Woman who was put on a diet at the age of TEN and lost all hope of feeling ‘normal’ at 25st reveals how she finally transformed her life with a gastric sleeve
- Imogen Wilson, 26, from West Sussex, UK, felt ashamed of her 25-stone weight
- In May 2018 she paid £10,000 to undergo gastric sleeve surgery privately
- The recruitment consultant has since shed ten stone and now weighs 15 stone
A woman who was placed on a diet at the age of ten and felt ashamed of her size 32 figure has undergone gastric sleeve surgery and now she hopes to end the taboo surrounding weight loss surgery.
Recruitment consultant, Imogen Wilson, 26, from Crawley, West Sussex, UK, whose weight started increasing from the age of eight, grew up knowing she was heavier than most children her age.
However, over the years, Imogen, who was placed on a diet by the time she reached ten, lost her self-confidence and became increasingly ashamed of her figure, losing any hope of ever feeling ‘normal’.
She was also too scared to do anything social due to the crippling fear of anyone looking at her 25-stone frame which she tried to conceal under size 32 clothing.
Imogen Wilson (left before weight loss and right after), 26, from Crawley, West Sussex, UK, went from a 25 stone frame to 15 stone
The recruitment consultant (pictured before weight loss journey) said she was placed on a diet at the age of ten and had felt ashamed of her figure as a child
Imogen (left before weight loss and right after) even tried calorie counting before her weight loss but the practice only proved to be a losing battle
Imogen then tried calorie counting but it proved to be a losing battle, and as her confidence plummeted, she avoiding travelling for fear she wouldn’t fit in a plane seat, and also refused to date.
In early 2018, Imogen decided she had spent enough time shying away from life and she felt compelled to make a change, leading her to research weight loss surgery.
She had previously feared weight loss surgery because she had assumed she would not be able to eat normally after, but upon looking into it she realised this was not the case.
In May 2018, Imogen paid £10,000 for a gastric sleeve and she has since been able to shed an incredible ten stone bringing her current weight to 15 stone.
The dramatic change has seen her confidence soar and has also enabled her to go into shops in order to buy size 16 clothes.
She said: ‘My weight was a concern pretty much from birth, but I started putting weight on properly from the age of eight and was on a diet by the time I was ten.
‘I was very overweight from a young age and I always struggled. Growing up, I saw doctors and dieticians, but nothing really helped.
‘As a child, I was told “eat less, move more”. I was also told to keep a food diary which was assessed. I was a very fit and active child, and always fought to lose weight, but it was a losing battle.
‘I was put on a diet from around ten, mainly eating fresh food. I had tuna salad every day at school, to the point my friends convinced themselves I would get mercury poisoning as I ate it so often.
Prior to her gastric sleeve surgery, Imogen refused to go on dates and would avoiding travel due fears of not fitting in a plane sea
Imogen (left and right after surgery) began to research weight loss surgery in depth before opting to undergo the surgery in May 2018
Prior to her journey, Imogen (left before transformation and right after) would feel uncomfortable to simply sit in a room before she felt people were looking at her but she has now noticed a change in her confidence
‘By the time I left school, I had given up hope of ever being ”normal”. My weight affected every aspect of my life; I suffered from a crippling lack of self-confidence, I became so ashamed, I was scared to do almost anything.
‘Even sitting in a room with people made me uncomfortable because I knew they were looking at me.
‘My diet has always been general calorie counting and carb restriction. Whenever I came off a strict diet, the weight would pile on – my record is putting on a stone and a half in two weeks. My body always seemed to fight against me.
‘I always felt different. I couldn’t participate in group activities. I was always embarrassed and shy, so I never did anything out of my comfort zone.
‘My weight impacted every single aspect of my life. I haven’t travelled for 10 years because I was so scared of the plane seats. I avoided dating completely as I was so embarrassed, and I never pursued a career because I just didn’t have the confidence.’
Following the surgery, Imogen now works out in the gym and has also completed a 10K race
Imogen (left before surgery and right after) decided to undergo the gastric sleeve in May 2018 privately
Imogen (pictured with her partner) said the surgery has given her the chance she needed to lose weight
After researching weight loss surgery in depth, Imogen opted for a gastric sleeve rather than a gastric bypass as her young age was an important factor, and she did not want to live with the restrictions of a gastric bypass for the rest of her life.
The surgery and subsequent weight loss have drastically changed how Imogen views herself as she now feels confident and proud of herself every day.
Now she regularly works out in the gym and has also completed a 10K race, much to her own amazement.
She continued: ‘One day, I simply decided to do something about it and I started researching weight loss surgery.
‘I always thought it was a massive, life changing surgery and I wouldn’t be able to eat normally again, but after meeting with my incredible bariatric surgeon, I knew there was nothing to be scared of.
‘I had a gastric sleeve in May 2018 privately for £10,000 and have since lost ten stone. The sleeve is an incredible procedure.
‘They remove 80 per cent of your stomach so you can only eat small portions, but more importantly, it removes the portion of your stomach that produces the hunger hormone, so you don’t feel hungry.
She went on to explain that the surgery involved removing 80 per cent of her stomach so that she could only eat small portions
Following her surgery, Imogen has developed a love of exercise and goes to the gym regularly
‘It also speeds up the digestive process and therefore speeds up the metabolic rate. All of this comes together to help you lose weight. A day after the surgery I felt back to normal and was back at work a week later.
‘After surgery, as there isn’t much room, you focus on eating protein. I joined a gym after one week and eight days post-op I was swimming.
‘This has developed into a love of exercise and now I go the gym all the time and recently completed a 10K race, but before I couldn’t even run for 10 seconds.
‘Surgery has given me the chance to lose weight. I tried so many times and the weight always went back on, but this has given me the shot I needed. You still have to diet and exercise, it just changes your metabolism to make the weight loss achievable.
The 26-year-old said she is proud of who she is and wants to break the taboo around gastric sleeve surgery
‘I respect myself now. I’m worth more than I settled for. I am confident and I am proud of who I’ve become. I can now truly say I’m happy, and my life is a complete joy.
‘Every day I wake up with a smile on my face. I have made so many new friends as part of my bariatric support group, my family are proud of me and finally, I have lost that feeling of shame.
‘Don’t waste a second of your life. Being overweight is cruel, but there’s an answer. I am so lucky I chose to have this surgery at a young age because now I have a future. You could spend the rest of your life on a diet, and the chances are you won’t lose the weight, this is a real chance to fix it once and for all.
‘I want to spread the word about the gastric sleeve because it seems such a taboo subject. If you have a cataract, you get it fixed, if you’re obese, equally, it needs to be fixed. It is nothing to be ashamed of.
‘Saving your life is something to be proud of, and I want to shout it from the rooftops.’
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