Chefs find recipe for weight loss includes bariatric surgery

January 2012

It’s always hard to lose weight, but it can be particularly difficult for chefs whose lives are all about food.

Two chefs from Spire Leeds Hospital, Karen Harrison and Diane Ambrose, had both tried various methods, through which they lost weight but always gained it back. They finally decided to take control of their health and chose to have gastric bypass surgery. 

Karen Harrison and Diane Ambrose with consultant weight loss surgeon Professor Peter Lodge 

Today, the women have lost more than 17 stone between them following laparoscopic (keyhole) weight loss surgery at Spire Leeds.

Karen, 41, and Diane, 44, underwent the life-changing surgery within a few months of each other. They are now living happier and healthier new lifestyles and enjoying being able to participate in activities with their families, everything from swimming to gym workouts and even paragliding.
Married mother of two Karen, has plummeted from 22st 4lbs to 12 st 10lbs since her surgery in October 2010, and Diane, who is married with four children, has seen her weight drop from 21st 5lbs to 14st since having surgery in June last year. They both continue to shed the pounds as they move closer to their target weight.

Before the surgery, both women struggled with their weight, which was gained gradually over a long period.  “It’s always difficult to lose weight, and especially for a chef who is working with food all day and loves food. However, when my weight reached serious levels I knew I had to do something about it,” said Diane, who chose keyhole surgery because of the generally faster recovery time and she wanted to return to work as soon as she could. “The biggest benefit would have to be how I feel about myself. I am so much more confident now and feel that I’ve have taken control of my health and got my life back. I go running with my kids and enjoy activities I could never do before,” she said.

Professor Peter Lodge at Spire Leeds Hospital, who has helped an increasing number of patients begin a new life after weight loss surgery, performed the Laparascopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. He explained that as both Karen and Diane had a BMI of over 40 they were ideal candidates for this type of surgery.

Both were admitted on the day of surgery and went home the next day. They were eating normally within a few days and both returned to work rapidly.

“Karen and Diane have lost a significant amount of weight so far,” said Professor Lodge. “In my experience, the usual weight loss is about two to three stone in the first six weeks and the same again over the next three to four months. Both have exceeded these targets and should continue to lose weight gradually over the first two years following surgery, after which things tend to level off. This is one of the most modern forms of gastric bypass surgery and is designed for gradual weight loss rather than some older techniques where rapid weight loss can be followed by weight gain.”

Karen and Diane are determined to continue with their new lifestyle. “The surgery provided the kick start that we needed to embark on a lifestyle change of diet and exercise. I could not have done it on my own,” said Karen. Diane agrees, “I still have to watch what I eat and exercise to lose weight, the difference is that the surgery has given me the inspiration and the incentive to do the rest. It has changed my mindset and one of the benefits of this type of surgery is that I don’t crave sugary or fatty foods like I used to and I feel fuller for longer. I would say to anyone who is considering the surgery, don’t wait. It can change your life.”

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)