Couple lose 20 stone between them after weight-loss surgery in Lithuania
- Credit: Supplied by Jodie Coleman and Mark Harwood
A couple travelled to Lithuania for weight loss surgery after being told they would have to wait for four years to have it done on the NHS.
Jodie Coleman and Mark Harwood from Oulton, near Hopton, paid less than £6,000 each - inlcuding flights and hotels - to have their stomachs reduced via a gastric bypass.
Between them they have shed over 20 stone following the surgery and have radically changed their lifestyle.
Miss Coleman, 36, said she went from a size 22 to wearing children’s clothes in just a few months, and at one point weighed just 6st 5lbs.
Now she is back up to a slim but healthy 8st 8lbs and is still shocked every time she looks in the mirror.
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She said she had been overweight since her late teens and had piled on the pounds after having children and meeting her partner Mark Harwood, 41, who was also big.
The turning point came when Mr Harwood approached his 40th birthday milestone and became wary of developing health problems associated with his obesity.
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“My weight problems started in my late teens,” she said.
“But really escalated after having children. I just got bigger and bigger with each pregnancy. And then finding Mark was a factor because he was big and from a big family.
“We do not drink or smoke so food was our be all and end all.
“When I met Mark he was about 26 stone.
“I never saw his weight but my weight consumed everything.
“I would never go out or socialise, I was practically a recluse and I weighed over 17 stone.
“I worried about what people thought of me.
“If I went to the shops with my friends I would see them buying nice clothes and I felt I wanted to go to Millets for a tent.
“I never felt comfortable.”
She said her partner’s GP said there was between a three and four year waiting list, so he started looking into it privately and found the clinic in Lithuania who said they could be there and get it done within four weeks.
The couple travelled to the Nordbariatric clinic in Kaunas, two years ago.
They were met at the airport and immediately whisked away to the clinic for pre-op tests.
The operations took place the next morning, one after the other.
Because of low iron levels Mr Harwood had to have a blood transfusion.
After a four night stay they both flew home.
For a while they could only eat baby food, gradually building up to scrambled eggs and mashed potato.
The weight loss was quick and dramatic, Miss Coleman losing some six stone in the first few months.
There was some trial and error with certain foods causing sypmtoms associated with “dumping” when food passes through the system too quickly.
“Before the op I just did not go out,” she said.
“I would not have people over, and I would not take the children anywhere and I realise how detrimental that was to them.
“Now we are always out doing something. We went to America, we went on all the rides, we went swimming. Now they say they have a new mummy and daddy.
“It disgusts me to think how lazy I was. Before the surgery a treat would be to have a takeaway in bed. Now we go on family days out and take a picnic.”
“The surgery is a tool, not a quick fix. If you keep pushing and pushing it will stretch.”
Miss Coleman is returning to the clinic in the next few months to have loose skin removed from her abdomem.
She has become a UK Ambassdor for the clinic describing herself “a walking advert.”
While she feels better in herself other people also react more positively to her too, she said, adding: “People are generally more friendly to thinner people.”
Anyone who is interested in the process can contact her via email@example.com or via Facebook or Instagram.