At only 5ft tall when I reached 14 stone I was exactly double the weight I was when I met my husband 26 years ago. It was then that I took one of the biggest decisions of my life and I have never looked back.
I was a slim child and I remained so right through my teens up until my first pregnancy at 23. When I was young I did not even consider calories, I just seemed to stay thin naturally. After my first child, Harriet, my weight went up to 9 stone 3lbs. After having my son Douglas my weight had increased to 10 stone 7lbs. I suffered post natal depression and food became a source of comfort, but it was a bad friend.
I did succeed in losing weight a few times, for example when my children were christened together, however each time I lost weight I gained almost twice the pounds I had lost as I slipped back into my old eating habits. By my late 30s I was 13 stone. Buying clothes was difficult, I hated my photograph being taken and I could only imagine joining a gym with dread.
In my late 30s I promised myself I would not be fat at 40. My husband could see that I was not happy being fat and he suggested a gastric band. We did some research and decided to visit Dr David Ashton in London because we were impressed with the full support and aftercare offered by his team at Healthier Weight.
That meeting was the day that my life changed. Not only was Dr Ashton friendly and informative but he was brutally honest about the whole process. I came away scared because I knew my life would have to change and I cried in the cab all the way back to the station. I was worried about whether I could be happy with the restrictions Dr Ashton had described. It took me a couple of months to come to terms with it all. I was honest with myself and I knew I was not a happy person being fat. I decided to give it a go. My husband promised me that if the band did not work I could have it removed.
The operation went smoothly and I suffered no pain. The weight has fallen off me gradually but steadily*. I used to look forward to going to London for a tightening just to get my official weight loss and catch up with the Healthier Weight staff, always so friendly and encouraging. Now I go to the gym regularly as well as learning to dance salsa. I feel so much better*. The gastric band is my friend now. It is not a no effort magical solution to weight loss but a tool you have to work with. There are some foods that I used to love that I cannot eat now, but being slim far outweighs that. Being fit and energetic and enjoying my new shape is great*. I no longer have to worry about buying clothes, in fact maybe I buy too many now. In short my big decision has transformed my life!*