A WIGAN mum has gone on national TV to defend herself against attacks over her claims she needed more help from benefits to lose weight.
Following 25 stone Christina Briggs’s interview in Closer magazine about struggling to afford healthy food, the 26-year-old spoke on ITV’s This Morning in response to the barrage of abuse online, referring to her as a lazy scrounger.
The single Hindley mum, who receives more than £20,000 a year in benefits, asked for a cash incentive from the Government to eat healthily – despite spending £300 a month on junk food for herself and her two children.
Christina, who has a BMI of 55 (the healthy range for women is 18 to 25), told presenters Philip Schofield and Amanda Holden: “I understand (the outrage). I do get benefits and taxpayers pay for me. Since the story came out I have felt physically sick and not eaten.”
Schofield asked her if she could not lose weight on her own and how would vouchers help her. She couldn’t reply, later adding she wanted an incentive.
She said: “I don’t want surgery–- I want to prove to myself and my kids I can do it myself. I don’t want to die young. I want to be here for my kids.
“I can’t go to the gym. I get to the front door and I clam up as I think if people see me running they will laugh. I do eat too much and I don’t move enough. If I had help from a dietician it could help me more.”
She surprisingly gained emotional support from non-PC TV personality Katie Hopkins, who put on weight for a TV documentary to show you can lose weight.
But despite holding Christina’s hand throughout the interview, she stuck to her guns about not wanting to employ someone who was overweight.
Katie said: “I stand by my views and I would not employ a fat person as being fat is hard on your body. Her BMI is 55 which is reducing her life by 10 years and that is not great.
“But I understand the difficulty in going out the front door as people call you names. Her reasons for putting on weight are many and her excuses are few and what she wanted to say was that she wanted help.”
In Closer magazine, Christina said: “My rent is covered by my benefits but by the time I pay my £200 bills I’m left with hardly any cash. It would be good if the Government offered a cash incentive for me to lose weight. I’d like to get £1 for every pound I lose, or healthy food vouchers. If the price of healthy food was lowered that would help too. I don’t feel bad about the taxpayer funding my life and my child’s medical problems, as my daughter has ADHD, because I don’t treat myself or buy anything excessive. I just get enough money to live on – the taxpayers should help fund my diet.”
She also confessed that she was bullied for her weight when she was a youngster. Then aged 15, and weighing 18.5st, she fell pregnant with her first child and put on an extra 1.5st during pregnancy.
It was then she decided to do something about her health and after a discussion with her GP she started a local gym.
But attending just a few sessions, she admitted she didn’t have the willpower to stick to it.
On a typical day Christina will eat a bacon roll for breakfast, chips for lunch, a microwave pizza for dinner and snack on crisps and biscuits. She admitted her children eat junk food but get fruit at school and are at a healthy weight.