Taking on the Race 4 Life is a new challenge for a Cranfield woman who has dropped seven dress sizes following a major operation.
Louise Boniface, 43, had been overweight most of her life and by the age of 40 weighed 127kg and was a size 24.
The HR business partner for Signature Flight Support, who works at Luton Airport, decided to have a gastric sleeve fitted after talking to a Greek colleague whose wife had a sleeve gastrectomy.
Gastric sleeve surgery works by removing a large portion of the stomach, leaving a banana shaped ‘sleeve’ that connects the oesophagus to the small intestine.
Despite a fear of operations, Mrs Boniface interviewed four surgeons. She said: “Bruno Sgromo was the last one on my list but within two minutes, I knew he was the man for the job. He had a personal approach and was so sympathetic. He understood the emotional journey behind my weight gain.”
Mrs Boniface said she had been overweight since childhood and had been a yo-yo dieter. At her lightest, she was a size 16 at the age of 21.
The operation took place in January 2013 at The Manor Hospital, in Oxford. She stopped smoking and went on a liver-shrinking diet.
She said: “On the day of the surgery, because I had a complete phobia about waking up half-way through the op, it took the anaesthetist about 20 minutes to try to calm me down.
“When I woke up after the op I thought ‘This is it – the start of the rest of my life!’ The sense of relief and excitement was quite overwhelming.”
It took four months for Mrs Boniface to build up tolerance to normal food.
She was predicted to lose 70 per cent of her excess weight, but at her two-year check up she had lost all of it, dropping to a size 10 and weighing 70kg.
“Even my shoe size has gone down by two sizes. My own mother walked past me in the MK shopping centre without recognising me!”
Mrs Boniface is now in traiing to do the Race 4 Life in July.
Some of the biggest changes she has noticed since her operation is that she never feels hungry and that her tastebuds have changed.
“I get a little bit peckish when I haven’t eaten for a long time,” she said. “Most of the time I graze throughout the day, but it is in very small amounts. I know my case isn’t typical because my recovery was long, but in my case it is just what comes naturally.
“I don’t like fried stuff and I’ve gone off tea. My family has noticed a difference in my confidence and activity levels.”