After a gastric bypass Kim Wall, 40, never thought she’d miss her 24 stone body…
By Helen O’Brien Google
I wiped the beads of sweat from my brow as I slumped on the sofa, exhausted, after another tiring day running after the kids.
Jack, now 16, and Tia, now six, were my world but they were both brimming with energy while I could barely heave myself out of a seat.
At 24 stone, I was massive and the gentlest of movements took it out of me.
With the kids finally tucked up safely in bed, it was time to tuck into some treats.
‘Can you bring through the multipack box of crisps I bought earlier?’ I asked my partner, Marley, 40.
‘Okay love,’ he said, recognising I was too shattered to move.
I polished them all off in front of the TV then dragged myself up the stairs to bed early. I had a doctor’s appointment the next day.
‘We are really worried about your health,’ the GP told me the following morning. ‘I really need you to start losing weight – and soon.’
I gazed down at my huge belly hanging over the waistband of my leggings. You could certainly pinch more than an inch!
But I was accustomed to my roly-poly figure and I’d never been preoccupied by my fleshy folds. I just loved my food too much.
I’d lost a baby at the age of 18 and had used food as a crutch to deal with my loss. My weight quickly ballooned and by my late thirties, I was clinically obese.
I wasn’t unhappy with my build, but my heart ached every time I couldn’t join in with an activity the kids were playing.
Every time I saw their little disappointed faces I felt a wave of guilt. After all, it wasn’t their fault their mum was fat.
My doctor referred me to a consultant who advised that I take drastic action and undergo gastric bypass surgery.
‘Don’t do it,’ warned my mum Muriel, 71. ‘It’s a major operation with major risks.
‘At least have a serious think about it.’
Marley was unsure too. He’d met and fallen in love with me when I was at my biggest.
‘As long as you’re happy,’ he said to me before the operation. ‘Don’t do it for me. I love you as you are’
But I’d tried every diet under the sun and nothing had shifted the excess weight. I’d lose a few pounds one week and then put on triple that amount the following week.
I pictured myself running around with the kids in the park sweat-free – no huffing and puffing. My mind was made up.
I may be happy with my cuddly curves but my children deserved better. They deserved an active, healthy mum.
Plans in place, I went under the knife in April, 2008, and within two months I’d shed three stones.
‘I didn’t recognise you!’ My doctor announced at my three month check-up. ‘You’re losing weight at an incredible rate.’
I pulled at my baggy shirt and nodded. ‘You’re not wrong,’ I said, making a mental note to start shopping for new clothes. I was running out of items that fitted properly.
But it was no wonder that I was shrinking so fast, I could barely eat any food any more. What I managed to swallow, only made my stomach churn.
Six months later, by October that year, I was vomiting all the time. ‘What is wrong with me?’ I thought to myself after another emergency visit to the toilet.
A pregnancy test confirmed that I was carrying my third child. Marley and I were ecstatic but it was a tough pregnancy and I was sick morning, noon and night.
Instead of being full of life, I was tired all the time. But I put that down to the pregnancy and tried as best as I could to carry on.
Despite giving birth to my baby boy Theo in April, I’d lost ten stone in ten months.
My new figure looked fantastic but my new lifestyle left a lot to be desired.
‘Is that all you’re eating?’ Marley asked me one day as we sat around the dinner table. ‘That can’t possibly be enough to fill you up.’
In truth, my stomach felt full-to-bursting. One morsel more and I’d have to pay for it.
‘I can’t eat any more,’ I bristled, my eyes filling with tears as I pushed my plate away. ‘I’ll suck on an ice cube.’
‘No one can function on an ice cube,’ Marley added.
‘I have no choice,’ I sighed. ‘I wish I could eat more, but I can’t stomach it.’
Later that night, as I lay in bed, Marley closed his arms around me.
‘Are you OK babe?’ He whispered, nuzzling his chin into my neck.
‘I just miss being able to enjoy my food,’ I replied. ‘I’ve got no energy and I can’t stop shrinking.’
Marley held me tight. ‘I miss your curves,’ he said. ‘I liked having something to hold on to.’
I didn’t blame him. Since my fuller figure had disappeared, so had my appetite for sex. Not only did I not have the strength to sleep with my partner, my frail body ached when he climbed on top of me.
I also missed simple pleasures, like a nice hot bath.
When I was a bigger, I loved nothing more than a relaxing soak in the tub to escape the demands of being a mum. Now the hard enamel pressed too hard on my spine.
Even sitting on a hard seat had become excruciating. In my bigger days I’d never imagined that a chair could hurt your bum!
In the two-and-a-half years since I’d had the life-changing procedure, I had dropped a whopping 16 stones and could slip into tiny size six clothes. A far cry from my size 26 baggy, tent-like outfits.
‘You’re wasting away,’ my mum said to me after I arrived at her house one day and took off my jacket.
‘Your clothes are hanging off you.’
‘I can’t find anything to fit me,’ I protested. ‘Everything seems to drown me these days.’
Ironically, I used to struggle to find clothes to fit my size 24 frame but now I couldn’t find them small enough. I never thought I’d ever sympathise with skinny women!
Most women dream of having a tiny size six figure but my dramatic weight loss has come at a heavy price.
Unable to eat proper meals, I simply don’t have the energy to function.
I buy a few bags of ice each week, and munch my way through a pint of ice cubes throughout the day. Most foods make me feel nauseous. It’s heartbreaking.
‘We could go out for a lovely candle-lit dinner for two,’ Marley suggested one night when the kids were at their gran’s.
‘I can’t just suck on an ice cube in a restaurant!’ I replied. ‘It would be weird watching you eat while I nibbled on a breadstick.’
Marley looked at me with big sad eyes. I felt terrible. He had been nothing less than supportive of me and now he couldn’t sit down to enjoy a tasty meal with his woman.
But I could just about come to terms with that change.
The main reason I was struggling to cope with my new body, was that my dream of being an energetic mum had not come true.
I’d gone from being too fat to move to too weak and undernourished to be hands-on. My kids were still suffering.
I thought the op would be a quick fix, that if I had the dream body, I’d have a dream life too – but I couldn’t be more wrong.
I might look good in my size six outfits but I feel awful. I actually felt healthier when I was obese.
I’ve also been told by doctors that I’m unable to carry anymore children as my body wouldn’t be able to cope.
However they are currently investigating my dramatic weight loss so I have high hopes that my life will improve again and that I’ll be able to one day stomach more food.
I still dream of having enough energy to leap around with my kids.
I completely regret the gastric bypass, I wish I’d never done it. It’s taken me to shrink to a skeletal eight stone to realise the shocking truth – that I was happier fat.
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