Gary, 45, from Seaford, East Sussex, is a Streamline Surgical gastric bypass patient: “I’m a totally different person now. I can look in the mirror and I’m happy.”
“My weight problem started when I was at secondary school. I started to get bullied, and I realised the bigger guys were left alone so I began eating more to stop the bullying. But even when school finished I didn’t stop. I didn’t have many relationships and would turn to food for comfort. I could easily have four packets of crisps in one go and used to drink up to ten 2-litre bottles of fizzy drink each week.
“I tried every diet – you name it, I tried it. My weight would yo-yo as I lost interest in the diet and went back to food. Nothing worked for me, and my self-esteem was so low, I felt self-conscious the whole time. On holiday there was no way I would take off my shirt on the beach, no matter how hot it was. At work, I was a manager in charge of around 30 staff handling a large turnover and so I was quite successful. Yet I would still hear comments and jokes from my staff and customers about my size practically every day which made me really upset.
“Weighing over 25 stone and with my health issues such as my diabetes I was an ideal candidate for surgery. I found the staff at Streamline Surgical so friendly and they treated me with respect and like a ‘normal’ person – it was like a five star hotel! I am full of admiration for Guy Slater and can’t speak highly enough of him. He has given me back me life, probably about 30 years of it!
“I am no longer on any medication for diabetes which feels amazing. I don’t miss any of the bad foods I used to eat all the time and I can actually look in the mirror now and not feel disgusted. I love going out and shopping now and can buy clothes off the peg, which is so nice. I am so much more confident. Before I used to have to put on a certain mask to try to get people to like me and now I don’t feel that I need to do that – people will like me for me.
“I used to cycle to work before I had the surgery but had to give it up as it would take me about 20 minutes to get my breath back. Now I have so much energy and my fitness levels have improved so much. I can cycle to work no problem now and I also walk a lot.
“My wife is so happy with the new me, she calls me her “hunky, new fella!” I promised her before we got married that I would lose the weight and now I have kept my word after years of trying and failing. Some of my friends don’t even recognise me which I find gives me a complete buzz and helps my confidence even more. All my family and friends have been so supportive and they are pleased that I am finally happy with myself.
“Now I’m just waiting for things to happen as the whole world has opened up to me. I really want to go abroad soon as this time I won’t have the embarrassment of needing an extension belt and having the tray resting on my belly! This time the tray will be able to fully go down and once I’m on the beach I can take my shirt off without any anxiety. To anyone considering the surgery I say do it, you won’t regret it”