A mum who once weighed 30 stone still struggles with choosing what to wear after losing half her body weight left her with rolls of excess skin.
Jemma Wood often finds herself in tears as she still doesn’t like what she sees in the mirror and still chooses has wear baggy clothes to hide her shape.
The 42-year-old, from Uttoxeter, says she even tucks her stomach into her trousers to disguise it while she is out and about despite dropping an incredible 15 stone. Now she is asking for donations to help pay for an operation to have two stone of skin removed.
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The mum of three told StaffordshireLive: “I’ve been a single mum most of my life and raised my children on my own. I’m 42 now and getting my life into order now my children are older.
“I lost all the weight and I’m still having to put tops on that are loose and come down to my knees. Every single day I’m putting on clothes and I feel sad as the skin is still showing through my clothes. majority of my weight is carried on my stomach and I’m now getting a bad back because of it.
“I want to be able to wear fitted clothes, not crop tops or bikinis, but I can’t because I need to hide it. I want to show pride in myself as I’ve been overweight all my life. Every day is a contention putting clothes on as my skin is showing. I’m wearing clothes to hide my body like I did before.
“I have loose skin from my neck down to my privates and I’m going to have to go abroad to remove it. I have pockets of loose skin, so I can’t wear vest tops.
“It’s like an empty pouch that’s stuck to my stomach. My back aches terribly because of all this weight continuously pulling forward. I’ve been getting really down and wearing men’s clothing to cover it. I just need some help.
“I know I ate too much and got too big, but I sorted that out and I don’t deserve this. My neck looks like a Christmas turkey. I’ve lost more confidence than I’ve gained due to the skin. It was firm and tough before I lost the weight – in some ways I feel worse. “
Healthcare co-ordinator Jemma’s weight loss journey started five years ago when she tipped the scales at 30 stone. She had always struggled with her weight, which matched her age growing up – so when she was 11 she weighed 11 stone. She was raised on good food, but the portions were large and she was taught to always clear her plate.
As she got older, Jemma was bullied over her weight, which led to an unhealthy relationship with food, describing it as a “terrible addiction”. Back in 2008, she had a gastric band fitted, which led to her becoming desperately ill, including being malnourished, and she had to have it removed.
When it went, the weight she had lost soon returned. But when a friend, who weighed less than she did at nearly 30 stone, had a heart attack five years ago, Jemma knew changes needed to be made as she feared for her own life.
She started walking more, gradually building up how far she went to now doing 70,000 steps in one day, and made changes over time to her eating habits. She now she weighs in at 15 stone, including the excess skin.
She is now a completely different person, living a much healthier lifestyle and completely changing her relationship with food. She has vowed never to go back to how she was before.
Jemma says she now has much more energy, sometimes not being able to sit still and having to find things to do, and she is sleeping better at night. She said: “I’ve got energy I’ve never had before. I sleep better, feel better and it’s had a massive knock-on effect.
“People treat you differently when you’re obese – people look down on you. They think you must be smelly, stupid or lazy.
“I wasn’t any of them – I had a terrible food addiction where it became my best friend and worst enemy. People will say it’s my own fault as I’ve done this. I did but I don’t deserve to suffer for the rest of my life. People can be quick to judge. “
Jemma has now set up a GoFundMe page to help raise the money she needs to have the excess skin removed. She says she will probably end up needing to go abroad to get it done and has set a target of £ 10,000.
Anyone who can help her to raise the money can do so by visiting https://www.gofundme.com/f/yvbz8-help-give-me-back-my-body
Jemma’s diet before the weight loss and now
Breakfast – in the morning I would always have an entire pot of tea with sugar and an entire loaf of bread with proper butter. I would also have chocolate and crisps throughout the morning.
Lunch – a fried bacon and egg sandwich with thick bread.
Dinner – I would have enough food to feed a village and would mop it up with bread. I never really had a takeaway but I would have Yorkshire puddings, pies and pastries, with around 10,000 calories a day. There was lots of bread, butter and cheese. If I went out I had a three-course meal and I would pick something else up on the way back home and have more food when I got back.
Breakfast – I don’t really do breakfast now
Lunch – I tend to have something like homemade soup, no bread or butter though, or salad and wraps with tuna or boiled eggs and maybe a little bit of dressing. The wraps are mainly salad.
Dinner – I do like fish and have a plate full of salad. I have fish four or five times a week as there are so many things that can be done with it. I have rice instead of potatoes and lots of veg and salad.
Evening snack – I have a hot chocolate – Options is low calories – or Shreddies with tinned fruit if I need a sugar boost.
Tips of making the lifestyle change:
Jemma had to completely change her way of thinking to achieve her weight loss and it was a gradual process. She had always been brought up to clear her plate – which she did and it led to an increased appetite. So she started by leaving a bit of food on her plate and throwing it away to change this mindset.
She swapped foods for lower fat content like mincemeat – using the less than 5 per cent versions instead. Drinking lots of water instead of sugary drinks and stopped using lard and dripping, replacing with Fry Light. She fills up on foods like salad and has gradually reduced her portion sizes.
Jemma also does not deprive herself of a food she fancies – but only in moderation. If she wants a chocolate bar, she will have one but she will not allow herself another one for a certain time period. She has also found replacements to keep her sweet tooth satisfied with tinned fruit and hot chocolate which has less calories than eating a bar of chocolate.
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