23 June 2021
Nikki Taylor, 58, from Tunbridge Wells in Kent shares her Elipse™ balloon story.
“For many years, I ignored my weight and thought I would just be a jolly person who enjoyed cooking and feeding people. Then my husband took me to Florence for our 34th anniversary and my legs, feet and ankles swelled up after just being on a two-and-half-hour flight. I was staying in a glorious hotel, in an awe-inspiring place, and I couldn’t walk around to see the beauties of Florence. Something switched in my head, and I realised I needed not just to lose weight for my self-worth, but for my health.
I had stopped wanting to go to social events or parties. I felt fat and uncomfortable - I was Mrs Sack! And, at only 5ft 2 inches, my weight of 15 stone 7lbs was affecting my health. I was in pain with my knees, I couldn’t exercise, and every day was an uphill battle. As I am approaching 60, I was almost certainly looking at diabetes and/or a wheelchair in my 70s. I had tried every diet going but what I needed was a complete change of mindset.
I have an under-active thyroid and I am very prone to depression - although no one would know because I always appear upbeat! However, alone I can get morose and always turned to food, cooking, eating, and treating myself to the worst kinds of foods.
I researched where to go and how to address my weight issues and found information on Mr Simon Monkhouse and the Elipse™ balloon at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital. I knew the Elipse™ balloon was what I needed as I was frightened of a huge operation, and I was also totally aware that I was sabotaging myself with my food choices and ignoring what I was actually eating.
Both Simon and all his team have gone above and beyond to help me. Right from the beginning, you feel that everybody cares, and they feel responsible for your weight loss. Their desire is your desire and that comes across. They wanted me to achieve from this experience.
The balloon fitting (on 26 November 2020) was absolutely fine. All I can say is, do as you are told, stand up as it seems to be a better way to swallow the balloon down, and just keep drinking - don’t stop!
Coming home I was fine and again I did exactly as I was told, taking all the medicines when instructed. I used a hot water bottle to help with the cramps and sipped on flat Lucozade and iced water. By the 5th day, I was eating reasonably normally - albeit very plain food off a side plate or a ramekin dish.
I embraced all the help I could get which included paying extra for a specialist counsellor, Sarah Wrigglesworth, who helped me enormously with why I ignored my weight issues. She was friendly but firm with the fact that there would be ups and downs with my balloon journey. She also made me see how mindlessly I was eating junk and also that my insulin levels needed to be taken heed of as otherwise I was never going to be able to get on top of my weight and therefore my health issues.
I also took advantage of having extra support from a very skilled dietitian, called Isabelle Fry, who has helped me in so many ways. What snacks to eat to keep me on track, how to prepare my life in a better way so I didn’t self-sabotage and cajole me to look at my diet in a more positive way.
I realised I was eating too many carbohydrates throughout the day and needed to address every mouthful. I also drank the recommended amount of water and bought a side plate that has the amounts of food I should be eating. I stick religiously to this even now the balloon has burst (on 14 March 2021).
I now look forward to days out - I went to the Epsom Derby this year - and recently sat in the garden with a girlfriend in a swimming costume - something I would never have done before.
It has been absolutely life changing. I am still overweight - I will never be skinny - but l have gone down two bra sizes and two dress sizes and am walking every day and exercising on a treadmill twice a week. My starting weight was 220 pounds and I got to 178 pounds when the balloon came out and I have managed to maintain my weight since then, which is a fantastic achievement for me. I am always 181 pounds on a Monday morning and by midweek I am 179 pounds again.
The balloon has changed my view of food: do I really want to eat that fattening food? Do I need that portion size? And do I want to kill myself with eating food that won’t benefit my weight loss journey?
I did have some ups and downs, but I progressively lost weight which helped my mindset and made me feel healthier.
I would say to anyone who felt like me, don’t hesitate to use the Elipse™ balloon but please be realistic and use it to your own advantage, which will mean putting yourself and your health first. You will also need to embrace the suggested food changes, portion sizes - and drink all that water!”
If you wish to seek advice from our Weight Loss Surgery Team or book a consultation with Mr Monkhouse, please call on 01293 778 906 to find out more.