A weight loss journey that called for surgery

When she broke a chair and terribly embarrassed her son at school, Haddassah Were knew she had to shed some of the 145kgs she weighed at the time. Today, she is 85kgs and is determined to lose 10 more kgs.

Saturday March 12 2016

BEFORE AND AFTER:  Hadassah Were shed about

BEFORE AND AFTER: Hadassah Were shed about 60kgs. After extreme weight loss through exercise and adjustment in diet, Were needed surgery to tighten sagging skin on some parts. PHOTO BY RACHEL AJWANG. 

By Mathias Wandera

I don’t know about you, but I think plastic surgery is for the daredevils. People who wake up, stare in the mirror and for the first time realise their nose isn’t as pointed as they would wish.

Then they proceed to walk into a surgical room that afternoon to have it re-positioned! Such fearlessness! You have to be a daredevil to fall under a knife in the name of a better-looking nose, firmer breasts, fine-tuned face or more pronounced hips.

But even then, aside from the daredevil spirit, I believe there is more that pushes people to go for these surgical procedures that many might regard extreme. What is it really? Is it, after all, right to say that when your self-esteem goes to the pits, plastic surgery is what you find at the bottom? What motivates people to ignore evident risk and sign up for a face lift, or a nose job? What triggers this thought in the first place and better still, as you make such a decision, what goes through your mind at that moment?

All these and more, are questions I have always desired answers to. So, a few weeks back, when I received notice of a certain lady here in Kampala who had had plastic surgery and was ready and eager to share her story, and even have her face out there, I was thrilled.

Finally, someone would be shading some light on why they would opt for the knife for fuller lips perhaps.

As more details trickled in, however, I soon realised her’s would not be a tale of a mere nose job. Forty-year-old Hadassah Were had not just had surgery to fine-tune her face; she had braved the knife to lose weight, or so we were told.

The kinds of surgeries undergone to lose weight are even more extreme. Liposuction, for example, is a surgery with which the body is rid of unwanted fat from areas such as the abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, upper arms and chin.

Surgery to lose weight comes off like a short-cut for people who are simply lazy, or medically unable to lose weight the natural hard way and would rather go to the theatre and be done with it already. So why did Were decide to lose weight by surgery? That is a question we hoped she would answer.

A small twist
It turned out Were had surgery alright, but it was not to lose the weight. It only came as a final stage to an immensely successful weight-loss journey, one she is not only proud of but presently inspired to share with others too.

On the morning we get to meet, Were seems to be in high spirits. There is a certain jubilant spirit about her, perhaps a result of the joy and pride she draws from her weight loss success story that she intends to share with us.

The light-skinned mother of six could easily lie about her age and get away with it. This is one of the benefits you get from living a healthy lifestyle, such as Were’s.

“I’m on a strictly-protein diet. I work out often and take lots of water,” she says, a glass of water in hand. “I take between two to three litres of water a day. There is always a bottle of water in my car.”

At 85kgs, she seems and actually looks to be in perfect shape. And much as she says her dream is to hit 75kgs, a feat she is yet to attain, Were is happy and proud of her present success. “At one time I weighed 145kgs!”

That was the heaviest mark she remembers hitting on the scale. And if you do the math, you realise that to come to her present weight, Were has had to shade off a staggering 60kgs!

A long and tiring journey
Were’s weight issues did not crop up yesterday. Jogging her memory, she remembers first gaining weight around 2000, shortly after having her first born. She did not work on cutting that weight, or bother to do so. Then came her second born, and more weight. And just like that, her place on the weighing scale went awfully past the ordinary.

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