A woman who devoured a multi-pack of potato chips every day lost seven stones after gastric bypass surgery – and is now shelling out £12,000 to remove the loose skin.
Melissa Jones, 38, from Herefordshire, has seen her weight gain after eating 24 packets of crisps a day, as well as eating junk food at least three times a week.
Unable to stick to diets or lose weight naturally, Melissa, who at the time was a size 24 and weighing 19 stone, decided enough was enough after not being able to sit in a pedalo seat on holiday with her two young sons.
After returning home in October 2013, she began looking into getting surgical help to change her weight.
Melissa visited her GP who suggested she apply for a sleeve gastrectomy and she was put on the NHS list.
Melissa Jones, 38, from Herefordshire, who devoured a multi-pack of potato chips a day, lost seven stones after gastric bypass surgery – and is now shelling out £12,000 to remove mounds of loose skin
After a three-year wait, in February 2016, Melissa’s sugar intake was confirmed and her GP told her she would lose at least two stones before her surgery to reduce the risk of medical complications.
Determined to slim down, Melissa went on a strict yogurt-based diet and managed a desired weight shift.
In May 2016, Melissa underwent an NHS-sanctioned sleeve gastrectomy, which dramatically reduced the size of her stomach, and lost six stones in just seven months – leaving her in a shapely dress size 14 and weighing 13 stone.
After maintaining her slim figure for 12 months, a bad breakup led Melissa back to the old ways and she soon found herself ballooning to 19 pounds.
But the single mother of two didn’t give up, and in June 2020 she underwent an NHS-funded gastric bypass.
Gastric bypass is done when the stomach is divided into a small upper pouch and a much larger lower ‘residue’ pouch, which limits the amount of food your stomach can hold.
After losing a lot of weight, Melissa, who is now 12, 12, 6 pounds, was left with “mounds of loose skin” and is currently awaiting a body lift at a private hospital to have it removed.
Her weight gained after eating 24 packets of potato chips a day, plus eating junk food at least three times a week (pictured before weight loss)
Melissa, who was a size 24 and weighed 19 stone, hasn’t been able to stick to diets or lose weight naturally (pictured before weight loss)
She funds her third surgery, which costs over £12,000, using her early inheritance from her family.
‘I used to be a very comfort eater—that’s always been my downfall,’ said Melissa, a caregiver.
“My comfort food was potato chips because of the crunch, I’m going to get one of these 24 multi-packs and polish it off.”
I was going on holiday with my son and wouldn’t be able to ride the pedal boats. It was embarrassing for me and them.
“After my sleeve gastrectomy, I felt good, but emotionally I was in a terrible place. I had had some broken relationships and my fibromyalgia got worse.
I was comfortable eating and my movement was horrible. But after my gastric band, I felt great.
The weight has just left me and I’m starting to feel like a human again. I feel great and most importantly, I am able to be the best version of myself for my child.
“Now I just need to remove the excess skin and I can really start my life over.”
Melissa was comfortable eating and her movement was awful after she used to calm her down to make her feel better
Melissa, who is mom to McCauley, 15, and Morgan, 10, credits their strained relationship around food with always feeling like “the bigger friend” during her school years.
She said, “Growing up, I was always the bigger friend outside of the group. It will frustrate me, so I will be comfortable eating.
When I was in high school, I wore a women’s size 18 skirt. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a size 18.
“Growing up, I never felt attractive compared to my friends who were slimmer — I just wanted to be ‘normal.'”
Melissa’s troubled relationship with food continued into her twenties and after the birth of her sons in 2007 and 2013.
Desperate to lose weight, Melissa resorted to yo-yo dieting, weight loss groups, and extreme calorie counting, but none of it had a long-term effect.
By January 2017, the mother-of-two managed to lose six stone and was downsized to 14
Melissa has been able to lose an amazing 7 lbs 3 lbs through healthy eating choices and regular exercise
By October 2013, Melissa was 19 stone and decided to register for a sleeve gastrectomy to be fitted at Gloucester Royal Infirmary, Gloucestershire.
