By Josh Saunders
A doting mum has fulfilled a childhood promise to pay for her daughter’s excess skin removal surgery after she lost nine stone.
Laura Rood, 32, from Las Vegas in Nevada, USA, was told by mum, Joan, that if she could successfully lose weight she would complete her transformation by paying for cosmetic surgery.
At her heaviest Laura weighed 22st 7 (315lb), piling on pounds during her first marriage and consuming highly calorific food to counter depression after her father died.
After countless failed diet attempts, the paralegal student had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy – where surgeons removed part of her stomach in 2015.
Her restricted appetite combined with a strict diet and daily exercise, helped her to lose a whopping nine stone (130lb).
But the extreme transformation left Laura with sagging excess skin that she says made her look like fictional film character E.T and her breasts like ‘flattened watermelons’.
Fulfilling her 15-year-old vow, Laura’s mum forked out $20,000 (GBP16,500) on surgery to remove 11lb of skin from her daughter’s stomach and transformed her ‘hanging’ H-cup breasts to E-cups.
Laura said: “When I was 16-years-old, my mother told me that if I got to a healthy weight and needed to have something done cosmetically she would pay for it.
“As a 31-year-old, she did that for me and it was an amazing gift that I’ll never be able to fully thank her for.
“It cost over $20,000, I couldn’t have ever afforded that, now when I look in the mirror I don’t feel bad about how I look which is amazing.
“Before I really struggled. I had worked so hard but still had a hanging belly, nothing fit me properly and it played on my brain a lot.
“I had such a bad self-image that when I saw a picture of E.T. with all of his sagging skin it reminded me of my own body.
“I had an apron stomach that went down to my thighs, it was almost impossible to disguise.
“My breasts were like two flattened watermelons stuck to my chest, which limited my confidence and stopped me from being able to work-out and run comfortably.
“Mum was so proud, it meant the world to me that she offered to upkeep her promise from all those years ago.
“Now when I look in the mirror, instead of seeing an overweight woman, I see a happy, healthy one who can stand on her own two feet and isn’t hiding away any more.”
From a young age, Laura used food to deal with her problems but things worsened after her marriage turned emotionally abusive.
She recalls her worst moment was when she was told that ‘no one else would love’ her because of her size.
Laura said: “During my marriage, I ended up gained 100lb from depression and poor self-image, you don’t realise food is such a comfort to you.
“I remember my ex-husband saying ‘no one else would ever love me’ because I was so big.
“Hearing that degrades you to your core, you look at yourself differently. When the person who is supposed to love you sits there telling you the world doesn’t care about you it hurts a lot.
“Looking back, I know I used food and weight gain to create a physical barrier between myself and my husband to keep him away from me.”
Her increased food intake, that would see her eat whole pizzas worsened when her father Norman passed away in 2008.
Laura said: “After my father died, I lost a part of me and slipped into a depression where food was my only comfort.
“Eating was my learned trait, like an addiction, food was my drug, my comfort, it was a horrible thing.”
But two years ago, she chose to change her life by having bariatric surgery and within a year had dropped down to a healthy 13stone 2 (185lb).
Laura believes that sticking to her post-surgery diet and small changes to her daily routine helped her to lose weight.
She said: “I tried not to sit as much, parked further away from stores, I changed little habits to get a little more active and it made a huge difference for my weight loss.
“I also started high incline walking to get my heart rate up and my body into the burning zone, before starting to hike every other day.”
But after her weight lost, she was left with excess skin and sagging breasts, which required a fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty, a bilateral breast augmentation and mastopexy to fix.
Now Laura isn’t letting anything hold her back and has even started blogging about surgery to encourage others to consider the option that changed her life.
She said: “The biggest part for me was that I got myself here, I made the decisions I needed to make, took responsibility and took ownership of my own life.
“I realised the weight, the pain and emotional heartache that ruled my life for so many years needed to end and I was the only one who could make it happen.
“I went from being a shell of a woman who didn’t recognise her own face in the mirror to someone who sees a poised, strong, confident and beautiful woman capable of anything.”
You can follow Laura on Instagram @Vsg.Vegas or on her website at: www.the-talking-tummy.com
Mum Joan Rood, from Bradenton, Florida, said: “I remember making the promise to Laura, when she was around 16 or 17 years old.
“Initially I believed it was just talk, I honestly never assumed she would get around to losing the weight.
“But once she did I wanted to honour my word and support her in her weight loss journey and achievements.
“It would have broken my heart to have seen her work so hard towards her goals and dreams only to have the excess skin get in the way of her truly enjoying her new life and wonderful achievements.”
Joan says the main change in her daughter has been her mindset and that since her journey began, she has been able to motivate herself to realise her potential.
She added: “She was a lazy person prior in my eyes and now I see her step up to her potential and drive herself forward every day.
“I can see a totally different person has emerged. I think she feels as though now she is capable of doing so much more with her life than she ever thought was possible for herself.
“I believe it is because she has found a confidence in herself that she has never had before.”
Breakfast – nothing
Lunch – McDonalds double quarter pounder with cheese large fries and coke Snack – chips, candy, drinking soda Dinner – one whole large pizza Dessert – one massive piece of cake
Breakfast – protein shake with yoghurt
Snack – slice of string cheese
Lunch – green salad with coconut vinegar, avocado oil, hemp seed, black seeds, chia seeds and cheese with 4oz of protein.
Snacks – yoghurt
Dinner – protein drink, soup or yoghurt