I felt sexy when I was fat, now I have a body like a melted candle': Mother who regrets losing 11st wants NHS to pay for excess skin removal
15:17 GMT, 4 May 2012
A mother-of-three, who regrets losing 11 stone through dieting because it has left her with rolls of saggy skin, wants the NHS to pay for her to 'look normal again'.
Kelly Childs was a size 28 who weighed 24 stone before she went on a strict diet to shed the pounds. She now weighs 13 stone and is a size 12 but says she has never felt worse about her looks as her weightloss has left her with unsightly excess skin on her arms and stomach.
'The rolls of skin I have been left with disgust me. The NHS won’t fund
surgery to help me look normal again and I can’t afford to get the skin
removed myself', she said.
Hates her body: Kelly Childs, who lost 11 stone by dieting, has been left with unsightly excess skin on her stomach and arms
'I still felt sexy when I was fat, but now I just felt freaky. I could
live with being a buxom big girl, but not with a body that looked like a
Kelly has been refused an operation to remove the excess skin on the
NHS, on the basis that it isn't a life
threatening matter and is classed as a cosmetic
‘It's so unfair because I’d heard of women having boob jobs on the
NHS. I didn’t want to look like a model, I just wanted to be normal and
not have the body of a pensioner. I felt like all the hard work had been
for nothing because life was better when I was fat,’ she said.
Kelly had been slim in her youth but her weight gradually crept up after she married husband Keith, 31, and had children, Ethan, now 12, Ajay, now ten and Bethany, now six.
'Body like a melted candle': Kelly wants the NHS to pay for her to have the skin removed
Each time she was pregnant, she reveled in being able to 'eat for two' and didn't care about her increasing size. ‘I had always liked my food and it was great not to have to watch what I
ate. I indulged in cheese sandwiches, pastries and chocolate telling
myself it was fine because I was pregnant,' she said.
After giving birth, she always vowed to get back into shape but admitted 'junk food was my crutch so it became a vicious circle and I’d try new diets only to fail after a few days.’
When she tipped the scales at 24-and-a-half-stone, her GP recommended she should have a gastric band fitted to help her lose weight.
The 31-year-old was put on a waiting list to have the operation, which involves cutting the stomach into a smaller pouch so only small portions can be consumed.
Regrets: Kelly is now a size 12, left, but said she felt sexier when she was larger
The prospect of becoming slimmer gave Kelly incentive to think about her diet and she become determined to lose weight believing if she did, 'everything would be perfect.'
‘Suddenly all I could think about was being slim and being able to do
things with the kids like go on the slide at the park. I couldn’t wait
for the next appointment,’ she said.
She joined Slimming World where she was taught to eat more healthily and so swapped her regular diet of junk food for soups, salads and fruit.
As a result, her weight gradually came down, until she had eventually lost 11st, so she no longer needed the gastric band fitted and rang to cancel the procedure.
‘I was over the moon that it was happening at last and proud that I was
saving the NHS thousands my doing it myself. They congratulated me and I
thought that was it, success.’
Eating for two: The mother-of-three piled on the pounds during her three pregnancies and said she was more out going when she was fat than she is now
But over the next few months her joy wavered. First Kelly started to notice folds of skin that didn’t seem to be going anywhere despite losing more and more weight.
She was disgusted with her new body and the impact on her confidence meant she stopped socialising and started to avoid having sex with her husband.
'When I was big I was what I was and that was it, but now I was trying to hide these hideous folds of skin and it was impossible,’ she said.
As she had saved the NHS money by not having the gastric band fitted, Kelly thought they would be willing to pay for her excess skin removal.
However, the spokesperson for Bexley Care Trust said: ‘GPs in Bexley follow the Southeast London treatment access policy for exceptional procedures. The exercision of redundant skin is classed as a cosmetic procedure and only undertaken in exceptional circumstances after approval by a funding request panel.’
Not on the NHS: An op to remove the excess skin will have to be paid for privately because it is a cosmetic procedure
Kelly said she was devastated when she heard she would not get the procedure on the NHS and she will now have to spend years saving up to have the surgery privately.
‘That night I looked in the mirror and pulled out the handfuls of skin and cried my eyes out. I had swapped one prison for another.I thought having lost the weight myself and saving the NHS money they might look favourably at my case. I felt like all my hard work had been for nothing.’
Kelly now says not a day passes when she doesn’t miss her old bigger self and she has warned other women to think twice before dieting.
‘I remain proud of losing my weight naturally but I can’t pretend it has made me happier', she said. ‘At least when I was big I had hope of one day being slim and confident. But now that has gone and every day I wonder if I would be better off getting fat again.
‘Before starting a diet women need to know the reality of what it really
does to your body. I don’t look like I imagined I would at all. My confidence, my sex life and social life have been ruined.’