Meet Emma, an office manager from Hertfordshire. Emma, who had always struggled with weight, became a secret eater after a family bereavement. It wasn’t until a family member pointed out her weight gain in a recent photo that she realised what damage she was doing to her body and how she needed to take control of her health.
Other weight loss programmes had given her some success, but she was unable to sustain the weight loss and returned to yoyo dieting.
Weight lost: 5st 6lbs
Life Before the Balloon
Emma had been overweight as far back as she could remember and had always struggled to control her weight. Despite losing weight with Slimming World, she could never seem to maintain it long-term and ended up yo-yo dieting. In the Summer of 2021, she tragically lost both grandparents in just two days and turned to food to cope with her grief. She became a secret eater and often ate after everyone had turned in for the night. Once her eating habits started spiralling out of control, she knew she needed to change. Emma had a powerful wake-up call when a family member pointed out her weight gain in a photo. She realised she was slowly damaging her body and knew it was time to take control of her health. Doing research on weight loss solutions, she found the Gastric Balloon Group and liked the idea of the procedure. She didn’t want anything too invasive like a sleeve or bypass, and the non-surgical procedure process of having the gastric balloon ticked all the boxes.
The Procedure: An Experience to Remember
Even though most patients find the gastric balloon procedure manageable, Emma found it particularly difficult, especially given the COVID restrictions that prevented her from having any family support during the implantation process. However, she was grateful for the excellent pre-insertion care the Gastric Balloon Group provided. Their detailed emails gave her the information and support she needed to prepare herself mentally for the procedure.
“It was a lot to take in, and they broke everything down and sent me everything I needed to know via email, so I could process it in my own time.”
Although the first few days were tough, with medication and determination, she slowly adjusted to the balloon. She faced the additional challenge of accidentally knocking the injection site in her ankle, causing pain every time she touched it. But despite this adversity, she refused to give up on her journey towards a healthier and happier life.
An Uphill Journey
With a gastric balloon, everyone’s experience is different.
It proved difficult for Emma to adjust to – after all, it was a foreign object taking up space within her stomach! The first 3-4 months were the worst for her, almost sending her to breaking point. Even a walk in the park required a lot of effort. “I literally had no energy whatsoever.” As a result of being unable to eat and having no energy to exercise, the weight loss was slow at first. But the thought of quitting and having the balloon removed was never an option for Emma. “It was never a thought in my mind. It was going in for a year and it was staying in for a year.”
Rough Start, Strong Finish
Despite the obstacles that she faced early on, Emma learnt to adapt to her gastric balloon and only had it removed because it had reached the end of its duration!
“A lot of people have the balloon removed very quickly. I would say: Stick with it.”
Even in the first month after her balloon’s removal, Emma continued to lose weight. She’s increased her trips to the gym and goes 2-3 times per week, and while sometimes she skips a day or two, she always tries to make up for it the next day.
Having little experience in exercise before losing weight, Emma tried ‘Couch to 5k’ and discovered how enjoyable fitness can be.“It’s the confidence to go to the gym and run in front of all those people.”
For Emma, it feels great to walk into shops with the confidence that she can fit in smaller sizes after losing weight.