Weight loss testimonials
Lara’s search for a weight loss solution
Having been bullied at school for her weight, which continued to
fluctuate as an adult, Lara turned to Springfield Hospital for
help. Here she shares her monthly diary.
Lara before weight loss surgery
Hi. My name is Lara and I am a 44-year-old working mum of three.
My story begins with my earliest memories of being different from
my friends, because I was “the fat kid”.School was a challenge
because of being bullied and in those days the only help that could
be offered was “sticks and stones”. But it did hurt – a lot – and
was a very formative factor in the development of my personality
and character as I grew older.
My poor mum, who was probably fed up of the tears and misery on
the return from school every day, tried her best by making me
packed lunches of Ryvita and Dairylea triangles. I looked on with
envy at my friends’ packed lunches with crisps and cake and longed
to be the same as them.
But later, when the tears subsided and the emptiness set in, I
would take to the kitchen cupboards and salve the feelings with
toast, biscuits, even marzipan and jelly I would find in mum’s
cake-making box. The weight gradually increased over the years and
I remember, with mortification, having to be weighed for a pony
trekking holiday at age 13. The scales registered a horrifying 13
stone and I will never
forget the look of sadness on mum and dad’s faces. I felt a
failure and a disappointment, but seemed unable to address the
issue and so it went on.
As I approached 16, I went off to college to study nursery
nursing. This coincided with meeting my husband-tobe, who’s
acceptance of me being me, gave me the unconditional love I craved,
but also almost the permission to go on and get even bigger. I
managed to diet for our wedding, but I was never a healthy weight
or the girl I longed to be.
"I suddenly realised the best solution for me would be a Gastric
Band as it could be a permanent solution"
My twenties brought me two wonderful children, but also saw my
weight balloon after the birth of my son to 23st 9lb. I was
wretched as I could barely make it up the stairs without becoming
exhausted. So many hopes for my life and future remained on hold as
my confidence was poor and physical abilities even worse. I met a
wonderful lady around that time, who had also experienced serious
weight issues and she and I joined together to get the weight off.
In the space of 12 months I had reduced my weight by 13 stone and
finally believed I had “arrived”.
Having vowed to myself that I would never let the weight creep
back on, over the next 10 years I battled with myself, see-sawing
between 13 and 19 stone. Although my career flourished during this
period, my self-esteem and how I felt about the way I looked had a
effect on my mood and happiness and sadly my marriage ended
during that time.
By this stage of my life, I had tried counselling, cognitive
therapy, a range of slimming clubs and diets. I had tried
slimming tablets, which made me feel ill, and seen my GP to be told
that “we all have a cross to bear” and had been offered
help suppress my appetite.
It seemed that there was nowhere to go and no one to help me.
Unless you had a recognised eating disorder there was nothing
anyone could do to help.I felt so angry, especially as the news
kept telling me about the UK obesity epidemic, knowing that here I
was, a reasonably educated, nutritionally aware woman, who was
desperate to loose weight once and for all and nothing could be
done to help me. I was aware of surgical interventions for weight
loss, but because I knew little about it, I was scared about taking
a step in this direction.
One day, about seven weeks ago, I was at Springfield Hospital in
Chelmsford on an un-related matter and got talking to one of the
outpatient nurses, Janet, who has a special interest in weight loss
surgery. She explained about the different options available and
the various implications. I suddenly realised that the best
solution for me would be a Gastric Band as it could be a permanent
solution as opposed to something that would be removed after
six months or so.
I felt enormously encouraged after my conversation with the
nurse and decided to make an appointment to see Mr Harvey (the
consultant) and Hayley (the nutritionist). I had some literature to
read following these visits, but I was fairly convinced that this
is what I needed, and wanted, to do.
My wonderful fiancé was very supportive and we agreed that I
would have the operation as soon as I had completed the two-week
diet required before surgery. Leading up to the big day, I was not
at all nervous as I had an overwhelming feeling that this would be
the beginning of a new lease life for me. The day came and I
arrived at Springfield Hospital and was settled into my room. I
went to theatre early in the afternoon and found myself back in my
room later on that day. I was very sleepy and a little
uncomfortable, but the lovely nurses looked after me and I was
ready to return home first thing the following morning.
Lara one month post op
The first few days I mainly sipped on small glasses of milk,
squash, tea and coffee and then moved on over the next two weeks to
thin soups, thin homemade smoothies and fat-free yoghurts made to a
liquid with a little milk or water. All along the process, Hayley,
my nutritionist, was available at the end of the phone or email to
help and advise if I needed it. After 10 days I had lost one stone
and three pounds and this just encouraged me further. In the third
and fourth weeks I moved on to thicker soups and smoothies and
gradually started to settle down to a routine of eating and
exercise prescribed by Hayley.
My two dogs have supplied the exercise factor with a brisk walk
of 45 minutes to an hour a day. As the weight has come off, the
walk has got faster and I can really feel the benefits of a lighter
body in all my physical endeavours.
As I complete my first month after surgery, my general
impressions are very positive. I have lost almost two stone since
commencing the liver diet prior to surgery up to today. The food I
am eating is satisfying in the main, although until I have my first
band fill and start eating proper solid foods, I will be inclined
to feel hungry from time to time. I have some discomfort now and
again as my abdomen recovers from the surgery, but all in all I am
very excited about what the next month holds for me and how I shall
be looking as Christmas is upon us!
I’ll keep you posted!
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