Procedure of choice - Gastric sleeve
Starting weight - 22 st 1 lb
Current weight - 14 st 8 lb
Total weight loss - 7 st 7 lb
Trigger for weight loss - lack of confidence
I made the decision to have gastric sleeve surgery after over 15 years of unsuccessful dieting. I had tried everything in the book - from the mainstream diet plans to the crazier fad diets - and everything in between. I finally had enough when I had set myself yet another goal and didn't make it. Enough was enough.
I also had some really embarrassing moments that knocked my confidence. A couple of years ago I was removed from a roller-coaster due to my size. The safety harness wouldn't close over my bulk. And at Blackpool Pleasure Beach I got stuck in a turnstile! I realised I wasn't living life to the full, and had basically wasted my 20s by being overweight.
The scales tipped 24 stone and that was it. I was having surgery.
Since October 2015 I have lost nearly 8 stone. I am happy with my progress and feel like a new woman. I still want to lose some more but so far so good. My confidence has come back and I can now hold my head up high.
I have joined an amateur musical theatre group and am now happy to be in the spotlight. I've been in two shows so far, including one on the main stage at The Lowry in Manchester. That was just amazing. I was dancing and singing, not out of breath, and not feeling like every eye was on me because of my size.
I feel so much better. I am no longer wheezing walking up the stairs, or to the shops. My knees aren't hurting anymore so I actually want to take exercise. I can swim for longer and go further - also helped by being less self-conscious getting in and out of the pool.
My friends and family have been so supportive. They've all seen me struggle with my weight - and seen me fail over and over with conventional healthy eating plans. They say I look happier and walk taller; that I am the old me - the one that didn't care what people thought of me - I'm just loud and crazy me - not the "bigger" girl in the corner.
Healthier Weight has been amazing from the start. From the first moment I met Dr Ashton I knew I was in a safe place. During my first consultation I was spoken to like an intelligent human being, and not judged for my weight, or for failing at dieting. At no point did I feel like I was being sold to - everyone was full of advice, the pros and cons, and realistic with me. It's not a miracle cure - it's a tool to use to help on your weight loss journey.
The procedure was quick and simple - I was out of hospital within two days and didn't have any pain. It took a bit of getting used to not being able to eat or drink as much, but that quickly became part of my routine. I don't feel hungry any more and make better decisions when it comes to food.
The follow ups with Healthier Weight are great. I know I can ask them anything - no matter how daft or disgusting. The nurses are understanding and sympathetic - as well as being tough enough to get me back on track if I'm slipping. I know I can get in touch at any time for that extra support and encouragement that we all need from time to time.
All in all I would definitely recommend Healthier Weight, and weight loss surgery. I can honestly say that it's the best decision I've ever made. I think I would have carried on getting bigger and bigger, and more and more downhearted if I hadn't opted for my gastric sleeve. I'm glad I did the research, and I'm glad I went with a great company with fantastic surgeons, nurses and support staff.
Here's to the new me!