TV and radio presenter Vanessa Feltz has spoken publically about her recent weight loss, explaining how she slimmed down so drastically. The 57-year-old star appeared on Wednesday's This Morning and told hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield about the extreme surgery she had to go through as a result of her gastric band. Now recovered, Vanessa experienced terrifying symptoms associated with the band and ended up in intensive care following surgery to remove it. Vanessa's revelation comes after she wowed the public with her slimmer figure at a Peppa Pig screening on 17 March, leading to speculation about how she lost the weight.
Vanessa told Holly and Phil: “I’d rather tell the truth than not. I’d rather be open as I’ve got nothing to hide. So, I spoke with you before about the gastric band I had fitted in 2010, and it turned out to be much more complicated - it turned out it had slipped, and I was having horrible symptoms and waking up feeling as if I was drowning, my throat, ears, eyes, nose seemed to be full of liquid. It was all quite horrible and quite unexpected.”
She added, “I was told by a surgeon that I would have to have the band removed and he said you know what will probably happen, when it comes out you’ll start eating again and you’ll put the weight on again because you’re a lifelong yo-yo dieter - and unfortunately I am, it’s true. Did that worry me? Yes.” Vanessa was given an alternative option of having a gastric bypass at the same time as having the band removed.
A gastric bypass is where surgical staples create a small pouch at the top of the stomach, which is connected to the small intestine, thus bypassing the rest of the stomach meaning you eat less. Vanessa explained she was initially against the idea but then in January she decided to go for it.
Speaking of the operation, she said: "It turned out the gastric band had been thoroughly embedded in my liver and it had to be very carefully dissected out and that took some time, it had also caused a hernia that had to be repaired…” Vanessa's partner Ben and her daughter Saskia were understandably worried when the operation lasted a long time, but she came round in intensive care and was back to work in a week.
Vanessa is now enjoying the results of the surgery, revealing to Phil and Holly: "Any drowning feeling or reflux [from the gastric band] that’s gone, and I’ve lost just under three stone. Which is great because it’s good for my joints, it's good for the heart, diabetes, and really good for buying clothes! I’m loving that. And I’m generally a bit less interested in eating food.”
Vanessa and her partner Ben Ofoedu
On having the gastric bypass, Vanessa added: "I feel like ‘what a shame’... that I couldn’t just control it. Why couldn't I say no to a piece of cake? I was never really able to get to the bottom of it. I’ve had counselling and a bit of therapy over the years, and it’s been my downfall. It’s been my problem and I hoped the gastric band knocked in on the head and just dealt with it, but it just didn’t. I learnt that one in five people will have problems [with their band]... I feel like I didn’t conquer it."
The presenter also revealed that her partner Ben is pleased with her new figure and her focus now is on living a long life and enjoying her grandchildren. "So far, I haven’t seen a downside at all," she said. "I feel good. And I feel a bit embarrassed when people say ‘well done’ as it was the surgeon, not me. But I’ll take any compliments I can at my age!"
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