A woman has rekindled her marriage after flying to turkey for weight-loss surgery.
Gemma Welsh, from Liverpool, was 15st 8lbs at her heaviest and so miserable with her weight that she couldn't bear for her husband, Paul Welsh, to even look at her.
The 31-year-old says that her weight caused her to have a breakdown and she separated from her husband in January 2021.
The couple – who had been together for 12 years – sold their house and lived separately for a year.
After trying and failing at most diets, Welsh decided that enough was enough and booked to undergo weight loss surgery in Turkey in March last year.
Welsh, who runs a networking business, says: "I got myself into a bad relationship with food. I'd binge eat, then force myself to be sick, and then starve myself. It was a vicious cycle.
"I'd tried loads of diets but I hadn't been able to shift the weight. So I decided I would go to Turkey for weight loss surgery as a last resort. I had a gastric sleeve and it cost £3000.
"I started gaining weight in 2015 after I was diagnosed with stage three melanoma from a mole that was on my face.
"I was on steroid treatment to help my scarring from the surgery to get it removed, and I just continued to get bigger.
"I was miserable and I hit rock bottom. I avoided any pictures of myself, my marriage broke down, I couldn’t look at myself and I didn’t want my husband to look at me.
"Paul loved me no matter what size I was, but I didn't love myself.
"I'm a firm believer in that it doesn’t matter what size you are as long as you’re happy, and I was so far from being happy."
Welsh went through stages of binge eating, starving herself and even making herself sick.
She separated from her husband and knew that she was destroying her life and her health, so she decided to do something for the sake of her own happiness.
"I booked my surgery about 10 days before I flew out," she says. "I'd been considering weight loss surgery for a while and I had been doing my research, so I just decided to use my savings and book it.
"I had a gastric sleeve which removes 80% of your stomach and I wasn't nervous at all. I'd had so many invasive operations after I was diagnosed with cancer, that the keyhole surgery didn't phase me.
"I just couldn't wait to get my life back.
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"For the first two weeks after the surgery I could only eat liquids, for the following two weeks I could eat pureed food, and I progressed on to introducing soft and solid foods.
"I lost five stone in eight months, which was my goal amount to lose and then I went on to lose another stone.
"I'm now 9st 8lbs and I've never felt better. Although, I wasn't doing it for the number on the scales. I just wanted to feel good and comfortable in clothes.
"I have a new lease of life and my confidence is through the roof."
Welsh and her husband were separated for a year before being able to rekindle their relationship thanks to her more positive outlook on life.
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"I had a year to focus on myself and get myself sorted and now we are back together and happier than ever," she says.
"Paul loved me unconditionally, however I was in such a bad place because of how my weight was making me feel. It was a major factor in me having a breakdown and played a role in the breakdown of our marriage.
"I'm so happy that we are back together again. I also now have the confidence to go into a shop and buy something off the hanger. I can wear clothes that I never would have dreamed of fitting into.
"I'm so happy with my new body. The difference in myself is amazing.
"I still enjoy all of the same foods that I used to eat, just in a much smaller portion. I get really full very easily and I hardly ever feel hungry. I don't deny myself the foods that I enjoy.
"As long as you're happy, that's all that matters. I now have an Instagram account to document my day to day life post-surgery.
"I am a firm believer that it doesn’t matter your size and shape as long as you’re happy, but if you’re not happy, only you can change that. Life is too short."
Additional reporting by Caters News.