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I lost saggy skin with Lisa in the Baggy Body Club!

Byline: EXCLUSIVE BY AMANDA KILLELEA

ON the face of it, Lisa Riley and Amanda Wood appear to have in common.

little s Actress and TV presenter Lisa is one of the most famous faces on telly, whilst Amanda loves her job in her local store. But the two women have forged a deep friendship based on their shared battle with the bulge, and have helped each other through some of their darkest days.

Asda orged hared ped eir y nf s As revealed in the Irish Daily Mirror last week, Loose Women presenter Lisa had 1.5 stones of saggy skin cut away by surgeons after her extreme weight loss of 12 stones left her with a baggy body that repulsed her even more than when she was obese.

As she struggled to come to terms with the apron of skin on her stomach, bingo wings and sagging thighs her weight loss had left her with, Lisa thought she was the only person suffering like this.

e ly That was until she went online and met Amanda and scores of other people who had successfully lost vast amounts of weight, only to be left with sagging, loose skin that no amount of diet or exercise would shift.

anda STAGGERING Lisa, 41, says: "Before I met Amanda I literally thought I was on my own with this. I think to truly understand what someone is going through, you have to have been through it yourself, so I had to find Amanda."

ve " Amanda, 36, from South London, lost a staggering 11 stones through diet and exercise alone - just like Lisa - and hasn, t d also undergone corrective surgery to rid herself of saggy skin.

She became a proud member of Lisa's Baggy Body Club, a support group she set up while filming a documentary about her own weight loss and surgery.

p ntary rgery.

Amanda had struggled with her weight all her life. Aged 14 she was a size 18 and a target for school bullies.

-m chool e She recalls: "I was at an all-girls school. I remember coming in from a PE lesson and I couldn't find my school skirt. Then two of the girls came out from the showers with my skirt on both of them. My mum used to give me money for the school bus, but if the bullies were bad I used to walk home and spend the money in the sweet shop. It was a vicious circle."

e." She joined WeightWatchers numerous times, but was a classic yo-yo dieter, and she'd eat huge portions at every meal time. "If we had pie and mash, I would have two pies and a huge pile of mash," she says.

By the time she was in her early 30s she weighed 22st 9lb, and wore size 28-30 clothes. But like Lisa, who finally took control of her weight after the death of her mum Cath, and her dad Terry being diagnosed with diabetes, it took a family tragedy for Amanda to finally decide she had to make a drastic lifestyle change once and for all.

Her older brother Matt, 39, was walking to work in Vauxhall, London, in January 2013 when a helicopter crashed into a crane above him. He was hit by burning wreckage and died in hospital.

Amanda says: "We were all devastated. Matt was obese and had to have an obese coffin. I had never seen one before and it shocked me. It was the lightbulb moment for me."

Amanda took herself back to Weight-Watchers with a renewed resolve. Her goal was to reach the same weight as her other brother Darren, who had always been the slim one in the family.

And on Christmas Day last year when they both stepped on the scales, Amanda was overjoyed when she was actually lighter than him at 11st 9lb.

But her massive achievement had a major downside - the loose skin. Not only was she left with droopy, saggy bingo wings, the skin on her thighs was so bad it actually made a clapping noise when she walked.

"My mum says she never realised how bad the skin on my legs was until one time I sat down at home and it sounded like someone was clapping their hands," she explains.

"I went to my GP and he didn't believe I had lost the weight on my own without gastric surgery. I then asked him about surgery for the loose skin and he said you have to go private. There was no support from him at all.

"People say I should have said I had depression or mental health issues, but I didn't want to lie about that. The NHS is under so much pressure, they can't afford everything.

"I would never expect the NHS to pay for all the surgery, but maybe if they would pay towards it, it would give people an incentive to lose weight."

TERRIFIED Amanda had some savings from money she got after her brother's accident, and her church then set up a crowdfunding page.

She finally saved up the thousands of pounds she needed, and Amanda and Lisa went under the knife just a week apart in February this year. She says: "Like Lisa, I was terrified of going under the anaesthetic. I had never been in hospital before and I was scared of not waking up. But me and Lisa were able to text each other and support each other along the way."

Amanda now can't believe her new body. She is a size 10/12 and even has a few size 8 items in her wardrobe.

Whereas before she didn't even own a full length mirror, now she has two in her house and posts inspirational selfies on her Instagram page.

"Before meeting Lisa and the others in the Baggy Body Club, I had never met anyone before who had lost so much weight," she says. "Being friends with Lisa and going through this together has been a massive support.

"I feel like a different person. I used to hate what I saw in the mirror and only ever had a small one just to do my make-up. Even when I went clothes shopping I would only give myself a quick glance in the changing room.

"I like what I see now and it has given my confidence a massive boost. Before when I used to go out with my friends I used to be the one sat watching everyone's handbags. Now you can't get me off the dance floor!" But both Lisa and Amanda know their journey will probably never end.

Lisa adds: "Amanda and I will always have a battle with food. We will always worry about how many times we have been to the gym. This is for life.

"We supported each other through our surgery and recoveries. Amanda was a total stranger to me, but because of this she has become a dear friend." | |Lisa Riley's Baggy Body Club is on ITV at 9pm tonight

CAPTION(S):

SUCCESS Amanda lost 11st by dieting

MATES Amanda and Lisa support each other

BAGGY Lisa before surgery b
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 5, 2017
Words:1191
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