At her heaviest weight of 27stone and 10lbs, Freya Symons, 29, was incredibly uncomfortable with her body.
She struggled to walk without unbearable pain in her knees and refused to go to restaurants unless she had meticulously researched the size of their chairs, to ensure they were big enough to fit her and were unlikely to break.
‘I was terrified of going somewhere new and not being able to fit in the seats,’ said Freya, from Andover, Hampshire.
‘The chair fear was due to experiences of not being able to fit in chairs while I was on a cruise.
‘I was left in tears as I was so embarrassed.’
After suffering three miscarriages, heartbroken Freya had turned to comfort eating, which made her size grow.
This in turn may have contributed to Freya’s fertility issues, leading doctors to advise her to urgently lose weight.
Fed up of hating her body and struggling with the physical impact of her weight, Freya decided to make a change.
She chose to pay £10,000 for gastric sleeve surgery, which removed around 80% of her stomach.
This helped her to overhaul her diet, cutting down her portion sizes and exercising four times a week.
The operation took a massive chunk of Freya’s savings and she’s had to pay the rest on finance, but she feels it’s all worth it.
Freya said: ‘I’d been bigger than my friends for my entire life but my rapid weight gain started in my 20’s.
‘I went through three miscarriages too and I comfort ate during those hard times.
‘I would wake up every morning and while looking in the mirror I would tell myself I looked disgusting.
‘It was such a vicious cycle as I felt depressed so I ate more to compensate but then I ended up feeling even worse.
‘I decided to have the gastric sleeve surgery last April and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.’
After over a year of hard work, Freya has lost a whopping 10st 7lbs since – and is so much happier.
‘Surgery is no way the easy route to lose weight but I felt like it was my only option after exhausting so many diets over the years,’ she added.
‘I got married in October last year and doctors did recommend losing weight after my fertility struggles.
‘There was no reason why I couldn’t carry my own baby full term which is why it was blamed on my size.
‘There was a two year waiting list for the gastric sleeve on the NHS which is why I went private.’
Before her surgery, Freya would easily eat double the recommended 2,000 calories a day and was constantly snacking on sweets and chocolate.
‘My major downfall was my portion sizes, I wasn’t having takeaways every day or anything like that but I would have twice as much pasta then everyone else,’ she explained.
How Freya’s diet has changed:
Freya’s diet before:
- Breakfast: Large bowl of sugary cereal
- Lunch: Chicken, bacon and stuffing meal deal with crisps and fizzy drink
- Dinner: Large portion of spaghetti bolognese with garlic bread
- Snacks: Sharer bag of chocolate / sweets / fizzy drinks
Freya’s diet after:
- Breakfast: Breakfast bar with fruit
- Lunch: Two chicken legs with salad
- Dinner: Chicken with vegetables
- Snacks: Fruit or low calorie crisps or chocolate bar
‘During the day I would snack on sharing bags of chocolate and sweets.
‘But last April I took the plunge and had surgery and I haven’t looked back since.
‘I have swapped the sugary snacks for fruit and protein based products.’
Freya is still working towards her goal weight of 12st, and shares her weight loss and fitness journey on Instagram to help others who would like to change their diet and exercise routine.
‘I feel and look like a different person and I can’t wait to hit my goal weight of 12st,’ she said.
‘I’ve gone from a size 32 or 34 at my biggest to 16 or 18 now.
‘A lot of people have said I look unrecognisable but I also feel like a new person too.
‘I’m going to wait before trying to have a baby now as I want to enjoy myself for a while as I have a new lease of life.
‘I also have a new business called Mye Prints, which I want to focus on too.’
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