A prison officer who used to weigh more than 18 stone now looks unrecognisable after she dropped eight stone after paying thousands for surgery in Lithuania.
Grace Whyte, 35, weighed 18st 7lbs at her heaviest and after struggling with her weight for more than two decades she decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery to lose weight.
The mother-of-three from Newton Abbot, Devon said she had been dieting since the age of 11 because of her binge eating habits.
Ms Whyte underwent the surgery in August 2020 and less than a year later in July 2021 she had hit her goal weight of 10st. The procedure involved inserting surgical staples which are then used to create a small pouch at the top of the stomach
Out of sheer desperation, she decided to take out a loan to pay £7,000 for weight loss surgery in Lithuania.
She said: ‘I’ve had a problem with food since I was a child.
‘I was constantly wishing I was someone else and I would hide food and secretly eat as a coping mechanism.
The prison officer said the surgery was the ‘best thing’ she ahs ever done. She said: ‘I’ve always been a very glam person, but I felt like I couldn’t express it properly and now I can be the person I was always meant to be’
‘With every year I got older, I’d put on another stone. At 11-years-old I was 11st and by the time I was 18 I was 18st 7lbs, which was my heaviest weight.’
Her weight continued to fluctuate and she ‘ballooned back up to 17st’ after she lost her dad Jim Whyte, who was 55.
She said: ‘All I wanted was to be thin, but I was trapped in my own mind and during the weekends I would go on huge food binges even after tracking my calories and exercising through the week.
Prison officer Grace Whyte, 35, from Devon, underwent gastric bypass surgery to drop from 18st to 10st. The mother-of-three took out a loan to pay for the £7,000 surgery and fly to Lithuania
‘So I’d had enough and looked into weight loss surgery. I passed all the checks, took out a loan to pay for the £7k procedure in Lithuania, and I went ahead with it.
‘It was the best thing I did.’
The surgery involved inserting surgical staples which are then used to create a small pouch at the top of the stomach.
Ms Whyte underwent the surgery in August 2020 and less than a year later in July 2021 she had hit her goal weight of 10st.
She insists, however, that surgery is not the easy way out and it has been hard work to be consistent to keep the weight off.
The mother-of-three had suffered with binge eating since she was 11-years-old and used food as a way of self-harm. On a typical day of binging she would eat over 4000 calories
The prison officer can now ‘order whatever she likes and ‘know’ that it will fit her. She said: I wear crop tops all of the time now. They’re something I always wished I could wear whenever I saw my friends in them and now it feels amazing to do it myself’
She said: ‘It was harder than I expected but I am so glad that I did it.
‘I was miserable. I didn’t want to leave the house because I didn’t want to be seen.
There are several different types of weight loss surgery.
They’re all usually done under general anaesthetic (where you’re asleep) using keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery, but they each work in a slightly different way.
Keyhole surgery is where a surgeon makes small cuts in the tummy and inserts a flexible viewing tube so they can see inside while performing the operation.
A gastric bypass is where surgical staples are used to create a small pouch at the top of the stomach.
The pouch is then connected to your small intestine, missing out (bypassing) the rest of the stomach.
This means it takes less food to make you feel full and you’ll absorb fewer calories from the food you eat.
‘When I was younger and at my heaviest of 18st 7lbs I used to get abuse shouted at me as I walked down the street.
‘You’re treated so differently when you’re big, it’s so nasty.
‘I had so many aches and pains, and had problems with my knees due to my weight. No matter what, I couldn’t stop the urge to binge.’
Ms Whyte used food as a way to self-harm herself, she would ‘shovel in large packets of chocolates, sweets, crisps and biscuits’ before making herself sick so she could then eat more.
She added: ‘On a day of binging, I would eat over 4000 calories.
‘It was out of control. I knew I had it in me to be like the people on the program called My 600lbs Life.
‘After my surgery the weight started coming off, it was amazing because I was constantly worrying it wouldn’t work for me.
‘It was a hard battle but as soon as I saw the results I felt so good and like I was getting back to the person I was supposed to be.’
The prison officer’s diet before surgery included eating chocolate bars for breakfast, pizza and cake for lunch and burger and chips for dinner.
Since losing 8st she feels better than she has ever done before.
She said: ‘I wear crop tops all of the time now. They’re something I always wished I could wear whenever I saw my friends in them and now it feels amazing to do it myself.
‘I love wearing fitted clothes and bikinis, and I can order whatever I like and know that it will fit me.
‘I’ve always been a very glam person, but I felt like I couldn’t express it properly and now I can be the person I was always meant to be.’