The weigh forward
Amanda Waldram, 48, from Nottingham, adored food, but was her passion sending her to an early grave?
Tucking into a delicious sticky toffee pudding, I rubbed my belly. ‘That was delicious!’ I said proudly. I’d just served up a huge traditional English roast, complete with potatoes, carrots dripping in butter, and cheesy cauliflower. And now it was time for the sticky sweet English treat. ‘I’m impressed!’ said my friend Monique. Originally from San Diego, Monique was a friend of mine from uni. We were both mature students, and she was living with me and my husband, Darron, and our kids, Sullivan, seven, and Kyra, four, while we completed our law degrees. But law wasn’t the only thing we had a passion for – we both adored food. Ever since she’d moved in, we’d been taking turns to show off our culinary skills, holding cooking competitions almost every night.
Just the night before, we’d all tucked into one of Monique’s specialities – a plate of burritos oozing with sour cream and cheese.
Between the two of us, we were getting through about three pounds of butter a week! It didn’t bother me that much. Yes, I was overweight, but I was so used to it by now. I’d been 16st when I had Kyra, and had piled on the pounds ever since. But I loved everything about food – thinking about it, preparing it, and eating it – and being overweight was just part of the deal.
That evening, polishing off my large portion of pudding, I suddenly felt a niggling pain in my side. I’m sure it’s just indigestion, I thought. As the evening went on, the pain became worse, and I found myself shuffling around in my seat trying to shift it. Later that night, after the kids had gone to bed, I was suddenly violently sick. ‘I think I need to go to the hospital,’ I told Darron. I was in agony, and at Queen’s
Medical Centre in Nottingham, I was given morphine while doctors ran tests.
‘You have cholecystitis,’ a doctor explained afterwards.
It was an infection in the gallbladder, caused by cholesterol.
I was also told that my gallbladder was full of stones – like a bag of marbles!
‘So what happens now?’ I asked, petrified.
‘It’s very serious,’ the doctor said. ‘We’ll need to operate to remove your gallbladder immediately.’
And, as if that news wasn’t enough to try to take in, I was then told that I was too overweight to undergo keyhole surgery.
I wasn’t sure exactly, but I knew I had to be over 20st…
To be eligible for surgery, I’d need to get my BMI down to 36.
I was devastated. ‘I’ve done this to myself,’ I cried to Darron, so embarrassed. The next day, doctors discharged me. ‘We’ll give you a chance to get your weight down,’ I was told. I was glad to be going home, but I knew there was a long road ahead. I was in terrible pain, my cholecystitis ran the risk of becoming septic, and my gallbladder was blocked.
If I ate anything remotely fatty – even a buttered sarnie – I’d be sick.
But Darron helped me through, and after weeks of eating nothing but lean meats and vegetables, my BMI was finally low enough for me to undergo surgery.
After the operation, my doctor said my gallbladder had been so enlarged, that they’d only just managed to remove it.
It was the wake up call I needed.
And, a few months later, I was determined to make a change.
‘I need to do something about my weight,’ I said to Darron.
Then, for the first time in over a decade, I stood on the scales. 18st 6lb. I was mortified. The next day, I signed up to
Showing off had come at a price
Weight Watchers. Following their low calorie diet, I managed to drop 6st in a year. I felt so much better, too – I was no longer in pain, and all my clothes fit better.
But the following year proved very difficult.
After losing Darron’s dad, my dad, and both my grandparents within the space of a few months, my healthy eating took a backseat.
Then, my mum was diagnosed with cancer. So depressed, I fell back into my bad habits, and started using food for comfort.
And before I knew it, I’d crept back up to 17st. Thankfully, Mum was eventually given the all clear.
‘Right, we both need to get back on our feet,’ she said one day.
Mum set the example by signing up to Weight Watchers herself, and soon enough, I’d followed suit.
Together, we followed the diet plans and even started exercising.
It took a bit longer for me to shift the weight this time, but, two years later, I was down to 13st 10lb.
Losing the weight has improved my mood and sleep, but, more importantly, I’ve nipped it in the bud before any other fat-related conditions set in.
It’s a weight off my shoulders, in more ways than one.
I was embarrassed
I wanted to be around for my kids