I began having problems with food in my early teens. Food became both a reward to me and a punishment. I ate to make myself feel better and I ate when I felt full of self loathing. I also withheld food from myself for the same reasons, I felt good if I didn’t give in to hunger and eat but I also starved myself because I felt disgusted with myself thereby inflicting my punishment. This unhealthy relationship with food took me through my teens and into my 20’s. I married and became pregnant with my first child and made the decision to try and eat regularly so that my pregnancy was healthy, however, I found it hard to feel full and my weight started increasing until after 3 children and countless diets I weighed 18 stone. I spent all of my 30’s trying to lose weight. I would lose 3 stone repeatedly and then put 3 1/2 back on. My confidence was so low and I hated the way I looked and felt. In late December 2006 I weighed over 20 stone and felt desperate. I asked for a referral for weight loss surgery and was sent to a local surgeon with experience of the procedures. Several months and various assessments later I had my surgery on 31/3/2007.
I had a few problems with referred pain initially but my recovery was otherwise straightforward and 2 weeks later I was back at work. It took time to adapt to the band, once the healing was over I had the old feelings of hunger back and struggled not to revert to old grazing habits. It also took a while to get a fill that made me feel restricted enough but with the support of the surgeon and his team, slowly and surely I began losing weight
2 years down the line I have had a few minor ups and downs. I had a period of acid reflux that was very uncomfortable and resulted in my band being loosened whilst awaiting an endoscopy. That was very difficult over Christmas and resulted in 3 kilos of regained weight!! I soon got back on track and am currently 5 ¾ stone lighter than I was.
A gastric band can be difficult to live with; it is not a decision to be taken lightly. It can be temperamental, at times it won’t let you eat and you have to wait an hour or so and then try again. It can at times also be painful to eat; however, I have never regretted my decision to have one. I am healthier, more confident and I feel I have got my life back!
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