A Grimsby mum who would tuck rolls of skin into her knickers is almost unrecognisable after a tummy tuck.
Laura Sands-Dadd, 30, underwent a Fleur de Lys surgery, otherwise known as a tummy tuck, after dropping nine stone.
The mum-of-two has struggled with her weight since aged 10 and reached her heaviest in 2016, following her daughters birth.
She weighed 21st and 8lbs.
Lauras addiction to food landed her in a rut, with her saying she didnt want to leave the house.
The then 25-year-old made a dramatic life change after meeting with her doctor.
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Laura said: My doctor said, if you dont do something about your weight, you wont reach the age of 30 you will die.'
It was pretty plain. I needed to do something, or I wouldnt see my children grow up.
He wanted to refer me for weight loss surgery a gastric band or bypass and I said no. I said no immediately.
I was determined to lose the weight myself, and something just clicked in my head.
Laura started to exercise regularly and watched her intake of food, prioritising healthy options above anything else.
She added: Before I was the type who wouldnt even walk to the car, yet I began walking to the gym and back.
I just fell in love with it, and it was just my time Im a big believer in that. There was no going back.
Laura lost about three stone before hitting a road block when her relationship with her childrens father broke down.
That was tough, she said.
I had to juggle becoming a single mum with starting a degree and experiencing extreme changes to my body and health.
Id gone back to work, too. I had two jobs, actually, two kids, and my degree. I felt like I was biting off more than I could chew.
But the weight kept falling off and I think a lot of people assumed Id lost it because of the stress of the break-up, but it really wasnt.
It was harder precisely because I am a stress eater.
My comfort was to sit and eat food, and make myself feel better, but this time I didnt do that.
Laura, who struggled with depression before beginning her weight loss journey, noticed her confidence increase with every pound lost.
She rediscovered a part of herself when studying her social care degree at Grimsby Institute and made new friends along the way.
Uni changed me. I wasnt just Mum. It was about being Laura again, she said.
But despite the weight loss, Laura wasnt completely happy with her body, as she ended up with excess skin.
She added: Social media gives an unrealistic view of things. Lose this weight, and youll look like this. Its not true.
To other people Id look fantastic. Id look really slim, and Id have a nice dress on, but underneath everythings being held in with a pair of fat pants.
No matter how hard you exercise, you cant do anything about excess skin.
I trained from day dot and ate healthily. No one says youll be left with loads of skin thats never going anywhere.
Yes, it was great because my health was better and my mental health was better, but I was left with this massive scar, always there and always reminding me that I used to be.
Laura would tuck her skin into her clothing as a way to disguise it but this just caused her even more pain.
She said: I used to lay on my bed and wish I could take a pair of scissors to my skin and cut it all off.
I used to pull it and pummel it and lay in different positions to imagine what itd be like without it.
I had to tuck my skin in all the time, and it would get so sore. Thats another thing people dont talk about the pain.
Underneath my apron, it used to itch and itch and itch, especially around my caesarean scar.
Then, when I exercised, itd move. It used to clap! It was the most embarrassing noise. I always used to make a joke of it in the gym, saying my belly was applauding me, but inside I was mortified.
On the dark days, Laura found herself wishing shed stayed big because then she wouldnt have this problem.
I had this massive belly all the time, and a second pair of boobs because I had this fold beneath them, she said.
Every time I went out with my friends, it was a case of finding something to wear that would make me look slimmer, but also hide it. I still had that baggy clothes mind-set. Sucky-in pants were my thing!
But because of that, because I got good at hiding it, not many people believed me. They didnt understand how bad it was. I showed my mum, and she couldnt believe it!
It was exhausting, and a massive battle all the time never mind having to explain it all the time.
Laura had always thought about a tummy tuck, but she thought the cost of having it done privately was beyond her reach.
I knew the NHS wouldnt entertain me, she said.
Instead, Laura spoke with consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon Mr Muhammad Riaz at St Hughs Hospital.
She said: He was so humble. It wasnt about me looking like a bikini model I never will be. It was about the result matching my body, and he was honest about the outcome.
It was his honesty and the fact he obviously knew what he was doing - he was the one.
Lauras Fleur De Lys surgery took place on November 28 last year, just 11 weeks after her first consultation and 12 days after her 30th birthday.
She had 4.237kg of skin, tissue and fat removed, which is about as heavy as a fully-grown cat.
I woke up and the first thing I said was, has it gone? The nurse replied, yes, and youve got the perfect hour-glass figure. I was choked up with emotion. It felt like a dream I never thought it would happen to me, she said.
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After a two-night stay with no visitors due to the Covid-19 pandemic the scar which blighted Lauras life was gone.
She added: St Hughs was such a brilliant experience. Id have the belly back just so I could go back in. They were a wonderful team of people.
The change since the operation is unreal - simple things like washing, walking, literally down to putting my underwear on, playing with my kids - people dont realise what it means, what effect it has on my daily life, which the skin isnt there anymore.
I cant believe I used to be that person. I look back at photographs and wonder how I was able to walk.
It makes me feel quite sad that I was so unhappy, and that there will be other people out there who are me, and who I was all that time ago, and it breaks my heart. I wish I could go find them and tell them it is possible to change.
People think weight loss is about looking great in clothes, but to me it is so much more. It means I get to see my kids grow up.
Mum who tucked rolls of skin into her knickers after losing 9st says tummy tuck has changed her life - Grimsby Live
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