James' Story

James' Story


Excess weight loss recorded

Gastric Sleeve

14st 7lbs

Total weight loss recorded

Hear James' Story

Why did you have surgery?

I had years of struggling with being overweight and essentially throwing everything but the kitchen sink at it. I sold a business and attended a weight loss camp, where I lost weight and then gained it back. It was a whole lifetime of living at only about 60% of what I felt could have been my potential, and weight loss surgery was always my last resort.

I was with the NHS for three years, and during that time, I gained eight stone while waiting for the surgery.

So, I suppose it was a life-or-death situation for me at that point because I was on a sleep apnoea machine, weighed 32 stone, and I wasn’t really living; I was merely existing. It was a make-or-break moment for me.

I had originally scheduled my surgery for February 26th and received a list of instructions from my surgeon, which included walking, quitting smoking, and a milk diet, among other things. However, my whole attitude and way of life were such that I didn’t really care about following these instructions. I came up to the day of surgery, and the anesthetist informed me that I couldn’t have surgery because there was a greater chance I wouldn’t wake up than I would. I was obviously devastated.

After that, I moved in with my mum for five weeks, had minimal distractions, and underwent a lot of therapy before going back for the surgery.

I recall the first drive to the hospital; my mum asked me how I felt, and I replied, ‘I wasn’t really bothered, you know. If it doesn’t work, and I die, it doesn’t really matter.’ That was my overall attitude at the time.

Then, five weeks later, after undergoing a significant amount of therapy and actually working on myself, my mum asked me how I felt again on the way to surgery. This time, I said I was really worried because I knew it was about starting to love myself.

How has life been since surgery?

The sleeve is fantastic because you can’t reach those levels of overeating that you could before; it’s just impossible. Every aspect of my life has changed. I’m no longer on a sleep apnoea machine. I’m active, I go to the gym, and I don’t experience the ups and downs I had before. I just don’t think I could have continued living the way I was for another two years.

It’s nice to be able to go out with my mum without her worrying about me. I used to get angry when people expressed concern. I can only imagine how heart-wrenching it was for my mum to see her son effectively harming himself.

My life is completely different now, in an amazing way. I went on holiday and, for the first time in my adult life, I took my top off. There’s something quite exhilarating about that. I don’t think someone who hasn’t been overweight will understand it.

I've received many comments, and people say that I just radiate happiness now. I've only received positive feedback.

I’m now driven by my own happiness, something I’ve never had before. Having self-belief and a bit of self-worth is amazing for what it can do.

I have no regrets. I have more freedom now, mentally and physically, than I’ve ever had. I should have done it sooner, perhaps, but I’m living in the moment.

When I started this journey, my therapist advised me to practice gratitude. I had to list three things I was grateful for every day. At first, it was challenging, but it’s one of those snowball effects; you find yourself appreciating everything.

Before, I couldn’t even think about fitting into an airplane seat, not having to shop at supersize clothing stores, snoring less, seeing the happiness in the people around me and not having that worry in their eyes. There are so many layers to the benefits that surgery has given me. While the physical weight loss is great, shedding the mental weight is even more significant.

I'm now creating my own happiness, and I've never done that before. That's truly amazing