In May 2011 Christina Searle had a gastric band fitted at Spire Southampton Hospital in a surgical procedure performed by Mr Michael Van den Bossche, and chose to have a gastric band. In just a year Christina has gone from 96.7kg (15stone 3lbs) down to 65kg (10stone 3lbs), which means she has lost one third of her body weight! Read on to hear her story.
Choosing the right procedure
Christina chose to have gastric band surgery but this wont necessarily suit everyone. After discussing her options with Mr Van den Bossche Christina felt this was the right type of surgery for her because she is young and very motivated to lose the weight. Christina was ready to change her lifestyle and eating habits is essential for successful weight loss.
Christina has had to make some changes to the type of food she eats and there are certain foods that she can not eat at all. She explains "I can not eat beef and I struggle with bread, sometimes I can manage half a slice. I try to ensure I eat solid food rather than foods that slides through the band and I can not eat the skin of any fruit or vegetables... The other big change is to ensure I do not drink for half an hour before or after I eat. This can be difficult sometimes!"
Losing the weight and changing lifestyle
Christina started to lose weight before surgery while she was on the liver reduction diet and lost half a stone in one week! Although the weight has come off fairly consistenty since surgery she still got disheartened every now and again. Christina now has to regulate portion sizes and eat five times a day so she doesn't get hungry but this isn't always easy, as Christina says "...if you get hungry you tend to want to eat fast when you get the opportunity but this causes the food to get 'stuck' and this either causes a lot of pain or unfortunately a quick trip to the loo to be sick so not a nice habit and must be avoided at all costs!"
Christina now also exercises regularly and started going to the gym a month after surgery - "I love going to the classes however I do not have set days that I go to the gym. I might have a dance class on Monday followed by an aqua aerobics class later in the week. The aim is to have four hours of vigorous exercise a week to ensure the heart rate gets up!"
A year on...
Christina is now almost at her target weight of 10stone and is really happy with the results from her gastric band surgery.
"I must definately say that it is the most amazing thing I have ever done and it just goes to show that sometimes surgery and following the directions of the surgeons can turn your life around. Magazines have such a power to make people believe surgery is so catastrophic but in the right circumstances and with care and some effort I've shown it can work."