Jilted… for the £27,000 bride
At 18 stone Tsia, 34, hated her size 24 frame. So when her boyfriend proposed she was jolted into drastic action in a desperate bid to be a slim bride…
I looked in the mirror and sighed. I hated the wobbly figure staring back at me. At a whopping 18 stone and a dress size 24, my confidence, and my health, had hit rock bottom.
The pounds had starting piling on when I was just 11 years old, and it seemed that no amount of dieting or exercising would shift them. I was bullied so much that I was sent to three different schools between the age of 11 and 15 – all because I was bigger than the other kids.
Teenage shopping trips would end in tears – nothing looked nice on me. When I left school, life didn’t get much easier. I found a boyfriend during my late teens but he teased her for being ‘too fat’, leaving deep emotional scars.
But even though I’d been overweight for most of my life, I’d never gotten used to the reflection staring back at me. It just didn’t feel like me at all.
“I feel really frumpy,” I moaned to my fiance, Alastair, as I smoothed the baggy t-shirt over my flabby frame.
“You always look amazing to me,” he soothed, kissing my forehead.
I was working as a receptionist at a taxi firm in Bolton when I first spoke to Alastair, 33, in 2003. He’d only phoned for a taxi but I was immediately attracted to his voice, he sounded so warm and friendly. For months we swapped messages and chatted on the phone before finally, I plucked up the courage to meet him.
I was certain he’d be put off by my size but Alastair didn’t bat an eyelid. Our relationship quickly blossomed. Two years later, in 2005, he proposed. I wanted nothing more than to marry Alastair and accepted immediately.
But that’s when the panic set in and it hit me: this horrific vision of me waddling down the aisle in a bulging bridal dress. I was 18 stone and wore a size 24!
I knew Alastair loved me for who I was but I longed to be a beautiful, slim bride. I had to act – and fast.
For weeks I wondered what I could do. Diets, fasting, exercise plans, I’d tried them all. Every time I had failed.
As a result of my weight, I also had severe polycystic ovarian syndrome, which as well as drastically threatening my fertility also made it far harder for me to stick to diets.
One day, while cleaning the house, I had my lightbulb moment.
I could sell this place, and get a gastric band operation.
I didn’t have much in the way of savings – but I did own my own house. If I sold it, I could afford to completely transform my body.
I could start again. The thought made me laugh out loud, and I quickly called Alastair to tell him about my idea.
We were planning to move in together anyway, into his home in Lincolnshire, so I would still have a roof over my head.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” He asked, amazed at my radical idea. “You know I will always love you, no matter what size you are.”
“It’s not completely for you,” I admitted. “I’ve never felt comfortable this big. I need to do this for me. I want to look beautiful on my wedding day.”
I’d bought my home in Bolton when I was just 20 and my family were proud of me for getting on the property ladder so young.
But the idea of being forever fat and frumpy terrified me so, despite the memories, I put it on the market.
As the offers came in, I declined a couple at first but as time went on a creeping sense of desperation set in.
I want my new body now, I don’t want to wait any longer for the new me…
The house had been on the market for 10 months when I finally accepted an offer. It was £20,000 below my asking price but I just wasn’t prepared to wait any longer for my fresh start.
As I completed the negotiations a wave of joy came over me as I realised that my new life was about to begin. I pocketed around £80,000 as a result of the sale and wasted no time in paying off the rest of my mortgage – around £55,000 – and putting the rest to one side to pay for my dream wedding body transformation.
In February 2006 I had my first consultation for the gastric band surgery in London, for an overseas company in Belgium. I booked the £8,000 operation for the following April and I couldn’t wait.
On the very first flight, Alastair came with me and held my hand while I bounced nervously on my seat. I was practically shaking with excitement and fear about the days ahead. I couldn’t quite believe I was about to have the surgery I had dreamt about for so long.
The operation was a complete success and resulted in me losing a staggering ten stone. I was deliriously happy – but I was left with saggy skin and other issues – so I decided to book in further operations.
Between 2006 and 2008, I made several trips overseas and went on to have arm and thigh lifts at a total cost of £4,000, breast uplifts at £3,500, implants for £3,000 and then liposuction for £700.
The incredible transformation set me back over £19,000 and with travel and accommodation back and forth to Belgium the sum soared to £22,000.
It wasn’t cheap but I didn’t care about the cost. I knew that every painful operation would be worth the end result. And it was.
“I just want to hurry up and heal,” I smiled to Alastair as I pulled at my bandages. “I can’t wait to look in the mirror and see the new me.”
I even threw in laser eye surgery and as I began to see the results, I could feel my confidence soaring. That to me was worth its weight in gold. I felt like a brand new person and for the first time in my life, I felt sexy. It was a new feeling – I had never felt attractive before, and I absolutely loved it.
I soon slimmed down to a slinky size 10 and my breasts shrunk to a 36FF from a size 44GG. Finally, I began attracting attention from strangers – for all the right reasons.
Men would pay me attention and people I had known for years would run up to me in the street.
“Is that really you Tsia? I didn’t recognise you, you look absolutely amazing!” One friend beamed when she saw me.
And Alastair couldn’t believe the change in my confidence.
“You’re like a new woman!” he kept saying. “I love seeing you so happy.”
The final operation on my list was a tummy tuck. The procedure, scheduled for April 2009, would complete my bridal body transformation, and I was really excited.
But two months before I was due to have the operation I felt a little strange. I’d always been told that because of my PCOS I’d be unlikely to conceive, so I put it down to just feeling under the weather. But to be on the safe side, I took a pregnancy test.
It was then that I made my shocking discovery – I was pregnant! Incredibly, a trip to the doctor revealed that I was actually 16 weeks along. We were over the moon – it felt like a miracle.
We had to put our wedding plans on hold in order to have a family and my new body began to change again – but I didn’t mind. Both Alastair and I were overjoyed. Finally, I felt that my life was complete.
Our beautiful baby boy, Mylo, was born in August 2009 and just two months later, in October, I had my final tummy tuck, worth £5,000, to get rid of my remaining saggy skin, which the NHS agreed to fund.
I have felt like a brand new woman ever since. I feel like a proper ‘yummy mummy’ and we finally tied the knot in May this year – on our ten year anniversary.
When I put my slim-fit size 12 dress on and walked down the aisle towards Alastair, my eyes welled up with tears. I was overwhelmingly happy.
I felt like the luckiest bride in the world. I don’t regret selling my house to fund my surgery for one minute – it’s easily the best thing I ever did.
If you’ve got a story like Tsia’s have you thought about sharing it in a magazine? Find out how we can help you in our step by step guide. And if you missed Louise’s gastric surgery journey from earlier in our Summer Slim-speration series it’s not too late to check out how she lost 15 stone.