Having been overweight since childhood, Chris visited Healthier Weight in September 2016 for a gastric sleeve procedure. 6 months post op, and over 9 stones down, we talked to an ecstatic Chris about his experience and his plans to run the London Marathon in 2018. Read his update where we catch up with him 1 year later here.
You had your sleeve with us 6 months ago, how are you feeling?
Yes. I’m feeling absolutely wonderful!
What were the reasons you decided to have surgery?
Well the reason I decided to have surgery was because I was feeling very down and very depressed. I’d tried every single diet I could think of. I’ve always been big since I was a kid, and I’d tried to lose weight but it just didn’t work for me. Something that pushed me over the edge was when I was sitting having a coffee and a little child said to his mother ‘look at that fat man over there!’. That was it for me, I thought I have to do something. I got home and started looking on the internet. I came across Healthier Weight and I was impressed!
You said in your consultation that you were initially thinking of having a gastric band. What made you change your mind to having the sleeve?
When I saw Mr Whitelaw I was 100% certain that I wanted to have a gastric band. We sat down and had a chat and he asked me why I wanted a band. I told him because I want to lose weight and he said that for the weight I needed to lose a gastric sleeve was more suitable. The cost didn’t really cross my mind to be honest, it was what was better for me. This was the better solution for me and we decided together that this was the right path.
Is there anything that you were particularly pleased about regarding our services?
Well I’ll be honest with you, every time I phoned Healthier Weight with a question I’ve always got the answer. Obviously before the surgery I was nervous, I didn’t know what to do or what to expect. I must have phoned up at least 10 or 15 times asking the same question and every time I got a kind and comforting voice at the end of the phone. It filled me with confidence knowing I had that support at the end of the phone.
How much weight have you lost to date and what is your goal?
My total weight loss as per yesterday is a 9st 10lb loss. I’m 4lbs away from my target weight and I want to get down to between 12 and 12 and a half stone. I know I’ll reach that weight and if it wasn’t for Healthier Weight I’d never have that confidence. They said to me I’d lose 10 stone in a year and I’ve lost it in 6 months, I can’t believe it! I can go into any shop I want and buy any clothes I like. My clothes have gone from a 6XL to a Medium.
Were your friends and family supportive of your decision?
A couple of people that I told were shocked that’d decided after all these years to do it. All my friends and family have been great and have all said ‘we’ll support you’ and ‘this is a great thing you’re doing’ so yes, I’ve had their support from day one.
When did you start running and what inspired you?
I used to run years ago when it was about 18/20 years old and I’ve always thought to myself that I’d like to start again. I had a family member pass away just before Christmas and her husband had ran the marathon 6 or 7 times and I thought to myself yes. I want to give myself a pat on the back for losing so much weight, something I can say I’ve achieved. I spoke to a personal trainer and I started training in the gym in November. I got myself a personal trainer in November and I’m building my stamina up on the treadmill. I wouldn’t have even been able to consider the gym before my surgery, it wouldn’t have even been an option. Even if I’d have lost 1 or 2 stone with the gym I’d still have been morbidly obese. I look at pictures of myself now and think ‘How did you get that bad!’
Have you noticed any extra benefits of adding exercise to your weight loss regime?
I haven’t got loose skin which is great! I’ve lost nearly 10 stone and I have really minimal loose skin because of the exercise.
Do you exercise daily?
Absolutely! I go to the gym every single day for at least an hour. If I can’t get to the gym for whatever reason I’ll make sure I go for at least a 2 mile walk. I’ve got a dog as well which helps.
How has your diet changed?
Before my surgery I’d go into a shop and I wouldn’t even think about what I was buying to eat. I’d pick up so much junk food like crisps, chocolate, chips - you name it I was picking it up. I was drinking 3 or more bottles of Lucozade a day. I must admit though, I went in McDonalds for the first time since my surgery, it was only for breakfast. I fancied an Egg McMuffin but I only had 2 bites and I was full – I threw the rest away. The craving has gone away now. It’s tricky at first to be so used to huge portions to suddenly be eating child’s portions. Food doesn’t bother me anymore; I don’t really get hungry. I eat to a certain point where I think ‘OK I’ve had the satisfaction of that now, I don’t feel hungry anymore.’ I know at any point I can go and have a bite of a Mars bar, but I don’t want to anymore. I know it won’t hurt me if I have one bite, I used to eat 3 or 4 a day, but I choose not to because it doesn’t appeal to me. The truth is I can eat whatever I want, but I don’t crave the food I used to. I think that now I’ve only got 20% of the stomach I used to, I appreciate food more. I used to abuse my body.
How has your weight loss affected your family?
My wife can’t believe what I was like 6/7 months ago. She thinks I look like a different person. She always says ‘you’re going to be lighter than me soon!’. I get a lot of positivity from my family! I get quite emotional about it sometimes; I think to myself how my life has changed and it’s overwhelming at times. My wife’s eating habits have changed a bit too, she used to cook like 6 pieces of salmon and we’d eat 3 each, now she cooks 2 and I’ll eat half, she’ll eat one and a half. Her intake has come down. She always thinks she’s eating a lot of food compared to me now but she’s eating the ‘normal’ amount. As I cut things out of my diet she has as well, like pies and fish and chips, she doesn’t have them anymore. Overall we’ve both got a healthier diet.
I’ve struggled with my weight ever since I can remember. The realisation that I had to lose weight happened when I had a heart scare ten years ago. Ever since I can remember I have been on diets and still couldn’t shift the pounds. It's been two years now since I made the decision to have Bariatric Surgery, this involved having 80% of my stomach removed. The operation took place in September 2016, since then I have lost over 12 stones of excess weight.
In the last two years I have taken up going to the gym, running, cycling, things I would never have considered 2 years ago.
I am now extremely proud to say I will be running the London Marathon on Sunday 22nd April. The charity I have chosen to support is the North London Hospice, I have many reasons to support this charity the most recent is that my father-in-law is currently under their care.
To support Chris's go fund me page please visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/chrishoutris