Four years ago Linda Pearson struggled to even climb the stairs. At 27 stone she was also putting her life at risk.
This summer she successfully climbed Mount Snowdon after losing 16 stone following a gastric bypass and radical changes to her lifestyle.
“Climbing Mount Snowdon was both hard and exhilarating,” says Linda, 62, a married mum of two and grandmother of four.
“Going from somebody who could barely walk, to climbing a mountain just blows me away. I still find it hard to believe I actually did it. It took four hours to get to the top and two hours to come down.” Linda completed the challenge with her daughter and raised £500 for WLSinfo, a charity supporting people who have undergone weight loss surgery.
After a lifetime of struggling with her weight and spending most of her time on a diet, she managed to lose 12 stones but put it back on over the next two years. She became so big she was almost immobile and hardly left the house.
“All my family had issues with their weight. My brother had a gastric bypass, both my parents and my grandparents were overweight. After my parents split up when I was a child I started to comfort eat.
“My problem was in controlling quantity and my downfall was my love of chocolate. I could eat five bars at once when I had a craving.I thought if I didn’t do something my life would be very short.
“I felt that surgery was the only long term option so that I could enjoy my life with my daughters and grandchildren.”
Linda had bariatric surgery in June 2010 at Spire Leeds Hospital under the care of Stephen Pollard, consultant weight loss surgeon. Prior to her operation she weighed 27 stone. At 5ft 6 inches her Body Mass Index (BMI) was approximately 59 (healthy BMI is 18.5 to 24.9) and her dress size was 38.
Mr Pollard, who has performed more than 3,000 gastric bypass procedures, said: “Linda was at risk of a shortened life expectancy and of developing Type 2 Diabetes and other weight-related health problems. She could not control her weight with dieting - it had to be a lifestyle change.
A gastric bypass was the best option for her as she was too heavy for a gastric band and could have expected to lose only a quarter of her body weight. After the gastric bypass procedure she was able to lose 40 per cent of her total body weight.”
The turning point for her was on a holiday in Cyprus. “I got off that plane with sore and bruised knees from the pressure of the seat on front. I never left the apartment during the day for the whole two weeks we were there; I only went out to eat when it was dark. I felt so down and guilty because my husband was off sightseeing on his own. I vowed then that I would never go on holiday again as a super morbidly obese person.” On her return, she booked an appointment with her GP.