Every year thousands and thousands of women start a new diet determined that this time they will slim down and stay slim!
But for many it all ends in tears as weeks, sometimes months, of determined dieting ends in yet another failure and the pounds steadily pile back on.
“Some people just need more help than others,” says Nottinghamshire financial adviser Susannah Martin. “In the end I decided that the only way I was going to succeed was by having surgery. I knew that a gastric band was my last chance of winning my battle against my weight.
Now, after shedding an amazing 10 stone, after having a gastric band fitted at BMI Park Hospital in Arnold, Susannah is determined that women choosing the surgery option are not seen as ‘taking the easy way out’.
“This was not the easy option,” said 39-year-old Susannah. “There can’t be a diet anywhere that I haven’t tried and, when I say tried, I mean really tried.
“I would lose a couple of stone but then I would just put it back on again. It was heart-breaking. It is only people who have never had weight problems who don’t see how hard it is for people who really try to lose weight and simply continue to fail.
“I needed to stop the vicious circle and take control over food and the hold it had over my life. I’m not sure which the turning point was - not fitting in an aeroplane seat, ordering a take away and pretending it was to feed a family, not being able to walk up one set of stairs without resting or just not wanting to feel invisible anymore.”
But whatever pressure she had put on herself to lose weight, Susannah still didn’t rush her decision. Following some internet research, she arranged to meet Marc Abraham, a dietician who works with bariatric consultant Ian Beckingham at BMI Park Hospital.
“It was a very important meeting. Marc also made it very clear that the band is a tool to aid weight loss – not a miracle cure! The band doesn’t stop you craving or even eating chocolate or drinking wine but it does restrict the amount of food you can to eat by making you feel fuller quicker and for longer.
“That was perfect for me as it was snacks and savouries that had been my main problem. I feel a little embarrassed about it now but at one stage I could easily eat a full French stick with cheese in one sitting,” she explained.
Susannah then had several meetings with both Marc and Mr Beckingham to take her though how she could make the gastric band really work for her.
“Once I got the hang of eating the right foods I found that I was actually eating a much healthier diet and certainly didn’t feel I was depriving myself.
“I ate what I wanted but kept my portion size smaller and bulked up on vegetables – and I always served my meals on a small plate,” she explained.
Susannah’s success also received praise from surgeon Mr Beckingham. He said: “Having the band fitted is only the beginning. In some ways the hard work starts after the operation.
“Susannah has had to totally change her diet and her relationship with food. For someone who has struggled with their weight for so many years this is no easy thing.”
And as she starts planning her next holiday on the beach, Susannah, who lives in Arnold with husband Jim, a company director, explains how her new look has changed her life.
“The days of sitting in the car before a social gathering worrying if I’m going to be the fattest person there or whether I’ll fit in the chairs or make it up the stairs are gone – I now get out there and get on with all the great things life has to offer.”
“I also have a personal trainer twice a week and I’m healthier than I have ever been.”
“And it isn’t just me that’s a lot lighter – my bank balance has taken a bit of a battering as I am now enjoying shopping for clothes! Don’t tell anyone but on my last holiday I had a different bikini for every day at the beach!”
As for husband Jim, he is delighted with Susannah’s success and has supported her every step of the way.
“Jim never put pressure on me to lose weight but he did worry about my health. When I decided on a gastric band he was fully behind my decision and has been there for me every step of the way,” she said.
“I can’t thank Mr Beckingham, Marc and their team enough. I honestly feel they have given me my life back. Neither said that a gastric band was an easy fix but with their support and my determination it has been a tremendous success.”