From Private to Public - Chloe Matthew's Gastric Band Story

“The day I booked my operation, it was do or die. My mental health was so, so, so, so bad.”

Chloe

PATIENT

Chloe began her weight loss journey in 2018 at age 23 when she was at a low point in her life. Being 4ft 11” and weighing 17 stone, Chloe reached breaking point when two people pointed and laughed at her in public and taunted her double chin. Instantly, she felt a rush of pain and began to cry. This made her ask herself, “what is wrong with people, and what is wrong with me?”  That was the moment she realised she wasn’t happy, and to allow her to feel better about herself, she needed to make a drastic change.

“The day I booked my operation, it was do or die. My mental health was so, so, so, so bad.”

Life before Gastric Band surgery

Chloe had struggled with her weight for years and believed she was always the biggest one in the room. She felt everyone looked at her and just saw her fat. Chloe felt trapped in her own body but knew how she wanted to look. “I’d have surgery over and over again, it completely changed my life!”

Two years before her Gastric Band surgery with Healthier Weight, Chloe attempted to go down the NHS route, but her doctor advised her she wasn’t “big enough”. It was at this moment that she’d had enough of not being the young woman she knew she could be. Sick of being depressed, Chloe took a leap, and there was no going back.

“The day I booked my operation, it was do or die. My mental health was so, so, so, so bad.”

Chloe Matthews

From private to public

Chloe kept her Gastric Band surgery private for some time as she thought there was still a stigma attached and people would think she took the “easy way out”. She found it extremely difficult to come to terms with her procedure. But then, her procedure turned from private to unmistakably public when her ex-boyfriend broadcasted it on Facebook.

When it happened, it was difficult for Chloe to come to terms with the fact that all of her friends, friends of friends and family would now know something so private to her. However, it turned out to be one of the best things that’s happened for her.

As it happens, this opened several opportunities for her as she featured in Closer Magazine and published her own weight loss Gastric Band diaries on Etsy. In addition, being brave and public about her experience has led her to be an inspiration to others and she frequently offers advice to people who may be going through what she already has. Chloe’s ex sharing her private experience has shaped her into the confident young woman she is today, and after some time, she “fully owned it”. Weight loss surgery has completely changed her whole life, “I’m now the person I always wanted to be!”

Understandably, being confidential with weight loss surgery is very common, but Chloe believes that “being worried about what people think shouldn’t play a part in your decision. Everyone has their reasons why they choose to have surgery – it has to be for you and only you.”

The positive effect of Gastric Band surgery

Gastric band surgery has had a hugely positive effect on Chloe’s mental and physical health. Before surgery, Chloe had polycystic ovaries and didn’t have her menstrual cycle every month due to her weight. However, her health has improved significantly through her hard work and dedication to her procedure, and she’s actually been able to improve her polycystic syndrome and have a regular period.

But the main thing for Chloe is that her surgery has had a massively positive impact on her mental health – giving her a confidence she never felt before. She went from being 17 stone with no aspirations to loving herself more and more every day. Before surgery, she was suffering through having unstable relationship after unstable relationship. Now, she knows her worth and proudly walks away from “toxic people”.

Finally, a night out is a completely different to what it used to be. Before her Gastric Band, she would not eat anything all day and then spend the whole evening crying because she hated the way she looked. “Enjoying a social life in your twenties should be full of happiness. In my mind I was a size 8, but my body was a size 18.”

“Now, I’m much more outgoing, and going for a night out isn’t a hassle at all.”

Chloe is now a woman who oozes self-confidence and can be ready to go in 45 minutes. She won’t even think twice about her outfit, and the taunts have turned to compliments.

Healthier Weight Nurses are like “life-long friends.”

Since she began her journey, Chloe has devoted her life to losing weight and working with her band. She realised that the band is a tool to aid her weight loss, and that it wouldn’t do everything for her. She’s thoroughly followed all the guidance from our team, and it’s clear to see that the hard work has paid off – she’s lost a phenomenal 8 stone!

There is no question around Chloe’s mental strength and determination to lose weight, but sometimes, you need to speak to an expert to get that little push in the right direction. She says that the “help from her Healthier Weight nurse Linsey has been amazing!” We at Healthier Weight pride ourselves on the quality of our aftercare, and Linsey has been there “every step of the way”.

“If you just follow the guidance, read your packs and take in all the advice available to you, you will succeed.”

The Gastric Band was a life-changing commitment for Chloe, she knew it had to be successful, and her incredible weight loss was a large part down to her relationship with her nurse. But ultimately, Chloe’s dedication and hard work with her new life is the true reason she has had such success in her journey.

Changing bad food habits

It’s challenging for Chloe to remember her life before surgery as she is now an entirely different person and has happily put that person behind her. What she can recall is her entire life revolving around food. Now, she looks back and can’t believe how much she used to eat.

Looking back on the past helps to motivate her because she understands and takes prides in how far she’s come. “If I didn’t have this surgery, I wouldn’t be on this earth today. I’m now the person I didn’t even know existed.”

“My biggest accomplishment with this surgery is that I love myself a bit more than I used to. I wish I didn’t wait until I was 23. I wish I had my surgery sooner.”

She is very grateful for Healthier Weight, her surgeon Rishi Singhal and nurse Linsey because now she has a life with “goals, aspirations and self-love.” All the insecurities, crying and hating herself have gone. She does have bad days, like many of us do in this life, but always looks back on who she once was compared to the confident young woman she is today.

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