It was the day that I got on the airplane back from France that changed my life. I had been talking to the lady next to me in the queue and we sat together on the plane. As we were seated, she kept trying to push the arm rest all the way down on the seat; I was too ashamed and embarassed to tell her that it was my thigh that was stopping it going down, the pain was terrible but I said nothing. Shortly afterwards the air hostess came round to check we had our seatbelts fastened and I was trying to hide under my coat the fact that I just couldn’t fasten mine. She whipped the coat away and shouted down the plane “Lady here, needs a seatbelt extension”. I wanted to crawl into a hole and die, I was so embarassed. The following morning I woke up and all of my left thigh was covered in bruises and I knew I just could not go on any longer this way. I just didn’t have a life. I have grandchildren that I couldn’t play with, I had arthritis in my knees and hips and I was in constant pain, and I could do hardly any exercise because everything hurt. Coupled with that and almost more importantly to me, I was mentally in a terrible place, I had lost all confidence and had little self esteem and I felt fat, unattractive and ill.
“Why was it I was successful at everything else I did in my life, but I just could not get a grip with my weight??”
I decided there and then, that I would go to my GP and ask for weight loss surgery, I had tried every diet going, I could have started a library with the amount of diet books, self help manuals and exercise videos Ihad, I had joined a gym, joined various weight loss support groups, tried meal replacements, tablets, supplements, you name it, I had tried it. Each time I would lose a bit of the excess weight, but I just couldn’t keep it up for long enough, and the weight would pile back on plus more. Each year I was getting heavier and heavier, and I knew that I was at the stage where I was putting my life at risk. Why was it I was successful at everything else I did in my life, but I just could not get a grip with my weight??
I went to the GP and she took my weight, height etc and referred me for weight loss surgery. However, I was told that I would more than likely have to wait 3 years as the waiting list was that long. Now, only another person with severe weight problems would understand exactly how difficult it was to walk in there and admit I could not do it alone. That I needed to go to what I believed to be the extreme lengths of surgery to stop me from killing myself by overeating. So once I had made that decision I needed to do it quickly, I was already at the end, I just couldn’t go any further!
I went home and started to research surgery with a view to getting it done privately in the UK. I did lots and lots of research about the types of procedures, the surgeons, the clinics and hospitals and the costs. Ultimately, for me the costs were just too prohibitive for me to have it done in the UK. I was looking at about £12k for a gastric sleeve and I could not raise that sort of money.
Whilst I was researching the name of Dr Hruby in the Czech Republic kept coming up with very good reviews. I did some research and found New Leaf and spoke to the founder, Becky Lee, who was fantastic. She had been there for the surgery herself and she made me feel instantly at ease and supported. The CV of the surgeon looked impressive and through the Facebook forum I chatted with other patients who had been there before and felt very secure as they had received such a high standard of care. I was very happy that it was in a hospital and not a clinic and that all of the other departments and ICU were there if anything should go wrong.
I booked my surgery and flew out there with my husband to start my new life. I am not going to go into the details of my hospital stay as you can read that in the many reviews and stories on this website, but suffice to say it was the start of a whole new life for me.
There was, however, something that was praying on my mind. I knew that although I ate too much, it was not just the quantity of food I ate that was the problem, but why I was driven in what seemed like a compulsive way to eat, when I knew what it was doing to my health and happiness.
I decided to take a course to become an Eating Disorder Therapist at the National Centre for Eating Disorders in London and I then embarked on a programme of training in various modalities including Neuro Linguistic Programming, Emotional Freedom Techniques, Hypnotherapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Eating Psychology coaching. Over the next, 12 months as my weight decreased my knowledge increased and I learned my eating triggers, why I ate in such a compulsive way and tactics and strategies I could use to help myself overcome my emotional eating. I felt truly free around food for the first time in my adult life.
I then decided that I would like to help other people to combat their weight problems and feel this same sense of freedom around food that I did. I embarked on a whole new career as an Eating Psychology Coach concentrating mainly on Bariatric patients. My client base grew to a steady 6 at a time (I never take on more than 6 as it is such individualised coaching that it needs a lot of my attention) and I love it! I was getting real results, my clients were telling me that their relationship with food had completely changed, they were losing weight, gaining confidence and feeling great!
I stayed in touch with Becky through the Facebook forum and we had also met up a couple of times for dinner. We became friends and she asked if I would help her with New Leaf. I became a patient co-ordinator and eventually I went on to be the owner of New Leaf myself. I gave up my part time job as a Secondary School Teacher and threw myself into New Leaf on a full time basis.
I am now 2 years after my surgery and I am a healthy BMI, a size 12 and more importantly than anything, I am happier and healthier both physically and mentally than I have ever been. I have a whole new career and at the age of 50 I now feel I will be able to make it to 80 and beyond. My relationship with food has completely changed and I no longer live to eat, I now eat to live. Life is fantastic!
If you feel that my story has inspired you to go on and get some help yourself, be it a a first step to surgery or to have some Eating Psychology coaching to greater understand your relationship with food, or a combination of both, then please contact me via this website and we can have a chat to see how I can help you further.