By Josh Saunders
A formerly-obese mum who lost 12 stone is now haunted by her deflated boobs and rolls of sagging skin that cause constant infections and is ruining her sex life
Michelle Cooper, 34, from Wednesfield, West Midlands, used to gorge her way through over five thousand calories of McDonalds breakfasts, takeaway food and chocolate based snacks each day
She was regularly reminded of her obesity with strangers yelling abuse at her from car windows telling her she was ‘fat’, ‘looked pregnant’, ‘needed to lose weight’ and more
After countless failed diets and weight loss pills, she was offered £10,000 gastric sleeve surgery on the NHS due to her declining health when she weighed over 21 stone.
Since then, the mum-of-two has shed a remarkable 12 stone thanks to a restricted diet, healthy food choices and Slimming World.
But now she feels ‘disgusting’ after being plagued by mounds of excess skin that left her with ‘deflated boobs’, an ‘apron of flab’ and skin infections that regular affect her sex life.
She’s fundraising to have a tummy tuck after being rejected by the NHS and hopes to no longer be stuck with the stench and embarrassment of constant bacterial infections.
Michelle, a full-time carer, said: “I’m very grateful for getting the weight loss surgery but now I feel worse than I ever did before.
“I see rolls from everywhere, it even hangs from under my armpits, my boobs are like deflated balloons with water in the end and I look disgusting.
“It’s like a loose saggy apron of nasty haggard old skin, there are creases and folds everywhere.
“I feel ugly in a different way, when I look in the mirror every morning I see the horrid excess skin and have bad smelling infections it’s very depressing.
“When an infection breaks out it’s horrible, the skin is red raw, you feel constantly dirty no matter how many times you wash and it smells to high heavens.
“It’s difficult being intimate with my partner because of the infections I get, I just turn away from him because I don’t feel attractive.
“It’s terrible, I tell my partner not to come near me because I feel so insecure about my rashes.
“Having the surgery would mean the world to me, currently I feel terrible and look vile, so getting it done would help my life so much.
“I feel like life is harder now than when I was fat, I don’t feel like a woman anymore and feel let down because I can’t have skin removal surgery.
“So now I’m fundraising to change my life – being able to get clothes that fit, to not feel like I smell because of the infection and just be more confident would help me so much.”
Michelle’s weight gain began in 2000 after meeting partner Gary Hart, 37, when she became content, stopped dieting and gained three stone while carrying their twin daughters.
She said: “When I met my partner I was a size 10 and very small, but the more content I became I just let myself go and it progressed from there.
“I was always eating takeaways from McDonalds to KFC and was having full fat meals late at night, picking wrong things like pork scratchings instead of healthy foods.
“The weight piled on and on, then I put on three stone with our twin girls, I tried all types of diets and weight loss pills but nothing worked.”
She was regularly abused while in public for her weight, with people making cruel comments, teenagers teasing and laughing at her.
Michelle said: “While walking down the road people would shout abuse out of the window at me, they would call me fat, swear at me and tell me I looked pregnant.
“Other people would yell horrible things like ‘lose some f***ing weight’, ‘fat b****’ or go on a ‘f***ing diet’.
“Once while I was working as a dental nurse someone came up to me and asked if I was pregnant, she wasn’t being nasty she just thought it was true because of my size.”
At her heaviest she had a BMI over 50, which put her into the highest level of obesity and presented her with health problems until she had weight loss surgery in 2013.
Michelle said: “I would walk up the stairs and be fighting for breath, my legs would constantly chafe while walking and I couldn’t do fun things with my kids.
“I was given an amazing chance to have weight loss surgery on the NHS because I was on the verge of diabetes, had sciatica in my back and was on blood pressure tablets at just 29 years old.”
Michelle lost most of her weight in 12 months but continued to work away more of the fat in her body through changing her diet.
She said: “I’m healthy now, I’m not eating rubbish or takeaways, I know I could never go back to the way I was before and now I use Slimming World to help keep myself on track.
“I feel fantastic about all the weight I’ve lost, I don’t struggle for breath while walking and when I see myself in the mirror I can’t believe who is looking back at me – the only problem is my excess skin.”
Losing 12 stone had a severe effect on Michelle’s body, leaving her with lots of saggy skin which she is now fundraising to remove.
Michelle said: “I was told by my doctor that if I had the weight loss surgery, I could also have the skin removal too, I took his word for that but was rejected.
“I was lucky not to be left with a turkey neck, but I still have excess skin under my arms, between my thighs and from my stomach – overall it hangs like a 360-degree apron.
“I could say I want skin removal all over my body and surgery to stop my boobs from dropping to the floor, but it’s just my stomach I need help with, I just want to stop the infections and the smell.
“If I see a belly button infection coming on I try to treat it early, but it doesn’t always work because the hanging skin is moist and gets yucky bacteria in it.
“While I can’t stand my appearance, my husband loves and stood by me even when I was a size 26, anyone else may have run for the hills but all he wants is to make me happy.”
You can donate: www.gofundme.com/surgery-on-saggy-skin
MICHELLE’S 5,000 PLUS CALORIE DIET BEFORE
Breakfast – two McDonalds sausage and egg McMuffin with hash browns – 590, 590
Snacks – pork scratchings, crisps and Galaxy caramel – 154, 152, 232
Lunch – large cheese and onion cob with mayonnaise, two packets of crisps and chocolate bar – 325, 300, 155
Snacks – muller corner with chocolate balls 201
Dinner – Curry with keema pilau rice, keema naa and poppadums with mint sauce – 398, 427, 850, 150
Dessert – chocolate pudding in tin with extra chocolate sauce on top – 916
Breakfast – whole meal bread with low-fat cheese and scrambled eggs
Snack – muller light or yoghurt or fruit
Lunch – salmon with lettuce leaves, tomatoes, cucumber and low-calorie dressing
Dinner – ActiFry salmon with rice and sweet corn or stir-fry with low calorie spray