As Susan bit into yet another chocolate bar, she felt utterly repulsed at her own behaviour.
But nothing could stop her from munching – not even the fact she’d already
spent $20,000 undergoing a potentially dangerous stomach stapling operation
or that she had managed to drop from a size 32 and 158 kgs to an enviably slim size 10.
“I might have had the operation but I still had the mind-set of a fat woman.
Whenever I felt low, I turned to all my old favourite calorie-laden goodies,”
says Susan, 51.
But when she found herself squeezing into size 18 trousers having let herself go up four dress sizes eating small amounts of junk food more regularly,
Susan realised something had to change for good.
She went to see Debbie Fraser who is a Clinical Hypnotherapist who changed her whole mindset towards food.
“It was like a switch – I suddenly realised if I didn’t stop eating I was going to end up a size 32 again,” she says. “I was also so angry with myself for paying over $20,000 for surgery to help me lose weight and there I was making
myself fat again.”
Susan, who is 5ft 7in, had struggled with her weight most of her life.
“We lived with my grandma when I was little. She adored baking and cooking
stodgy food. The house was always full of treats.
“I became addicted to food. By the time I was 12, I would eat one chocolate
bar after another until I felt sick. I was already in size 14 clothes.
“But when I got interested in boys, I became more conscious of my figure. I
went on one diet after another. And when I still couldn’t lose weight I began
taking laxatives to try to lose the kilos.”
But at 24, after splitting from her first serious boyfriend, Susan began
comfort eating and put on 25 kgs in a year.
“I hated myself but had no self-control. I’d eat takeaways and chocolate,
knowing it would make me unhappy.
“I was a size 24, and over 101 kgs when I met my first husband who loved wining and dining me. I gradually put on another 25kgs during my 20s.”
When Susan was 36 she met her second husband, Peter, on a blind date, two years after her divorce.
“I was embarrassed about my weight but Peter said my size didn’t bother him,” says Susan from the Sunshine Coast. “And he must have loved me because we married 11 weeks after meeting.
Susan kept trying to diet. “I lost 31kgs in months once but regained
it all and more. I stabilised at 158 kgs. I was only just fitting into a size 32 and had 63-inch hips.
“I was repulsed by myself – I could only wear elasticated clothes because I
was so big. My back hurt and I walked around like an old lady.”
Susan also suffered from the womb condition endometriosis, and after she
had put up with painful stomach cramps for years, her doctor recommended a full hysterectomy. But they couldn’t operate until she lost weight.
“My doctor said if I didn’t sort myself out the weight or the endometriosis
would eventually kill me. My BMI was 56. I was classed as morbidly obese.
“I was heading to an early grave thanks to my own greed. But I loved food too
much to lose the weight naturally, so my doctor referred me for stomach stapling surgery in Brisbane. But when I saw the specialist, he explained I would be on a waiting list for months.”
So Susan and Peter took out a loan for $20,000 to pay for the surgery. “I saw it as an answer to all my problems. I assumed I wouldn’t be able to eat as much, so I would lose weight and then I could also have the hysterectomy I so desperately needed.”
Susan underwent the complex two-hour surgery, where a row of titanium staples, shrunk her stomach to golf-ball size. “A couple of teaspoons of mashed potato or a plain cracker was all I could tolerate to start with,” she says.
Susan lost 57 kgs in six months – going down to a size 20 and weighing
just over 100 kgs. She went back in theatre for a full hysterectomy, ending her crippling endometriosis. A year later Susan was a very slim size 10, and weighed 66 kgs.
“It was the thinnest I’d been since I was a teenager,” she recalls. “I really
loved my new figure. I could wear skinny jeans and a skimpy top and look good in them. Over the next couple of years my self-confidence went sky-high.”
Maintaining her weight at around 69 kgs and a size 12, it wasn’t until she started a new job in social care that her diet control waned.
“Away from Peter for four nights a week in a small rented flat, I felt lonely. Soon I began nibbling on goodies again,” she says.
Susan discovered she could eat little and often to avoid the painful
‘dumping’ syndrome, when gastric surgery patients, feel very ill and sweat
profusely if they overeat. “I could eat a cake, wait an hour and eat again
without getting sick. And the more I did it, the greater tolerance I had. So a
cake would turn into a packet of biscuits and an hour later, a chocolate bar.
“Soon I was eating fish and chips again and cream cakes in the office.”
In four months, Susans dress size went from a 12 to a 16, and her weight
rose to 88 kgs.
She recalls: “I’d lost my self-control. Peter tried to warn me but I didn’t care what damage I was doing.”
It wasn’t until she saw photos of herself weighing 95 kgs and a size 18 that she realised the horror of what she’d done.
“If I didn’t take control I’d be back in size 32 trousers. I remembered what
the gastric surgery doctor said: ‘I can fix your stomach, but not your head’. It
was my mental addiction to food I had to resolve.”
After reading about Virtual Gastric Lap Band Surgery she made an appointment to see Debbie a Clinical Hypnotherapist who specialises in Gastric Lap Band Hypnotharpy..
“I visualised where I wanted to be in six months and it wasn’t a size 32. With Debbie's help I was able to fix myself this time,” she says. “With the hypnotherapy it shrunk my stomach so I had no desire to binge eat. It was like someone had just turned on a light switch.”
Susan swapped takeaways and chocolate bars for healthy meals, of chicken, fish and vegetables, and fruit.
“I would still have the occasional treat but just a couple of squares of
chocolate instead of a huge bar. I also went to a gym and took my dog for long walks several times a day.
“Slowly, the weight started to drop off. But this time I was doing it by myself.”
Now a slim size 14 and 76 kgs, Susan still wants to drop around 6 more kilos. “I’ve learnt to control my addiction, I want to tell others, and spread the word, I know how awful it is to be repulsed by yourself.”
“Looking back, I wish I’d never had the surgery and lost weight naturally, with the virtual surgery I am determined never to binge eat again.”
How Susans diet has changed
Before gastric surgery:
Breakfast: cereal, then biscuits and cake as soon as she got to work
Lunch: large cheese baguette and chips
Snack: chocolate, lollies
Dinner: takeaways from the fish and chip shop, Indian, Italian or Chinese
Snack: toast with lashing of butter
Breakfast: half a Weetbix with some skimmed milk
Lunch: tbsp of mashed potato and gravy
Dinner: Half a cup of soup
Bingeing After Surgery
Breakfast: a bacon and cheese omelette
Snack: biscuits, cakes and Danish pastries
Lunch: prawn mayo baguettes and chips
Snack: sweets and chocolate
Dinner: takeaways, fish and chips or counter lunch
Snack: wine and some peanuts or chips
What she eats now after Virtual Gastric Lap Band Hypnotherapy
Breakfast: 2 Poached Eggs on Wholemeal toast
Snack: small tub yoghurt or a handful of almonds
Lunch: tuna or chicken salad
Snack: nutty balls and some celery
Dinner: Small portions of chicken and vegetables, stir-fry and fruit salad