MELISA MORRISON is 36 and a distributor for nutritional supplements. She lives in Cuminestown, Aberdeenshire, with her husband Charlie, 41.
At 15, I weighed 10st 10lb. I was a cheerleader, quite tall at 5ft 9in, and fit-I played basketball and volleyball-but I felt fat. In fact, it was the thinnest I’ve ever been. Over the next 20 years my weight yo-yoed. I was 27st 5lb (173kg) at my heaviest, but lost nearly 18st in all.
At 19 I’d reached over 18st but I worked in South America for six months and managed to lose over 7st. But a year later I was back in the USA and I’d started overeating again. I went back to over 18st again and the weight continued to pile on.
I didn’t have a boyfriend and, to be honest, my self-esteem was pretty low, but I made contact with Charlie on the Internet and we arranged to meet up in June 1999. By then I was over 25st. Charlie and I hit it off really well, he made me feel so special and we starting dating. He didn’t seem bothered about my weight-he’s not overweight himself-and asked me to marry him. But I didn’t want to be a fat bride, so I went on the Atkins diet, eating loads of protein and no carbohydrates. I managed to lose over 2st before I married Charlie, and we moved to Scotland in December 1999.
I did the Atkins again after our wedding and got down to 22st. But the following year I’d gone up to 25st again. I really wanted to do something about my weight problem. I mountain-biked, hiked, swam and even dieted with Charlie. He lost half a stone but I gained more weight. Nothing seemed to work, and I wasn’t cheating. My weight problem really affected my everyday life- and my confidence. Kids used to laugh at me and say things like ‘Here comes an earthquake’, I had to use disabled toilets because I couldn’t fit in normal sized cubicles. I couldn’t even fit in a seat in the cinema. I felt so humiliated that in the end I stopped going out and I just hid in the house. I was fed up with feeling constantly hungry, weak and guilty. A doctor eventually told me that if I didn’t do something soon I’d be diabetic. I had chronic back pain and my heart was beating irregularly. I was going downhill fast, physically and emotionally. Charlie was so supportive, but terrified about what the doctor had said. I’d fought with my weight all my life, lost more than 10st, but put it all back on again. I wanted to get my health back, to get my life back. I knew I had to do something drastic, so I chose to have gastric bypass surgery.
When I went under the knife in March this year, I weighed 27st 2lb. I’ve lost at least 1st every six weeks since- almost 8st so far, and I’m now just over 19st.
It’s brilliant, I know it’s a really dramatic step to take, but I think it was the only thing that would work for me. And it is working. I feel like a new woman already. My blood pressure’s down, I don’t snore any more, I can fit into a normal toilet and I can run up and down the stairs. I want to be a size 14 and weigh around 12st.
I’ll need to take supplements for the rest of my life, because having the bypass means I’m not absorbing nutrients well from my food. I also suffer from dizziness, nausea and
diarrhoea if I have too much sugar, and I know I’ll have to have corrective and reconstructive surgery because, having lost a lot of weight, I have so much loose skin. I still have such a long way to go. If the weight loss slows down, I panic. I have such a fear of failure. But the surgery was a tool to achieve this new life I have and I’m not about to abuse it. I want men-and women-to admire what they see. It’s a very long time since I had that, and I’m looking forward to it.