This is not a sad story of loneliness or having a miserable time at school, I was lucky, I was always popular and happy with life in general, but not by what face I saw in the mirror every day and with a milestone birthday looming on the horizon I had taken a long hard look at myself, I had been on a path that many people with weight issues had travelled on, made up lots of excuses, tried every diet both the sensible and the downright bizarre before I decided that I needed to change something about the way I dealt with what was becoming an ever increasing problem, that was getting more difficult to tackle.
Having already had some fantastic, no nonsense help from a friend, and author Steve Miller, (the bloke of GMTV and author of get of your arse and loose weight), I decided that the direct approach was what I needed and it was time to face reality it was me that made me fat and me that could do something about it, but hey we all need some help.
I realized two very important things:
1. That I was an expert and very good at "dieting", and could stick to what ever current diet was fashionable, loose weight and stick to it, that wasn't the problem the issue seemed to be that I could only manage it for a fixed length of time before stopping and going back to what I
had done before, and of course put the weight back on, confirming that dieting really can make you fat or rather fatter.
2. Like many fat people my diet in itself was packed with all sorts of good stuff, all the food groups for healthy living, including all things organic, brown and whole meal and not forgetting the required 5 a day, or rather 10 a day in my case, what can I say, I like fruit and veg.....I am just very good at eating, I eat when happy or sad, because there us a Y in the day and generally just ate far, far to much and didn't (just prior to my op.) or couldn't manage to do much exercise, giving me an excess of calories every week, which were deposited
for all to see all over, bum, tum, legs, arms, face, neck, back - back fat, lovely, even on fingers and toes, flipping every where.
I decided that rather than view my multitude of attempts at weight loss as failures, I should view them as successes, as it showed that I had the ability to achieve weight loss, what I needed was a different approach to the weight, and no, I don't mean the element of surprised, colonic irrigation anyone?! Need I say more, I am talking about taking a very different view from "dieting", what I wanted was to be able to find something that suited me, I am a normal person, well ok that is maybe stretching things, but I didn't want to drink milk-shakes for every meal, or have green and red days or count points, I wanted to be normal and eat the things that I wanted to and liked, so decided to research the options that would help with the excess volumes of food I was eating. I know that it might sound like the solution is very simple, reduce your portions, smaller plate, plate with measure sections, handful of protein etc., but that doesn't help me, I knew I would need something else and not really sure what, but also need some help and support, not just from my friends and family, who have been amazing, but help just for me from people that knew what it felt like to be fat.
As I work in media I well aware of the hoo-ha around Anne Diamond and was intrigued by the fuss made about Fern Britton and gastric bandgate, interestedenough to investigate further for myself.
Following, my extensive investigations beware reader, there are a lot of companies out there who promise all sorts, I decided that Michelle and the team at the WLS Group would be a company that I would like to talk to and a good starting point. I am so glad that I made that initial call, as without wishing to get too soppy and emotional it has really turned out to be a life changing moment for me. The appointment was made, which resulted in panic diet mode from me, as I hadn't stepped on the scales in a long long time and there is no way that I wanted to see someone about my weight without doing a bit of something first, yes I know, sad, but true, those of you that have done the same will know what I mean, or you will have done the reverse and donned thick jumpers, heavy weight clothing so that the next time you are weighed, which will be without jewellery, belts, and underwear, even big knickers don't weigh that much, (I know I've weighed them!!!) you will have a massive weight loss.... been there done that and old habits do die very hard, sorry Wendy if your reading this.
Before my appointment, which I had decided, was just an enquiry, by the way, Michelle called me herself to talk to me and answer any questions that I might have, very, very impressive, I had begun to make a connection without even knowing them and it had begun to feel right, these were my kind of people, no flannel and fancy sales talk, they just knew and identified with how I felt.
The rest really is history, I met Wendy who is just fantastic, it is not just the fat that she is lovely, but by heck she knows her stuff, and that was very important to me and again she just has a great instinct and understood me very well. As I said before I was just making enquiries, but by the time the consultation had finished I had already decided that I was going to have gastric band surgery in Belgium and what WLS group could offer me was a missing piece of my jigsaw; they would give me the tools and support I needed to help me achieve what I wanted to. All very exciting and slightly scary stuff.
I travelled to Belgium and had my surgery with the delightful Dr Dillamens, was given amazing care during my visit by everyone from WLS and the medical and nursing team. The start of a very interesting journey. Now I will be honest, having a surgical procedure is not something to do without lots of thought and consideration, it is not a magic cure for eating too much, WLS and their medical experts are fantastic, they are providing you with tools to help you, its not easy, I have had my moments - loosing weight will make you feel tons better, no aching knees or bad back and the indigestion that has plagued me for years has gone and I now fit into size 10 instead of size 22 clothes, however, a word of warning, you have to face up to the things that are troubling you and deal with them, rather than smooth over them with cake, crisps or chocolate and that does take a bit of practice.
The consultation visits with Wendy have been a pleasure, and the encouragement and support from all of the team, Colleen, Steve and Michelle invaluable. Thanks everyone.
The website has also bee a great source of help and I love the forums, if you haven't done so, check them out.
The million dollar questions:
Would I do it again?
With bells on.
Has it been easy?
No but I have worked hard and have achieved what I wanted to.
Has the support and help from WLS Group been good?
Exceptional, I really believe that you need the long term support they offer to achieve success.
Would I recommend them to a close friend or relative?
Already have and will continue to do so.
Yes. Wish I had done it before I was 40 rather than 50.........but hey what a present to give to yourself, a healthy new body and anyway, 50 is the new 40.
The plus side and the future
Not being plus sized any more has some plus of its own and of course there are huge health benefits, but sometimes its the little things that make the difference:
Being able to bend down without making strange noises from either end.
Full length boots that zip up all the way without stopping your circulation.
Shopping, who knew there were more than two shops that sold clothes to fit me, there are hundreds out there and I am determined to visit them all, including the posh ones.
Fastening the seatbelt and not spilling onto the next seat on a plane or train.
Being able to wrap a beach towel all the way around my body without exposing myself and traumatising people of the beach.
Being able to wear a shirt with a collar without looking too blousey.
Buying a normal sized bracelet.
Wearing a size 10 bikini.
Hanging out the washing, so much more space and underwear that doesn't look like it belongs to a pantomime dame, fire bucket bra anyone.
I am able to get back onto a horse again, after 20 years out of the saddle.
Being winched down 100 foot into a pothole, and climbing up a mountian.
Going on the big one at Blackpool pleasure beach - (yet to do...) Dec 19
And all because I am well and truly worth it
Click here to view Linda's interview on GMTV