Frequently Asked Questions answered personally by Val.
Q1.) What was it that made you lose the weight?
A1.) Nothing made me lose my weight. It's very simple really I wanted to live.
Q2.) How did you lose so much weight?
A2.) I changed my life style really and my way of thinking.
Q3.) How did you become so obese?
A3.) I was involved in a car accident which left me house bound and unable to walk for two years. This led to further health complications which triggered off a childhood Growth Hormone Imbalance. And with the complications and my body going from being very active as a Swimming Teacher to inactive over night coupled with the Growth hormone problems my weight more than doubled in less than a year.
Q4.) Where you always that size?
A4.) I was always very fit before my car accident. I spent 18 years as an Advanced Swimming teacher, swimming and training in the gym every day. And frequently on my days off too.
Q5.) How difficult have you found your new eating regime?
A5.) I found it very difficult even to this day I struggle with it. I went over night from being a strict vegetarian to consuming meat. Basically eating everything now that I never touched before my car accident and now eliminating everything I used to survive on.
Q6.) Do you think you can maintain your new eating regime for ever?
A6.) Yes most defiantly. When it comes to my health I will do anything.
Q7.) Have you felt any differences with your new eating plan?
A7.) Absolutely. I feel more energised, my skin is looking fresh and I have allot more confidence.
Q8.) Have you got any more surgeries scheduled?
A8.) Yes. I have a possible three more surgeries to go through.
Q9.) How many operations have you had?
A9.) I've had eight operations. One of the eight ops was to correct nerve damage in my right arm, following my very first arm lift surgery. (Therefore I've needed to go through an extra operation!).
Some operations encompassed more than one procedure at a time, like corrective surgery to wound break-down on my Body Lift at the same time as my Thigh Lift surgery. In addition, I've had numerous relatively minor treatments including teeth bleaching and veneers, Restylane injections. The results of these non-surgical procedures are temporary and therefore repeated regularly to maintain the effect. And lets not forget my two orthopaedic knee surgeries for advanced stage three osteo-arthritis and repair work done to a torn meniscus ligament, injured whilst training in the gym to help encourage further weight loss.
Q10.) What's your next surgery?
A10.) This is a difficult one to call. I may require some corrective touch-up work on my thigh's, otherwise my breast lift and reduction will be my next surgery. Non of this means I hate myself, because I don't. I hated the way I was treated because of how I looked when I became morbidly obese. Although what I did is regarded as unusual today, it's the future of cosmetic surgery sadly as obesity is at epidemic levels the extreme surgeries I have endured and survived will become more frequently carried out as the use of weight loss assisted surgeries such as Bariatric surgeries, Lap-band etc.. (which I haven't done) will go on the rise so will the need for skin removal become more widely practised. More and more people are having surgery, many of them more than once, but would never admit it.
And often those who do confess to "just a facelift," have had multiple procedures but don't think of it that way.
The fact that I'm honest about what I've had done and am willing to tell others how I did it is what actually sets
Q11.) Do you ever get depressed?
A11.) Yes. Of course I do. I guess that's to be expected I'm only human and not super women, with everything I am going through physically, mentally and emotionally. I do however always turn a negative into a positive in my life.
Q12.) How do you stay motivated?
A12.) I always believe and focus on my finish line.
I believe in alternative therapies and meditation. I also can still remember and feel the pain from being morbidly obese, that alone keeps me motivated. The support network of my family and friends around me is very important too, and helpful in so many ways.
Q13.) Was it for medical requirements or just vanity reasons why you are having surgeries?
A13.) Most defiantly medical for 90% of the time.
Q14.) Wasn't your surgeries rather extreme and why?
A14.) Yes my Body Lift and Thigh lift were very extreme. Both of these surgeries were on the top level of top level and posed as a real challenge to both the surgeons. This is because I have lost more than half my own body weight and whilst I'm told the collagen and elasticity in my skin retracted back at a pretty good pace I still had an extreme amount of loose skin that needed to be excised.
Q15.) Why have you gone to the United States of America for some of your surgeries?
A15.) After a number of visits with surgeons for consultations including a Top Celebrity surgeon close to home
in Harley Street, London. Dr Alex Karidis, it became apparent that all the advice I was being given it was necessary I
would need to visit the late, great Dr Ted Lockwood. World Renown Pioneer of the Body Lift. My 14 hour Body Lift was in Kansas and my 10 hour Extensive Medial Thigh Lift was in New Jersey USA.
Q16.) Do you suffer from low self esteem or are you just vain?
A16.) Most defiantly "No" and absolutely "Not". I'm smiling at this question.
I am walking a very unique path and I guess until your faced with a similar feeling as I was, "Do or Die".
I guess you would do anything to protect your health, in turn your life. Someone with low self-esteem would never have worked in a foreign country on their own or repeatedly appear on television, and permit a camera crew into there lives to film the most personal thing I could imagine to human. As for vanity, a vain person looks in the mirror and thinks they look pretty good. I look in the mirror and see room for improvement but am simply happy with my improvements to date and to be alive.
Q17.) What would you say to someone else experiencing a similar challenge in life?
A17.) I would say you must believe in what your doing, stay strong and focus. ''Always Believe and Follow Your Dreams''.
Above all understand how and what it is your doing to make change, make sure it's the right choice for you.
This isn't for everybody. Really what you have to do is take back the control. Only you can be held responsible for your body's health at the end of the day.
Q18.) Don't you think it's the person on the inside that counts?
A18.) Oh yes for sure. Beauty is definitely skin deep. I believe that the outer package can be dressed up, but it can also be dressed down. What is really important is the heart and soul of a person and there true values in life.
But beauty and personality don't have to be mutually exclusive. Having cosmetic surgery doesn't make you a better or worse person on the inside; it just makes you look different on the outside. Going through everything I am makes me who I am today. I am working hard to develop other talents that I've benefited from just as much as my surgery journey.
Q19.) What does your family and friends think of your accomplishments?
A19.) I'm sure they are proud of me and they share my mission. It's simply my health and happiness they want for me.
Friends and family who've known me all my life aren't particularly surprised because I've always done things differently. No one who knows me well considers it out of character. They all seem to be very understanding and
supportive. They share the walk with me.
As long as it works for me and makes me healthier and happy, that's fine with them.
Q20.) When are you going to stop losing weight and having surgeries?
A20.) I will have completed my personal goals and mission in life of improved health and weight loss that I started
when I have reached my own Finish Line. This goal ends for me after my three remaining surgeries. But even then it won't be the end. My health awareness has guided me to new places and will stay with me till the end of my days.
As far as more weight loss, really what ever I loose throughout the time my surgeries take. I feel another four stone is practical for me and possible!
Q21.) What is the most important question you would advice me asking my plastic surgeon?
A21.) Often what someone thinks is an important question can have a long and complicated answer, which usually
prompts further questions.
Always find out how many of the surgeries the surgeon has carried out before.
Ask how many of those were successful.
Always ask to meet with a past patient where possible.
I personally always do this as you are then able to see the workmanship and the scaring involved as well as
the interaction and support you can have with this person to help you through the surgery.
Ask to meet with the anaesthetist, lets face it his job can't be repeated as the surgeons can if your not happy with