Woman who weighed 27st looks totally unrecognisable after huge weight loss

A woman who weighed 27st and a half stone looks unrecognisable after almost halving her bodyweight.

Elle Kearney, from South Liverpool, underwent lifechanging gastric bypass surgery after breaking down in tears to her GP about her size. The 27-year-old, who said she has been bullied most of her life over her weight, has now dropped 12st and said she feels like she has been given "a second chance".

Prior to having surgery, which involves having part of the stomach removed, Elle was wearing size 32 clothes and felt "segregated from society".

However when she was told there was "no chance" she would be able to have IVF with her girlfriend, of 12 years, Steph, due to her weight, she knew she needed to act.

READ MORE: Tesco meal deals now look very different

READ MORE: Warning to anyone who still has a red passport

Speaking to the ECHO Elle said: "I struggled all my life with my weight, from being a child I have dealt with some struggles. I was bullied in schools and jobs. It was something I couldn't get away from on my own, it made me feel segregated from society, like I was on the outskirts and couldn't participate.

"It really affected my self confidence, I got up to 27 and a half stone at the age of 26. I felt so ill, I was so worried that I was going to have a heart attack. I felt like I was dying, every day or week I was feeling myself getting more sick. I couldn't move, or walk to my local supermarket. I couldn't stand to do dishes at the sink, I had to sit down to do them, it got so bad I couldn't perform normal duties without it causing me massive pain. I was so ill, I didn't want people to know I was struggling."

Elle Kearney, from Liverpool, now looks unrecognisable after dropping nearly 12st
Elle Kearney, from Liverpool, now looks unrecognisable after dropping nearly 12st -Credit:handout

Elle said the turning point was when she was told her BMI was too high to undergo IVF and she went to her local GP and broke down in tears.

Her GP asked if she had ever considered weight loss surgery and told her due to her long-lasting health problems she would be eligible for surgery on the NHS.

She added: "I felt that with society's way of thinking I thought people would judge me for taking the easy way out. I was given a dietician and physiotherapist from the NHS and worked hard with my relationship with food for 12 months - I did everything that prepared me for the surgery.

"Because of my health, BMI and conditions I was dealing with it was a very quick process for me. I was suffering with sleep apnea, and a hernia. I was vomiting every single day and struggling with acid reflux - it would wake me up at night. I knew I had to get something done.

"It was the hardest 12 months waiting for it [surgery]. It was scaring me about what I had done to my body, and I was getting more and more sick as the months went on. I was desperate, I was so desperate to get it [the surgery].

"I did have a lot of fear, I didn't want to communicate how worried I was about it. I was worried about the aesthetic at my size, I was petrified I wouldn't come out the other side."

Elle was a size 32 before her surgery and weighed over 27 stone
Elle was a size 32 before her surgery and weighed over 27 stone -Credit:Elle Kearney

Elle knew the surgery would save her life and despite her fears decided it would be the best thing for her and her partner Steph, 33. She added: "I knew with the quality of life I was having before surgery, I had to take the risk because it was worth it for me. It was my chance at life again.

"I feel like I have been given a tool that will allow me to change my life forever and prolong a healthy happy life. I haven't done it [surgery] for vanity reasons."

Elle added: "I have also been with my girlfriend for 12 years and we want a baby, but of course being LGBT we would need IVF. You need to be a certain BMI to have IVF, and the years are passing me by and felt like I had no future to look forward to, and that was my fault. But now I am hopefully going to be able to have a family. That is such a huge thing for me that I now have these possibilities."

Elle Kearney, from Liverpool, said she has finally got her life back
Elle Kearney, from Liverpool, said she has finally got her life back after having weight loss surgery -Credit:handout

Thankfully Elle's gastric bypass, which was carried out at the Phoenix Health Care Hospital in Altrincham on August 1, 2023, went well. She had 80% of her stomach removed and to this date has lost an impressive 11st 12lb and is now a size 16.

She said: "You are still battling the mental side with it in order for this to be life long. Every day I am thinking about my relationship with food and battling binge eating.

"I have lost a lot of weight quite quickly so it has been a whirlwind, even in my relationships with Steph, my family and friends, I have gained so much confidence in nine months. People are commenting saying how I have got my spark back, it allows me to feel more like I have a chance to have an opinion in something and not worry people are judging me or thinking less of me.

Elle Kearney has lost almost 12 stone
Elle Kearney has lost almost 12 stone -Credit:Elle Kearney

"It's lovely to go into a high-street shop and pick out a dress to wear that weekend if I'm going out and not feel like a different class of people who can only shop in certain shops.

"I feel like I can now be part of society without thinking about it. It's nice to be like every other girl my age. My 20s totally passed me by and there is regret, but now I have my life back and I'm just going to live my life to the fullest, and make up for lost time."

Before her weight loss Elle said she had "sat in pain" through a pantomime performance because she couldn't fit in the theatre seats and had to perch on top of the arm rest for the duration of the show.

However Elle and girlfriend Steph enjoyed a trip to the theatre in December and she said she was "really excited" because she could fit in the chair.

She said: "I feel unbelievable, my partner lights up when I walk in a room because people comment on how nice I look. I can experiment with fashion, my hair and things I couldn't do before.

"And people look at me in the face again now, for a long time people wouldn't acknowledge me. People look at me in the face and it's like I matter again."

Elle has booked a holiday in August to mark 12 months since she underwent the life-changing surgery. She said she is looking forward to being able to wear size 14 holiday clothes and show off her new wardrobe in the Spanish sunshine.

She added: "I want to send the message that this is not something to be embarrassed about, this is a tool to allow you to change the rest of your life. It was such a low quality of life [she had before the operation] and you can get your quality of life back. I didn't expect to have all these things in life post op - I now have so many things I couldn't have done before, that I am now confident to do with ease."

You can follow Elle's journey on her TikTok account, where she blogs her daily.

Don't miss the biggest and breaking stories by signing up to the Echo Daily newsletter here