I thought a gastric bypass would solve all my problems, but it was just the beginning…
By Norah Ameri, 21, from Worksop, Nottinghamshire
Gazing into my eyes, my fiance Chris took my hand in his. We were out for a romantic dinner and things couldn’t have been more perfect.
But, right on cue, I felt my stomach lurch. Dropping Chris’ hand, I made a beeline for the loo.
Just in the nick of time, I threw open the cubicle door and vomited violently.
It wasn’t that I had a tummy bug, or that the food was a bit dodgy. This happened almost every time we went out for dinner.
You see, I’d had a gastric bypass operation three years previously.
Aged just 18 and tipping the scales at a whopping 20 stone, doctors had warned me I was at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
I’d piled on the pounds by eating loads of carbs and never having dinner at the right time.
I’d been living with my parents in Abu Dhabi and they had private health insurance. Surgeons offered to cut away part of my stomach and told me it wouldn’t cost a penny.
“Yes, please!” I said, dreaming of being slim and stunning.
But when I came round from surgery, I felt awful. For weeks, I was sick constantly and could only eat soup.
I assumed it was just my body getting used to such a massive change, but months passed and I could barely keep anything down.
The weight fell off, though. In just a month, I’d lost two stone.
“Maybe you could try some solids now,” one nurse suggested.
But it took me over an hour to eat a single meatball – and I threw it straight back up.
Over the next year, things didn’t get much better. I could barely manage a few mouthfuls of mashed potato without having to dash for the loo.
My body was so lacking in nutrients that my hair started to fall out and I developed a blood disorder called anaemia.
By the time I moved back to the UK just after my 19th birthday, I was a whopping 10 stone lighter, wearing tiny size 10 clothes.
But I’d lost the weight so quickly, I had huge folds of saggy skin on my stomach, back, thighs and arms.
I hated my naked body and convinced myself I’d never find love. I looked into having my excess skin removed but the cost was £20,000 – money I just didn’t have.
However, a few months later, I met Chris through friends.
“You’re stunning,” he told me.
I was sure he’d run a mile when he saw my saggy skin, but he told me I was beautiful as I was.
Still, I felt really insecure when things got passionate.
I always wore a T-shirt to bed and I insisted Chris turn the lights off before we got amorous.
It didn’t put Chris off, though. Last year, we bought our first house together and I couldn’t believe it when he got down on one knee and pulled out a diamond ring.
“Will you marry me?” he grinned.
“Of course!” I cried, hugging him. “Yes, yes!”
But there was just one thing putting me off a big white wedding.
“I can’t get married with my saggy skin!” I said.
And the thought of going on honeymoon and wearing a bikini on the beach? Forget it!
Thankfully, Chris was really understanding – but I know he’s desperate to get me down the aisle.
I hate my saggy skin so much I’ve actually started trying to gain weight to make it look less obvious.
I still struggle with lots of foods, but I can manage lots of bread if I dip it in soup and popcorn seems to stay down, too.
I was desperate for a size 10 body, so it might seem strange to some that I’ve deliberately put on over three stone.
But no one told me about the side effects of a gastric bypass and I thought it would be a quick fix.
Instead, the op has ruined my life and destroyed my confidence.
When I look at pictures of me before my surgery, I’m always smiling. I might have been large, but I look carefree and happy.
I’m still hoping to have my skin removed. I’m not sure how I’ll find the money but there has to be a way.
Perhaps then I’ll walk down the aisle as the beautiful bride I’ve always dreamed of being.
I might look slim and stunning, but the truth is I was happier at 20 stone.
When Norah lost weight through gastric surgery she thought it would be the answer to all her problems. So when she found she was actually happier fat, she wanted to share her story to warn other women to really think through a gastric bypass. We helped her sell her story to Closer and Real People, reaching a wide audience and negotiating the best price. If you have a weight loss story you want to tell, fill in the form on the right and we’ll contact you to discuss the process.