Emma Lovell has completely overhauled her body by shedding a whopping 21 stone but she has been left hating her body after folds of unsightly skin remained
A previously 34 stone woman has been left with six stone of sagging skin following her dramatic weight loss – which is so loose she even gets it trapped in car doors.
Emma Lovell, 35, completely overhauled her body by shedding a whopping 21 stone.
But sadly, she said her confidence now is even lower than when she was at her heaviest.
She has to wear clothes four sizes bigger than her 13 stone frame, and often feels too self-conscious to leave the house .
“I have more body issues now than I did when I was big,” said Emma, an administration assistant from Townsville in North Queensland, Australia.
“I’ve always believed that nobody will love me until I love myself, but when I was heavy I really did love myself. I thought I’d never change and that I’d live with that body forever, so I just accepted it.
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“Before I was outgoing and didn’t care what people thought, but now I’m much more of a recluse.
“I even feel self-conscious taking my clothes off in front of my partner of two years Douglas Murray, 22. He tells me he loves me no matter what, but I have no confidence.”
Having been big all her life, Emma weighed 28 stone by the time she was 17 – even more than she does now.
As such, she was teased mercilessly by her classmates, who would follow her through the corridors mooing at her.
The bullying got so bad that she found herself unable to focus during lessons, and had to repeat year 11.
“I used to spend a lot of time alone in the library. I would never eat at school because I didn’t want people to tease me,” said Emma.
“Eventually, I made a group of friends in the year below. We were all outcasts but we didn’t care, we banded together. Repeating a year was actually a good thing because I got to be in the same classes as them and, by then, the bullies had left.
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“I went from being someone who failed at school to someone who breezed through.”
After leaving school and flanked by the support of her new friends, Emma gradually grew more confident.
She stopped listening to cruel comments and began to feel comfortable with her body.
But however accepting she was of her size, she couldn’t understand why she kept gaining weight.
She said she ate a balanced diet, rarely gorged on junk or takeaways and got regular exercise by riding her bike everywhere she went
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Then, after repeated visits to doctors, it was discovered she actually had a rare syndrome that meant she was intolerant to carbohydrates – a huge part of her former diet.
It is now believed that this contributed massively to her eventually ballooning to 34 stone.
At her biggest, she made her own clothes so isn’t entirely sure what size she was – although she recalls getting one outfit specially tailored in a size 32.
“Even at my heaviest, I still think my diet was varied,” she explained.
“I’d often skip breakfast, but if I did eat it I’d choose toast or cereal. For lunch I’d have a pie and a can of coke then I’d always make dinner at home.
“I never got takeaways. Instead I would make things like vegetable or pasta bakes, lasagnes and stir fries.
“I never went back for seconds or thirds. I genuinely didn’t consider myself a big eater and couldn’t understand for the life of me why I kept gaining weight.
“Even at school, my mum would be worried about my weight and always ask me if I was secretly snacking, which I wasn’t. Everyone was baffled.”
Looking back, Emma said she can now see how carbohydrate heavy her diet was.
After being diagnosed with the intolerance three years ago via a blood test, she has now virtually cut carbohydrates out of her diet.
Other family members have followed suit and also seen dramatic weight loss results.
She continued: “Doctors have now told me that my biggest problem wasn’t that I was eating fatty foods, it’s that I was eating carbohydrates without realising I was intolerant to them.
“Had I known this, I would have tried to lose weight naturally rather than having gastric surgery.”
Emma finally decided to do something about her weight once and for all when she wanted to start a family with her now ex-husband, but was told by doctors there was no way she could do so at her current size.
From there, she was put on a wait list to undergo a gastric bypass at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.
However, it took almost five years before she was able to have the surgery.
Three months before the operation took place, she was called in for a consultation and asked to lose between 10 and 20kg.
In order to do so, she said she “basically stopped eating except for vegetables and shakes.”
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As her April 2010 surgery was done using keyhole methods rather than a full operation, recovery time was quick for Emma – and the results even quicker.
Within a week, she had shed 11 pounds, and by the time a month had past, she’d lost just over three stone.
However, it was not an easy journey.
Shortly after the operation, she began to feel constantly sick.
“I was told to expect some nausea, but I knew this wasn’t right. I couldn’t even keep down water – I just threw everything back up,” she said.
“Eventually, I was rushed back to hospital where they discovered the hole that joins my stomach and intestine had closed over.
“As I’d been so big before, my body could handle the dramatic weight loss otherwise it could have been really dangerous. I was also very dehydrated as only tiny amounts of water had been able to trickle through.”
For the next three months, Emma had to make the trip back to Brisbane every two weeks, where doctors put a balloon down her throat to expand the hole.
Even now, she returns every three to six months for checkups.
Though she is less-than-half her former size, she is still unhappy with her body.
The enormity of her weight loss has left her with saggy skin on her arms, stomach and legs.
Currently, she is fundraising for surgery to remove the folds but, as it’s classed as a cosmetic procedure, she must pay for it herself.
In order help with costs, has set up a GoFundMe page called ‘weight loss surgery skin fund.’
“I have between 20kg and 40kg of excess skin. It makes me so self-conscious,” said Emma.
“I’ve gotten it trapped in car doors before which is very painful, and can’t even go for a run because it moves and pulls so much.
“Even though I’m technically a size 12/14, I’m wearing size 20 trousers just so my skin isn’t hanging out.
“Skin surgery would help my self esteem dramatically. I could actually wear something pretty in size that fits me rather than just what covers everything up.”