“I can’t remember being smaller than a size 12. When I was 16, weighing 80kg, I had my debut and my dress size matched my age,” Ann says.
“I was down to 76kg when I got married at 20 but when I had my first baby at age 29 the scales ticked over at 92kg.
“When I had my last child at 32 the scales hit 113kg.”
Ann says over the next 20 years her weight fluctuated as she tried all diets imaginable, and while she enjoyed playing tennis with her friends she could not keep her weight under control.
“I could never manage to maintain my weight, it would always go back on, plus some,” she says.
The catalyst to investigate bariatric surgery
After putting her three children through private school, Ann and her husband travelled with friends to Vietnam but the experience was filled with humiliation and embarrassment.
“When we were preparing to fly I was anxious, not that the plane would crash, but I was worried if I would fit in the seat or if the seatbelt would fit,” she says.
“I hadn’t even considered that the meal trays may not go down, and they didn’t – humiliating.”
After returning home, Ann went to see her GP about her blood pressure and her doctor gave her two choices, lose weight (she weighed 131kg) or up the medication.
“I knew what I had to do – get my blood pressure down by losing weight and get moving,” she says.
“I also wanted to look half decent for my daughters wedding in the coming months.”
Through diet and exercise, Ann lost 22kg and was down to 109kg for her daughter’s wedding but that didn’t last and she starting putting weight back on.
“Panic set in, mind games began. I thought I was a failure, lacked self control and was comfort eating,” she says.
At a loss, Ann started investigating bariatric surgery.
“I made an appointment to see a bariatric surgeon, and I got lucky there was a cancellation so was able to schedule my surgery at St John of God Geelong Hospital for a few months later,” she says.
“Now, over a year since the surgery I can see the life-changing effects it has had.
“I now stop eating when I’m full, I am active and enjoying life.
“I actually went back to Vietnam and the trip was much more active this time, my son-in-law and I were climbing rocks to get to the top of mountains, went through little holes in caves and did so much walking that I would never have been able to do before.”
After bariatric surgery
After bariatric surgery, Ann says her weight now hovers consistently around to 78 to 80kg mark and she says it is the little things for which she is most grateful.
“I can cross my legs as before they were too big as was my belly. I can find stockings that fit. I wear Spanx to stop things wobbling rather than to hold everything in. I can walk a long distance, at a good pace and be able to talk at the same time.
“I know a size 14 will fit and I feel normal (whatever that is).
“This has been the best decision of my life.”