A morbidly obese woman has lost almost half her body weight after cracking her chocolate addiction.
Anita Garrett was such a chocaholic that she managed to get through 9,000 bars a year. Her weight grew to 28st and she wore a size 34.
But now, after giving up chocolate for good, she has managed to slim down to 13st and wears a size 12.
By 18, Anita says she was eating three big bars daily, and at her heaviest, she ate five family-sized blocks a day.
10 years ago, when she was at her peak weight, the government team leader from Auckland, New Zealand had a gastric bypass and lost 11st, both through the effects of the operation and an improved diet.
However, after the birth of her son Brody, who was born with Tuberous Schlerosis, a condition that causes tumours to grow on his brain, she began stress eating and regained all the weight she had lost.
Anita says that for many years she had turned to chocolate to help her cope emotionally.
‘For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved chocolate,’ she says.
Can you stretch a gastric sleeve?
According to Spire Manchester Hospital, a gastric band will stretch if the portion size consumed is increased.
Stomach capacity will gradually increase the more you eat – and the more you eat, the more the stomach capacity increases. This means that the initial restriction felt after surgery starts to reduce and you begin to feel more hungry.
Eating large chunks of solid food can also cause an obstruction in the band which can result in a return to hospital to have them removed.
‘As a kid, my family would sit down with a big block together and divvy it out while watching the TV.
‘It was always my go-to when I was happy, sad or even bored,’ she said.
‘For the first six months of his life, we were camped out at the hospital living off the contents of the nearest vending machine,’ Anita says.
‘I’d lost about 11st before Brody was born, so I knew the effects it would have on my waistline.
‘But I just didn’t care any more. The only thing that mattered was being with Brody, so I ate whatever I could get my hands on.’
Within a few months, she was so big that she couldn’t tie her own shoe laces or walk to the shops without becoming breathless.
‘I didn’t want to live that way again – especially now I had a sick kid who needed me.
‘One day I realised I didn’t want to be fat anymore. The chocolate had to go.’
This time, she couldn’t rely on surgery to help as she’d stretched her reduced stomach, so she had to go down a more conventional route.
She joined a gym, got a personal trainer, went on a high protein diet and cut out sugar.
‘I dropped 3st in just a few months. I was thrilled,’ she says.
Anita soon dropped below 15st 7lb for the first time – which was lighter than she’d been as a teenager – but she was left with ‘heaps of saggy skin’.
‘I could literally hear it flapping when I worked out,’ she said.
Anita flew to Thailand to have it removed – she couldn’t afford to do so in her native New Zealand – and had an extended tummy tuck while she was there.
Now, her healthy living has become second nature – and Brody, now 5, is enjoying his healthy new mummy.
‘At first, going to the gym every day was hard, but now it’s a habit and I feel awful if I don’t go,’ she says.
‘Brody loves the new slimmer me and, though he can’t talk because of his condition, I know he’s proud of me because of the big smile on his face.
‘He faces so many struggles in life, the last thing I want is to not be around for him.’