In 2009 Helen Senter, from Camberley in Surrey, had a shock when her best friend told her that she was too big and needed to do something about her weight to ensure she was around for her children.

Helen had also been thinking about her weight, and at over 19 stone and a size 26 it was making Helen unhappy.

“I wasn’t comfortable as I was and I realised that I couldn’t carry on like that. I’d tried diets in the past but I’d lose two stone and end up putting three stone back on. In the end I stopped dieting as I’d end up heavier than I was when I started.”

Taking the first step

“When my best friend said I had to do something about my weight I knew something had to change as my eating habits had got out of hand."

Having got herself stuck in a rut, Helen started researching weight loss surgery. She’d heard about gastric band surgery in the media and she thought it might help her lose weight, and keep the weight off.

Having weight loss surgery close to home

Helen chose to go to Spire Clare Park Hospital as she’d been there before and it was local to her. She did look at another hospital further away in London, but wanted to stay near to her home. She met with Mr Simon Toh, the bariatric surgeon at Clare Park, at her first consultation, where he talked about how a gastric band works and how her diet would need to change afterwards. Helen says, “I was also told I may have excess skin after weight loss, and may need to consider cosmetic surgery to help remove excess skin.” Helen also met the dietitian to discuss how her diet would need to change after the surgery.

“I felt elated after my consultation as I felt weight loss surgery was a good opportunity to change my life. I wanted to book my surgery immediately but Mr Toh said to take my time to make sure it was the right option for me,” says Helen.

Helen decided it was the right option for her and on the day of the surgery she was surprised at how quick the process was. She was in hospital for one night and went home the following day.

After Helen went home she still saw Mr Toh at regular follow up appointments where he helped with her band adjustments and any questions she had about her weight loss.

Removing excess skin after weight loss with cosmetic surgery

After about a year Helen’s weight had plateaued at size 14-16, but her body had excess skin, which Helen wanted removed with post-weight loss cosmetic surgery. She made an appointment to see Mr Jeremy Hurren for a tummy tuck and an arm lift at Spire Portsmouth Hospital in Havant.

After the cosmetic surgery, Helen says, “I can remember looking in the mirror afterwards and I couldn’t believe how good my body looked. The difference it made was out of this world.”

Since her weight loss and cosmetic surgery Helen is now a size 12 and feels a lot happier and more confident. She says, “I can do so much more now, especially with my children. I can walk my daughter to school and play cricket with her. Losing weight has changed how I feel about myself. I feel I’m worth it now. I didn’t feel like that before. My best friend says I’m so much happier too.”