A Littlehampton teacher has lost nearly five stone since swallowing a gastric balloon in a bid to end her weight-creep, caused by ‘wine o’clock’ and snacking.
Andrea Norris was the biggest she had ever been when she reached her 50th birthday weighing 16 stone.
She said savoury snacks and wine had become ‘emotional rewards’ at the end of a busy day and this had become her way of relaxing, as she did not go out much. Andrea is a part-time teacher at White Meadows Primary Academy and mum to 16-year-old Max, who was born with cranial facial disorder Treacher Collins Syndrome and is also deaf, and Teagan, 10, plus her pilot husband is away from home five days a week.
Andrea, now 51, said: “I was the biggest I had ever been and I hated it. We had a professional photographer at my 50th birthday party but I really didn’t like having my photo taken. I can’t look at those photos now, which is really sad as it was a lovely day.”
Andrea was 11st when Max was born but over the years, she grew larger and the older she got, the harder it was to lose weight.
The answer, she decided, could be the Elipse gastric balloon, which she found out about on a television programme.
The device is swallowed and then inflated with liquid inside the stomach. It naturally deflates after four months and is passed out through the digestive tract.
Andrea went to Spire Gatwick Park Hospital in Horley to see consultant bariatric surgeon Simon Monkhouse and had the procedure on April 26 last year.
She now weighs 11st 13lbs but wants to lose more to fit comfortably into size 12 clothes.
Andrea said: “I feel fantastic. The balloon has been such a good thing, I want more people to know about it.
“I’m having lots of fun selling my old larger clothes on eBay and using the money to buy new ones. I was never fussed about clothes when I was big but now I’m often sending photos of myself in new outfits to my friends to see what they think.”
With guidance from Spire Gatwick Park dietician Lucy Jones, known for her role on BBC 1’s Eat Well for Less, Andrea lost 2st 11lbs before she felt the balloon pop one night as she turned over in bed.
She said the good habits she had learned helped her to continue to lose weight and her progress chart is now proudly displayed in her lounge.