A constant cycle of feeling unhappy. From mental battles for as long as she can remember, to starting diet programs at the age of 12, Victoria was filled with constant self-doubt which ultimately led to a decline in her mental health and resulting depression. Victoria “stopped looking in mirrors” and never wanted any pictures taken that would include her. A lot of us will find it hard to imagine what this feels like, but sadly for many people like Victoria, this is a common feeling that becomes part of their everyday life.
Victoria resorted to the coping mechanism of comfort eating to deal with the negative emotions she was experiencing. “The more it plays on your mind, the more I thought, I may as well”, leaving Victoria in a vicious cycle, with what seemed to be no way out.
Until Victoria considered the weight loss surgery as a tool to help her take back control…
Victoria works as a beauty therapist; she discovered weight loss surgery when one of her clients came in and shared her journey with the Gastric Sleeve procedure. Victoria shared that “after that, I was so in the zone I immediately knew it was something I wanted to do.”
Once getting home, she “did what everyone does” and started her research into weight loss surgery options online, beginning her journey towards a new life. “I started looking into the Gastric Sleeve and I remember speaking to my mum about it, we decided I needed to get it done by a good company so that I knew I was in safe hands.” Once getting that reassurance from her loved ones, Victoria decided to continue the process of improving her health and well-being by taking control of her weight.
“I investigated going directly with hospitals, but I realised that the consultations and aftercare coming in one package with Healthier Weight would make it so much more convenient for me. Allowing me to get it all organised in one.”
Once Victoria had discovered she could get a free quote with Healthier Weight, she continued to follow through with a consultation and finally book in her surgery date shortly afterwards!
When surgery day came around
When the day comes around for many patients, nerves tend to build up and it becomes quite a scary concept, but Victoria felt nothing but excitement. “I remember speaking to my mum and she was really scared for me, she asked ‘are not at least a little bit scared?’ but I remember saying ‘no, I can’t wait’.”
Victoria surprised herself with her reaction as the surgery day came closer, “I thought I would be crying about the thought of being put to sleep. Instead, as the day went on, from sitting in the waiting area to being taken to my room and meeting my surgeon for the first time, I only felt more at ease with the process.” The main thing Victoria was focused on was the chance she was going to get at a new life, not only for her, but for her daughter.
Life since surgery
Since having her surgery Victoria has lived a completely different life, losing an incredible 7 stone.
Victoria is now free of the constant knee and back pain that used to make it a struggle for her to get around. Because of this she can now get up and perform activities she could have never done before, “I can even go to the gym and work as normal without worrying about my health.” She can also do everyday tasks without “getting out of breath anymore” meaning these tasks no longer bother her. She can now go on daily walks and family trips, where she can truly enjoy experiencing time with her loved ones and create new memories.
There are many varied factors in life that people living with obesity worry about, but there is one common fear that comes with people who struggle with their body’s appearance… holidays. Victoria used to dread going abroad, instead of looking forward to relaxing by the pool or on the beach, the outfit she wore would cause the opposite effect, dominating her mind. She was constantly concerned with the way she looked, “the only way I could encourage myself to go out wearing swimwear was if I told myself I’ll look better after I’ve got a tan or that nobody around that knows me will see me anyway.” This all changed after her weight loss surgery. When going on holiday she can now “finally put on a bikini and not wonder about whether I made the right decision” meaning she can now “look in the mirror and be happy.”
As well as this, she can plan her day full of activities, knowing that when she goes out, she’s not worried about “who and what is around” because of her weight, resulting in her wearing baggy clothes to hind behind. The confidence she has built within herself has opened her up to so many opportunities for herself and her family. “My daughter was only 4 when I had the surgery, but I never realised how much my sadness was affecting my little girl.” Victoria now has a more positive attitude when going out with her daughter knowing that she can now keep up with her and feel less self-conscious.
The people around her have also noticed the changes in how Victoria carries herself, pointing out her successes. “My dad tells me how well I’m doing whereas before he wouldn’t say a word about my weight,” which is a huge motivation for Victoria. She explained, “hearing how proud your parents are of you is something everyone wants to hear.” Her weight and mental health before the surgery were always something her family would worry about. So, seeing how much her life has changed has not only had a positive effect on Victoria but also on her loved ones.
Finding the confidence to share your journey
Before the operation, Victoria only spoke to her parents about the surgery. “I didn’t tell people initially because I wanted to focus on myself.” Once the surgery was over, however, Victoria felt more comfortable telling her friends. “They were all happy for me, I put the work in and paid for a better life, so I was proud of myself, and it was nice to see they were as well.” Victoria shared with us that she wants to encourage all bariatric patients to take pride in their journey and not be ashamed of it. “You will always get some negative responses to anything you do in life, but little do they know about your experiences. So let the world know! It’s you that puts in all this hard work so why shouldn’t you get praise for it?”
What’s in store for Victoria’s now?
Victoria can now plan new goals and add exciting things to her bucket list, that she never would have considered before! “I really want to go sky diving which I know sounds crazy, but it’s something I never would have been able to do before because of my weight.” She is also excited to go swimming with sharks the next time she goes away!
With weight loss surgery it’s often easier to see the physical transformations more than the mental ones however, often the changes in your mental health are more important. This is what has given Victoria the courage alongside her weight loss to take on these new experiences in her future. Weight loss surgery is a great tool to aid in a more positive mental attitude by breaking free of those unhealthy eating habits that are often part of a restrictive diet regime. Having both a happy, healthy body AND mind is the perfect recipe for a fulfilled life and longer-lasting results.
We are so proud of you Victoria for everything you have achieved, and we hope you continue to have success on your weight loss surgery journey and inspire others along the way.