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Erin Jaye Williams - Amazing Transformation from 127kg to 57kg
How much did you weigh prior to lap banding?
127kgs was my highest weight prior to lap banding. I am 5’6” which put my BMI at 45.5 – a very high health risk. I am now 57kgs and maintain a healthy BMI of 20.4.
How old were you when you got the lap band?
I was 24 years old when I made the decision to be banded.
What was it that tipped you over the edge?
One night my partner and I were eating KFC. As usual. We had a bucket of chicken and I pulled a piece out that had the chicken’s head still attached to it. I was horrified and angry. One thing led to another and the next thing I knew, I was on a prime time television tabloid show: a very overweight woman complaining about the quality of her takeaway. I realised at that moment that something had to change. I couldn’t be that person. I wouldn’t be.
Where you always a big girl?
From about the age of 8 or 9 I began to get chubby. From that point on in primary school I felt different to all the other kids. By the age of 12 I was 70kgs and by 14 I was 83kgs. I didn’t take note of my weight again until I was 17 at which point I had hit 90kgs and that was the beginning of my yoyo dieting.
I would lose a few kilos, gain more. Lose a few kilos. Gain more. After leaving high school, my weight skyrocketed. I can’t remember ever thinking of myself as being anything other than fat.
Why did you opt for lap banding?
I had tried everything and failed. I had developed a failure mentality when it came to weight loss and I expected that I wouldn’t succeed. And with every failure would come another weight gain. I could see the cycle was going to end my life prematurely so I thought about where my problems were originating from.
I had a food addiction and I needed some help to beat it. I thought about how one would treat any addiction, and that was initially by removing oneself from temptation. With food, that is nearly impossible. We need to eat to live. However, I decided that I couldn’t bear living such a half-life anymore. Always feeling moderately depressed and without confidence to succeed at anything, really. So I opted for a lap band. Something that was still within my control in regards to how I used it, however it was a tool to help me overcome my addiction.
What sort of lifestyle did you live before lap banding.
After finishing high school I moved to Newcastle to go to the University there. Being a student, I didn’t have a lot of money so eating poorly became a way of life. We had also been a very poor family, my brother and I being supported by a single mum, so we had never really developed healthy eating habits. Take away, hot chips, soft drinks etc had been seen as a treat by us, something to look forward to. That mentality carried over into my adult years and as my career progressed, I was able to afford to eat rubbish as often as I liked.
I indulged in more and more junk food as the years passed, lots of bread, high carb meals, deep fried treats – and so much of my food always seemed to be beige in colour. It makes me feel quite ill to think back on it now.
What sort of lifestyle do you live now?
I am far more active and healthy for starters. Since losing the weight, my career has skyrocketed alongside my happiness and confidence levels. I am now the director of my own company, Swat Security
I used to be desperately afraid of cameras, as having my photo taken seemed to force me to acknowledge how out of control my weight had become. I now model as a hobby, which is something I did to force myself out of my old mindsets.
I am in an amazing relationship with my soon to be husband, who has been with me for the last 40kgs of my weight loss journey. The idea of getting married in my dream dress is absolutely mind blowing.
How long until you saw results?
I saw results straight away. I began steadily losing weight immediately. The band would grow loose and my weight loss would slow down or stop. I would have to fight the urge to continue eating anything I liked and return to the doctor to have it tightened again and resume my weight loss. After I lost 30kgs or so, I plateaued for a long time. I eventually tightened the lap band a little tighter than normal and the weight began to come off again.
What challenges have you faced because of the lap banding?
I have definitely had my band too tight at times. That’s a scary feeling, as I struggled to even swallow water.
The biggest challenge I faced, however, was the loss of my relationship with food. It took me well over a year to come to terms with the fact that I could eat only the tiniest portion sizes. That food was no longer a source of enjoyment, it was only a fuel. Social functions in which I had to watch my friends and family eat delicious looking food heartily whilst I sipped at soup were torturous. Bread became a thing of the past, and I struggled with these things greatly.
Did you also exercise while losing the weight?
I became progressively more active with the more weight I lost. I had always hated exercise as it felt like such a large effort for so small a result, however the lighter I became, the more I enjoyed being active.
I now work a very physically demanding role as Director of a security firm, and enjoy playing sports for pleasure – simply because I can!
Did you have excessive skin problems after her weight loss and if so what did you do about it?
Sadly, yes. This has been the single downside of losing an excessive amount of weight. When I first had the lap band procedure, I had hoped to get down to 90kgs, or perhaps 80kg if I was lucky. However, once I reached that weight, I felt motivated to keep going – the idea of being slender for the first time in my life became a genuine possibility that drove me onwards. So I had not considered the issues I might experience with redundant skin when I embarked on my weight loss challenges.
I have been at goal weight now for 12 months, and granted my skin has certainly regained some more elasticity in that 12 months, however it did not completely retract and I have been left with a considerable amount of excess.
Once I reached my goal weight, I began to receive many messages and emails from woman wanting to lose weight, however were fearful of the appearance of excess skin. I discovered that the idea of having excess skin was literally holding many women back from trying to lose weight, as they feared both the cost and results of corrective surgery later on.
I have literally received hundreds of similar emails and messages, which has inspired me to attempt to address these fears in the most helpful way I can. I am currently raising funds to undergo excess skin removal on a cosmetic holiday overseas – the most affordable option – and intend to fully video diarise the procedures, results and emotions involved, so as to show others what options they do have once they hit their weight loss goals.
I genuinely aspire to help others overcome this fear by showing them exactly what is involved in removing excess skin. With some luck, they will be delighted with the results – enough to inspire them to feel confident about losing a large amount of weight.
How has the weight loss changed your life?
There have been so many changes! Some enormous changes, others more subtle. For example, when I was overweight, I would do absolutely anything to avoid catching a glimpse of myself in the reflection of a storefront window or mirror. If I did unwittingly see myself in a reflection, it would cause me to feel depressed and angry for days at a time. I didn’t like being forced to confront reality.
Clothes shopping was another thing that caused me great displeasure. To have to try one an item of clothing SIZES bigger than I wanted to admit to being was heartwrenching and something I avoided at all costs.
Now, those moments in life have been completely replaced with confidence and happiness. I adore clothes shopping now. I love catching an accidental glimpse of myself in a reflection – because for the very first time in my entire life, I’m delighted with what I see.
What is the best thing to come out of it all other than the weight loss?
I don’t think I could put my finger on one single element that I would pinpoint as being the best. But a few of the things I would suggest might be my upcoming marriage to the love of my life. I’ll be wearing my dream dress! Also, my career. I now manage a successful security firm and feel confident in my ability to meet with strangers and convince them that my services are the best.
My taste in food. I adore healthy foods now, when I never did before. Take away food has no appeal to me anymore. I would rather pick up an avocado than a burger any day of the week.
Finally, my health. I feel so much more energetic and I love life! I absolutely LOVE it. Everything in my life is so wonderful now that I don’t have such a large shadow.
What would you say to others considering lap banding?
I would say “think carefully”. Genuinely consider the issues in your life which are preventing you from losing weight without a band. It’s not until you confront those deep seated issues that you can determine whether or not bariatric surgery is the right solution for you.
Everyone knows someone who has had a lap band and not lost any weight. That’s because it is not the solution for everyone, and it is not the easy road so many people think it to be. Don’t set yourself up for yet another failure. Address the issues which have led to your weight problem in the first place, and do it honestly. It is not until those issues are dealt with that a weight loss solution can be determined for you.