The VANISHING bridesmaid! Wedding snap made me shed 12 stone in six months

The vanishing bridesmaid

by take-a-break |
Updated on

After a nasty shock at my friend’s wedding, I was desperate to make a change. But would it be the silver lining I’d hoped for? By Lisa Lofthouse, 38

Gastric bypass loses half bodyweight

I stared at the bridesmaid as she climbed out of the car in her strapless lilac dress, and promptly burst into tears.

‘Look at that,’ I said to my husband Dave. ‘I look enormous.’

We were flicking through the photos from my friend Jemma’s wedding.

It had been a lovely day and I’d been thrilled to be her bridesmaid but the photos were a stark reminder of the struggles I was facing.

At 33, I weighed 24 stone and wore a size 28-30.

I knew I was too big and I was trying to lose weight. But it wasn’t that simple.

I’d battled with my body since I was 10 and, over the years, I’d tried every diet going. But I had polycystic ovary syndrome and that made it hard for me to lose weight.

Desperate, I’d been to the doctor who’d put me on a list for a gastric bypass. But that was five years earlier and I was still waiting.

Now, seeing those wedding photos, I felt worse than ever.

But I was about to get a lucky break.

Soon after, the phone rang and it was the hospital with news.

'You've got to have something'

‘Your weight loss surgery has been scheduled,’ I was told.

I was over the moon.

In preparation, I was put on to a liquid-only diet for three weeks to shed a few pounds.

It was hard. With three kids, life was hectic and I got through the days by snacking on biscuits and crisps. But I was determined to have that operation, so I stuck to the diet and lost a stone.

The day before my op, however, I got another phone call.

‘We’re going to have to cancel,’ a nurse told me. ‘We don’t have a bed available.’

I was disappointed but a few months later, my surgery was rebooked and Dave drove me to hospital.

‘Good luck,’ he told me.

As I was wheeled into the operating theatre, I tried to focus on the new life I’d have when I woke up.

But when I came round seven hours later, I was in serious pain.

gastric bypass loses half bodyweight

The surgeon had reduced the size of my stomach by 90 per cent so I expected some discomfort, but it was worse than I’d imagined.

And that wasn’t the only problem.

Back at home in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, I was instructed to follow a liquid diet again and I lived on soup and puréed mushy peas. But I could barely force myself to eat even that.

I felt so nauseous and many of my old favourites such as bread and eggs made me throw up.

‘You’ve got to have something,’ Dave would say, as I pushed little bits of food around my plate.

But I couldn’t stomach much at all.

As a result, the weight dropped off me. In six months, I lost 12 stone — half my body weight — and I was down to a dress size 12-14.

I was bang on my target and Dave said: ‘How about we go out for a meal to celebrate?’

‘No chance,’ I replied. ‘What would I eat?’

gastric bypass loses half bodyweight

It felt so strange. I’d gone from enjoying food to living off protein shakes and crackers because they didn’t make me sick.

Of course, I was glad to be losing the pounds. My friends and family were supportive and my daughter, Sarah-Ann, 11, kept telling me how beautiful I was.

But the weight loss was tougher emotionally than I’d expected.

One morning, I held up my favourite pair of jeans and found myself bursting into tears when I realised they were miles too big for me.

As I stared in the mirror, I thought: Who is that woman? I don’t even recognise myself.

By now I was getting by on barely 600 calories a day and I was beginning to wonder if the weight loss would ever stop. I was vanishing before my own eyes.

So, 10 months after the operation, I went back to the doctor, who sent me for an endoscopy to see if anything was wrong.

When the results came back, he said: ‘There’s a kink in your intestine. That would explain your nausea.’

I was glad to have an explanation, even though the doctor wasn’t sure there was anything that could be done.

So, I tried to focus on the positives.

I had more energy than ever before and could run about with the kids without getting breathless.

And my confidence had grown, too.

On holiday in Lanzarote, I wore a bikini top and shorts by the pool, and even went paragliding.

‘Well, I never thought I’d be able to do that!’ I said to Dave.

Now, a year on from my surgery, I’m pleased I went ahead with my gastric bypass but I want to tell other people thinking of doing the same that it isn’t a quick fix, either physically or emotionally.

It’s been a long journey with ups and downs along the way. But I’m determined to make the most of the new me.

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