Sleeve gastrectomy is the removal of a large portion of the stomach so that it is much smaller than it was before, which results in the individual eating smaller meals and losing weight over time.
“After trying and failing to lose weight, I knew I needed something drastic, and that’s when I decided to get a sleeve fitted,” she said.
I met the criteria for one and before I knew it I had booked one. To prepare for the surgery, two weeks ago I was subsisting on high protein foods like yogurt and milk and was only allowed to eat up to 800 calories a day.
I was nervous but excited to start my life. It was hard getting used to at first because I was not only recovering from keyhole surgery but from a lifestyle change.
“But I felt really lucky that I did and I quickly started seeing results.”
By January 2017, the mother had lost six stone and reduced her size to 14.
The skinny mom only eats one main meal a day, usually at lunch and then chooses a light meal for dinner
Melissa is pictured with her son, Morgan, 10, after surgery and after dropping seven stones
“I felt great and was able to move so much more,” said Melissa. I even joined a gym and was able to play soccer with my boys. They were also proud of me which means the world.
Despite her amazing progress, a relationship breakdown and health problems meant the mother-of-two turned once again to late-night snacking.
While Melissa wasn’t able to eat huge meals, she did comfort food regularly, gobbling down multiple packages of chips and chocolate each day.
By July 2019, Melissa had put back on more weight than she lost.
It was definitely my lowest point, to keep myself together for the sake of my boys I just turned to convenience takeaways and late night snacking on chips and chocolate.
The cheese and onions were my real weakness. The problem was that I couldn’t burn that off because of the pain I was in.
“Eating was more emotional than anything else, and I harked back to my teenage days when I shut myself out.”
But not ready to give up, Melissa secured funding for a gastric bypass from the NHS at the same hospital where she had her first surgery, in May 2016.
“I was sick of not being able to be the best version of myself to my child,” said Melissa, “and I knew something had to change.”
This was my second procedure, and so I knew I had to count on the long haul this time.
Weight loss surgery is not a fun thing at all; you have to inject yourself with hormones to prepare and follow a strict diet.
“But I was so grateful to the NHS for doing this second surgery because it changed my life forever.”
Melissa has been able to lose an amazing 7 lbs 3 lbs through healthy eating choices and regular exercise.
Melissa secured funding for an NHS gastric bypass operation at the same hospital where he underwent his first surgery, in May 2016
The skinny mom only eats one main meal a day, usually at lunch and then chooses a light meal for dinner.
‘I try to cook most meals not only because they’re healthy but I enjoy them,’ said Melissa.
“I love a roast that’s packed with vegetables and protein, but I have a can of potato chips every now and then.”
I cook all the time now with a healthy version of lasagna, roast dinners and pasta bolognese as first favorites in my house!
“It’s all about listening to my body, if I’m not hungry, I won’t eat for the sake of it.”
Melissa has even found a passion for walking and maintains her 12-pound slim figure.
“I gave up the five-minute car ride to the shops in favor of the 15-minute walk,” she continued.
‘I also walk to pick up Morgan from school and it’s nice that I’m physically able to do that now.
“He loves it too but I’m sure it won’t last forever because he’ll be a teenager before I know it!”
But she is waiting for her final procedure, a body lift, under a special treatment she hopes to have by summer of this year
The treatment will remove excess skin from Melissa’s arms and stomach and she received an early inheritance on her mother’s side of the family to fund this.
“I’m really proud of the weight I’ve been able to keep,” said Melissa. Looking at old photos of myself, I don’t recognize the unfortunate person in them.
Melissa’s troubled relationship with food continued into her twenties, and after the birth of her sons in 2007 and 2013.
“I am really looking forward to lifting my body up – this will be the last blossom in my weight loss journey.”
For now, I always keep my arms covered because I hate the way skin sags.
“I still feel a little tired with my saggy skin and I like to wear a long shirt that covers my stomach and body.
I hope to do this before our family holiday in Trecco Bay in Wales, in June. I’ve told my kids that if everything goes well, I’ll wear a bikini.
“Now I’ll be able to embarrass my kids on vacation for a whole different reason!”