03 October 2016
He had spent 13 years jumping through every corporate hoop put in front of him, but when he received a mid-year work review saying he could not go further up the ladder without choosing a different line of work, Andy Ridley realised what his main obstacle was.
“I just didn’t look good in a suit – I was simply far too fat! It may sound strange but, in the competitive world of recruitment, it isn’t just your CV or interview technique that gets you the job,” he said.
“As soon as I left the review I just knew I had to get myself sorted. I had spent most of my adult life on one diet or another and here I was - I weighed twenty-three-and-a-half stone and couldn’t do the simplest thing without bursting into a sweat!
Now, as he prepares for a two-year adventure in Saudi Arabia helping set up a new retail business, dad-of-two Andy, of Crawley, West Sussex, says that having weight-loss surgery was the best decision he’s ever made.
“I've always known about weight-loss surgery but had never considered it before. That night my partner Joanne and I discussed it in great detail and decided it was my only hope of losing weight and keeping it off.”
Andy arranged a meeting with Mr Simon Monkhouse a consultant bariatric surgeon at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital in Povey Cross Road, Horley, where it was decided that he would have a gastric bypass.
“With weight-loss surgery it is important to choose the procedure you think would most suit the patient, it isn’t a case of one size fits all,” explained Mr Monkhouse.
“In Andy’s case, after a lot of discussion, we decided that the gastric bypass would give him the best chance to lose weight at a steady rate and, importantly, keep it off. It is an intricate procedure to re-route the flow of food and to make a smaller stomach.
“Like most people who opt for surgery, Andy had tried just about every diet around and he just couldn’t keep the weight off once the diet stopped. A gastric bypass will limit his appetite but he still has to watch what he eats. It isn’t a license to overeat, it is an aid to helping you get down to a healthy weight that allows you to enjoy an active life.”
Six months after the operation Andy is six stones lighter and already slowing down his continued weight loss to about one pound per month to allow his skin to ‘catch up’ with his shrinking body size.
“It has been amazing,” said Andy. “I can live a normal life again. I sleep properly, I don’t lose my breath halfway up a set of stairs and I don’t have to shop at ‘special sizes’ websites anymore!”
But the best thing so far has been a holiday abroad with his partner and two teenage children - Courtney, 18, and Callum,14.
“Just being able to go outside in the sun without ‘melting’ and even feeling comfortable with the trunks on again was a massive boost – it really was holiday of a lifetime,” he said.
Happy that he could handle the heat, Andy jumped at the chance of a dream job in the Middle East where his experience in retail management and recruitment earned him a leading role in a developing business.
“Before I had lost the weight I would never have dreamed of taking a job in a hot country. Now it doesn’t worry me at all, in fact I can’t wait to get started,” he said.