An Australian bride to be was weighing around the 130 kg mark with a year-and-a-half to go until her wedding. Bridie Ritchie from Gladstone, near Brisbane describes herself as having been “big” when she met her boyfriend Michael Ritchie.
He did not care about her size, but Bridie was desperate for change. Still, her work as a busy hairdresser left her with very little time to prepare proper meals. Usually, she would grab whatever fast food was available to her on the go and usually spent $100 per week on snacks alone.
“We showed our affection through food, constantly sharing takeaways and eating out,” Bridie says. “I’d look in the mirror every day and knew I needed to get control of the situation.”
With encouragement from a friend, Bridie decided to undergo gastric sleeve surgery. Although the sleeve gastrectomy reduces the stomach to approximately 15% of its initial size, it does not suddenly changes ingrained habits or stops the brain from signaling for food. Bridie still had to resist the temptation to eat unhealthy snacks, and get used to eating tiny, pureed portions instead.
“It wasn’t a quick solution. I loved food, especially Maccas, and my new diet was like slop,” she said. “Dinner was my biggest downfall. I loved eating large portions of pasta, bread, and rice. One full-sized plate was usually not enough, so I’d often help myself to seconds.”
As if everything was meant to come together in such a day, several days after Bridie underwent the surgery, Michael proposed. She set herself an ambitious goal to get under the 100 kg mark by the time her wedding day came around. 18 months later, on the 24th of September 2016, Bridie got married to Michael weighing an incredible 72 kilos, which meant she had lost nearly half her body weight.
“All I wanted was to feel amazing inside and out on my big day. When I went shopping for my wedding dress, I was really worried that nothing would look good, but I surprised myself,” she said. “Before, I’d worry about people judging me when I was out eating in public, but not anymore. I feel so much more confident.”
The couple married in front of 80 of their family and friends at the Agnes Water beach on Australia’s east coast before leaving for their honeymoon.
“For me, to lose weight, I needed to do it for my health and I wanted to feel amazing on my wedding day. Now I have all my confidence back, I’m a lot healthier and happier,” Bridie said.