A father of four’s incredible weight loss has turned his life around and he hopes his story will inspire others to do the same.
Russell Robinson, 43, who lost a massive 22 stone after gastric bypass surgery says it has transformed his life.
The divorced father of four daughters, who lives in Scarborough, said life before surgery was ”horrible”. He was unable to work due to weight-related health problems and did not have a partner. Today he has two jobs and he met his new partner, Sara, on New Year’s Eve. He said, “The surgery has turned my life around, I would have it done again without a moments hesitation.”
Russell’s weight rose to 35.6 stone when he began comfort eating in his 30s following his divorce. He subsequently lost his job, which sent him into a downward spiral of depression. He was diagnosed with diabetes and suffered severe sleep apnea, leg ulcers and hypertension. “My relationship had ended, I missed my kids and I ate comfort foods like burgers, pizza, Chinese takeaways and chocolate. I stopped going out and lost interest in any hobbies.”
After suffering years of depression, Russell decided it was time to make a change. Having tried, without success, to lose weight by a number of other methods, Russell asked his GP about gastric bypass surgery. Russell’s GP deemed him a suitable candidate and was able to secure NHS funding and was offered several options of where he could have the procedure done.
Russell did some research on the subject and decided he wanted to have the procedure done at Spire Leeds Hospital. Mr Simon Dexter, who performed the surgery, was one of the pioneers of laparoscopic weight loss surgery in the UK since its inception in the UK in 1990. Russell attended a weight loss forum at the hospital before meeting with Mr Dexter who explained the options available and advised Russell about the best procedure for him.
“Mr Dexter discussed dietary and lifestyle changes with me and gave me all the information about the different types of surgery. He then suggested I take a couple of weeks to make a decision. I felt well informed and decided to go ahead.”
Russell underwent Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery at Spire Leeds Hospital in February 2011. This is where surgery reduces the size of the stomach and bypasses the upper intestine. The operation is mainly prescribed for people who suffer from morbid obesity; those who have a body mass index (BMI) of over 40. Russell was an eligible candidate, his Body Mass Index (BMI) was 72.9.
He stayed in the hospital for two nights after surgery. “I felt ready to come home straight away when I woke after the operation. I wanted to be up and out of bed right away,” he said. “The aftercare was fantastic and Spire Leeds Hospital’s dietician Glenda Pollard was extremely supportive to me in terms of diet changes I needed to make.”
Russell, who works in the catering industry, says it can be difficult being around food all day and has made some adjustments to lifestyle and diet. “I know what to eat and am now more careful about the choice of food I eat. My diet is much healthier, more fruit, high fibre and wholegrain foods. Because I have to take food in smaller quantities it’s important to make sure every calorie is nutritious.”
Today, Russell, who weighs 13.5 stone, is happy with his weight. Having lost 90% of his excess weight, he has now stablised. His BMI has dropped to 29 and his waist measurement from 58” to 32”. ”I feel one hundred percent better. My activity levels have increased, I’m back at work and it has given me the motivation I needed. If I had not had the surgery I would not have been able to make the changes on my own.”
He now wants to focus on his relationship and is looking forward to the future. Russell may consider undergoing a further procedure to remove excess skin resulting from his weight loss. He said an advantage of the weight loss is he does not need to take many of the medications he was taking previously for diabetes and cholesterol.
“Simon Dexter is an amazing surgeon and I cannot praise him highly enough. I received expert care and treatment from Mr Dexter and his team at Spire Leeds Hospital. I cannot thank him enough for changing my life,” he added.
Mr Dexter said. “Russell was an excellent candidate for this surgery. He attended one of my talks and was well-informed and willing to make changes to his lifestyle. He had tried to lose weight with the aid of various diets, but it was not possible to lose the amount he needed. We discussed all of the surgical options and he decided to go ahead with a gastric bypass.”
Mr Dexter explains that the weight loss procedure works by restricting the capacity of the stomach and bypassing part of the digestive system. It also helps the patient to feel full after eating smaller meals by changing the levels of hormones that control the senses of appetite and fullness.
“Russell has done exceptionally well to lose a significant amount of excess weight and this reflects his firm commitment to modify his diet and life-style. His progress demonstrates what can be achieved through motivation and dedication.”