A mother-of-three says losing a massive 16 stone in weight has ruined her life.
Kim Wall, 40, has suffered with crippling pain, nausea, fatigue and low self-confidence since undergoing a gastric bypass operation.
She is now warning other women who are considering undergoing bariatric surgery to think carefully before committing to life-changing procedures.
Miss Wall, of Rochdale, said: “I had the surgery because I dreamed of being more energetic for my children, but it didn’t work out that way at all.
“I’ve gone from being too fat to move to being weak and undernourished. I thought the operation would give me the life I’d dreamed of – but it turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong.”
Miss Wall, a former hairdresser who has three children, Jack, 16, Tia, six and Theo, three, reached 24 stone after she turned to food for an emotional crutch after she lost a baby when she was 18 years old.
She said: “I turned to comfort eating and it got the point where I didn’t know how to say no.
“Having my first two children and experiencing the weight gain and cravings just made the situation worse. I could eat a multipack of crisps without even thinking about it.”
By her late thirties, Miss Wall was officially classed as clinically obese and was starting to experience mounting health problems.
She said: “The children had loads of energy, but I struggled even to get out of a seat. Even the gentlest movement would leave me gasping for breath.
“I wasn’t unhappy with my build, but I was devastated every time I couldn’t join in with an activity the kids were doing. I felt guilty to see their disappointment.”
At an appointment in the spring of 2008, her doctor made it clear that unless she did something to turn her lifestyle around, she would become seriously ill.
Miss Wall said: “My GP said he was really worried – that I would need to start losing weight as a matter of urgency. He referred me to a consultant who recommended that I have a gastric bypass through NHS funding.
“I knew it was a drastic step, but I’d tried every diet under the sun without any success, so the idea of being able to make a lasting change was very appealing.
“I thought of myself running around in the park with the children, and was drawn to the idea.”
Miss Wall asked advice from her mother Muriel and her partner Marley, 40, a painter and decorator.
She said: “My mum warned me to have a serious think about. She said she would prefer it if I didn’t go through with it, because she knew it was a major operation which carried major risks.
“Marley was unsure too. He’d met and fallen in love with me when I was at my biggest, and was happy with the way I was. He said all he cared about was whether I was happy, so if I really wanted to do it, he would support me.”
After weighing up her options, Miss Wall went under the knife in April 2008. Within two months she had lost three stone.
She said: “I could barely eat any food. Whatever I did manage to swallow made my stomach turn. I felt sick all the time.”
In the summer of 2010 Miss Wall discovered that she was pregnant with her third child.
She said: “Carrying a child having been through the operation was a huge challenge. Marley and I were ecstatic but it was a really tough pregnancy and I was sick morning, noon and night.
“Instead of being full of life I was tired all the time. I tried my best to carry on but it was extremely tough.”
Following the birth of Theo in April 2011, Miss Wall calculated that she had lost a huge ten stone – and the weight loss showed no signs of flowing.
As she settled into her new figure, Miss Wall began to struggle with the permanent effects of the surgery.
She said: “All I could manage was the tiniest portions at dinner time. Marley was concerned – he thought there was no way I could eat as little as I was and still be healthy.
“There were times when all I could manage was sucking on a ice-cube because I felt so unnaturally full.
“My energy dipped to practically zero and simple pleasures, like spending time alone with Marley and chasing around after the children, became a huge chore.
“I used to love having hot baths, but I had shrunk so much that lying in the bath became too uncomfortable as the enamel pressed against my spine. Sitting on hard seats was excruciating.”
Now weighing just over eight stone and having shrunk from size 24 to a tiny size 6, Miss Wall has found that she struggles to buy clothes which properly fit her.
She said: “I buy a few bags of ice cubes and eat a pint of them throughout the day. It’s the best compromise I can find to keep my mind off food, since most food makes me feel extremely nauseous.
“I can’t go out for meals with Marley any more and worst of all, my dream of being active with the children seems further away than ever.”
Doctors are currently reviewing Miss Wall’s situation and she is hopeful that she will one day find a solution to allow her to each proper meals again.
She said: “It’s important that people realise that gastric operations come with significant risk. My life has changed out of all recognition.
“I completely regret having the gastric bypass. I wish I’d never done it. It’s just such a shame that I had to get to this point to realise that I was happier when I was overweight.”
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