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17,000 calories a day woman loses 60% of her bodyweight

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: November 02, 2012

  • Philippa Popham now

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A woman who ballooned to 26 stone eating 17,000 calories a day has lost 60 per cent of her body weight after she cut out sweet treats.

Philippa Popham piled on weight after her mother died in 1996 and gorged on a sickly diet of toast, cakes and chocolate.

She was a dress size 36 at her peak, couldn't walk properly and was pointed out and laughed at in the street.

But Philippa turned her life around with a strict diet and exercise regime - which started with her walking around her home village in the dark so no one would see her.

Philippa, 49, now weighs a trim 11 stone and is a size 12 after two years of regular swimming and walking every day.

She lost so much weight that Philippa had to undergo an operation to remove 1.5 stones of excess skin.

Philippa was today recovering from a unique ten hour operation performed by a team of surgeons at the Spire Bristol Hospital.

She said: "Not being able to walk was awful. I could only manage short distances.

"I was eating huge portions and didn't want to go out anywhere. I was like a freak show. I used to get looks from everybody I passed.

"I started with just a walk round the block in the dark when no-one could see me, and that was as much as I could do.

"I joined a local hotel spa pool, which was small and very close to me and more private so the emotional ordeal of going was less.

"I swam six days a week nearly every week, slowly increasing what I could do until at last, I was able to also start to walk a little too."

Mother-of-four Philippa found solace in food she ballooned to a size 18 at school and was taunted by pupils who taunted her 'Philippa Farrell (her maiden name), Fat as a Barrel'.

She constantly reached for comfort food throughout her life but peaked when her mother died from breast cancer and was bingeing on food at breakfast lunch and dinner.

After waking she would tuck into a large, full bowl of cereal, topped with milk and calorific cream.

Following that she ate four slices of toast with lashings of butter and smothered in either Bovril and jam and honey.

Sandwiched between breakfast and lunch Philippa, of Stroud, munched on packets of crisps, chocolate bars, flapjacks, half a pack of biscuits - and more cake.

Lunch consisted of a sandwich crammed full of ham, cheese, mayonnaise and anything else she could get her hands on.

For dinner she ate meat, vegetable and potato dishes as well as chicken kievs, sausages, pies and pasta and sauce.

Philippa's GP warned her that she was morbidly obese and advised her to have a gastric band fitted but she developed complications.

She had the band removed in January 2011 and decided to adhere to a strict 1,000 calorie a day diet and exercise.

The weight fell off and Philippa took up swimming and Zumba, but after losing 15 stone was left with embarrassing excess skin.

She underwent the operation at the Spire Hospital in Bristol - the only hospital in Britain which was prepared to carry out the 'full body lift', the full removal of all her excess flab.

Yesterday Philippa wept tears of joy with daughter Eleanor, 23, when she managed to pull on a smart pair of size 12 trousers.

She added: "It has taken me two and half years to get to this point and I feel I am now at the weight I want to be.

"Getting to a size 14 was amazing. That was beyond my wildest dreams. So putting the size 12 trousers on was out of this world."

Surgeon Rob Warr, from the Spire Hospital Bristol, said: "Certainly this was the largest skin excess that we have removed. It was the combination of four procedures in one operation - something that is extremely unusual.

"The skin and fat was cut away using an electronic scalpel which cauterises as it goes."

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  • ShorterNews  |  November 04 2012, 11:40AM

    Well done Philippa!

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  • _Kay_  |  November 04 2012, 4:25AM

    Huge congratulations to this lady. I comfort eat and am overweight and would love to follow her example. Unfortunately I am not strong enough to do so. Phillipa Popham, you are my heroine! I wish I could be as strong as you and achieve what you have done! You have my utmost admiration. I hope that many others can be motivated by your story and see that success CAN be achieved over adversity. I will try to remember your name and use you as inspiration, but I don't think I can ever be as strong and determined as you must have been to have achieved your goal. WELL DONE! I hope you live a long, fulfilling and happy life. You ARE an inspiration to others!

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  • Bonkim2003  |  November 03 2012, 8:51AM

    Well done!

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