As a teenager, Lucy always felt that she was bigger than her friends, but it wasn’t until she turned 18 that gaining weight really started to creep up on her. She says, “I was going to the pub more and drinking with friends, plus I’d eat a lot of snacky stuff like on-the-go sandwiches and wraps which I didn’t think were bad for me. I’d also try and opt for things that said ‘diet’ or ‘light,’ but then eat more of it because I thought they were healthier. Now I realise they were full of secret calories and it all added up.”
Having a desk job at a school reception meant that most of Lucy’s day was spent sitting down, and staff would also often bring in sweet treats for her and her colleague. Gradually, her clothes started feeling tighter. “When I went clothes shopping I’d find myself reaching for the next size up, but I’d try to reassure myself by saying that the shop did smaller sizing than usual,” she admits.
Lucy tried various diets, but if she lost any weight, she ended up putting it back on - and more.
She says, “A colleague had recently had a gastric band fitted and my friend was having a gastric bypass, so I started looking into weight loss surgery. While my mum and my boyfriend Liam weren’t keen on me having surgery, they could see I had done my research and were willing to support me.”
In May 2018, Lucy had her first consultation with Transform Hospital Group and after several more sessions to ensure that a gastric bypass was the right option for her, in July she booked her procedure.
The operation went well, and Lucy faced her recovery with determination. In the first two weeks she lost 6lb, and she felt that suddenly everything had clicked for her. She continues, “As the different stages of the process move on and you gradually begin eating solid foods – although much smaller portions than before - things start to feel normal again, and you realise that you can do this. I didn’t cheat on my post-op diet once as I thought, I’ve just paid to put myself through surgery, there is no way I’m going to mess it up!”
For the weeks that followed she continued losing 5-6lb a week, which then went to 3lb followed by 1-2lb until she plateaued.
These days Lucy has the confidence to show her skin on summer holidays and she enjoys being able to shop for clothes she can’t wait to wear instead of basing her choices on what would cover her up best.
“I have so much more energy and feel so much better for Liam and for my daughter Penny – I’m not embarrassed when she points me out as her mum to her friends. We never used to go to the beach because I hated showing my body, but everything is so different now. While I still have some loose skin around my stomach, I don’t think twice about putting on my swimming costume to play in the sea with Penny.”
Lucy has now lost an incredible 10st 4lb and is often not recognised by parents at school or family members she hasn’t seen for a while. “It has been the best thing for me and I’m so glad I got the surgery when I did. After trying multiple diets, I knew I was ready to commit to it.”
She adds, “It’s been a rollercoaster, but a good one. I now no longer eat my feelings - I know I have to deal with them. If I have a bad day now, I won’t reach for the takeaway menu, I’ll want something nutritious with lots of broccoli so I won’t end up feeling even worse.
“As strange as it sounds, I feel I don’t stand out now, which is lovely. It’s nice to feel that when I walk into the pub or a restaurant people aren’t looking at me because of my size. I don’t have to worry about picnic benches breaking or being insulted about my weight – that self-conscious feeling has gone."