day Tom had had enough and threw them away.
“He said, ‘Nic, you’re not overweight or diabetic, what are you doing to yourself?’
“So it was Tom who made me quit. I felt better almost immediately, there was no headache or nausea. Of course, I am very grateful for this moment.”
In 2010, Nicola hit one of her lowest points seven months after giving birth to her second son, Striker, weighing less than 6.
More recently, she has started treatment for ADHD, which she says has massively helped her control her eating disorders.
She says: “I went to the GP about 13 years ago when I weighed less than 6th.
“I was so anorexic, I wore leggings from the age of seven to eight. They said my BMI was fine.
“Bulimia falls under OCD, so they put you on antidepressants, but it’s like putting a band-aid over something. It doesn’t fix the problem.
“At that point I decided I wouldn’t weigh myself, I would try to clear it up and I haven’t used the scale since.
“Then six months to a year ago I was diagnosed with ADHD. They put me on medication for it and I’ve had very little bulimia ever since.
“I changed my life. I hate to say that I no longer have bulimia because I’ve lived with it for most of my life.
“It would make me feel unnerved not to be still in recovery instead of saying I don’t have it. But I haven’t felt the need to overeat and then get sick, and I don’t feel the need to self-destruct.”
With weight loss vaccinations more accessible than ever, Nicola wants the government to change the law. Between 1.25 and 3.4 million people in the UK suffer from a disorder, according to the Priory Group.
She says: “I’m not against these vaccinations for people who are morbidly obese, but they do need counseling or psychotherapy with it.
“Having an eating disorder is a mental illness, it’s not just about stabbing yourself and then the job is done. Whenever you see the drug advertised, celebs are said to be doing it.
“There’s never a picture of someone overweight, it’s always a slim person.
“It’s being sold as if it would work wonders. I won’t lie, some of this is still so alluring. Sometimes I think, ‘Could I endure the illness again?’ and that’s why it’s so dangerous.
“When you have an eating disorder, it’s not hard to fall back into thought patterns like, ‘God, wouldn’t it be so exciting if I didn’t think about food all the time?’
“Young girls and boys will look up to the likes of Kim Kardashian and think, ‘That’s what she does,’ but the truth is she’s exercising, eating clean and being disciplined on another level.”
Nicola will continue to advocate for eating disorders and work on her own recovery, and she says: “I believe more resources need to go into mental health and eating disorders.
“I support the Dump The Scales campaign, which calls on the government to review the guidelines on eating disorders provided by doctors, and I want to continue using my knowledge to advocate for a better understanding of eating disorders.
“I’m so glad I can now see clearly that these vaccinations are so irresponsible for people at risk, people with eating disorders and anyone who doesn’t need them.”