Here, Kate Acciarito, 31, tells the story in her own words.
'￼Sorry,’ said the surgeon. ‘You’re an unfit candidate.’
‘What?’ I cried, aghast.
I’d gone to book in for a breast reduction, with my mum, Kerryn, for support.
At a 20E, I couldn’t bear my big bust any longer.
My breasts were even different sizes, meaning bras never fitted me properly.
‘You’re morbidly obese,’ he said. ‘Surgery is too risky. And if I reduce your top half you’ll be way out of proportion. You’re wasting your money.’ ‘But I need it done,’ I cried. ‘You’ll have to lose weight first,’ he replied.
Mortified, I left his office in tears.
‘I hate my life and I hate being so huge!’ I sobbed to Mum.
At 165cm tall, I weighed 118 kilos. And my breasts were not only massive, I’d had several lumps on them too.
They’d all proved benign so far but with a history of breast cancer in the family, it was a worry.
Having such large, dense breasts made it harder to check them.
‘Why don’t you book the surgery anyhow?’ Mum said. ‘Then you’ll have an incentive to lose weight.’
‘You’re right,’ I sniffled.
So, I went back in and made an appointment for nine months’ time.
‘I’ll be 20 kilos lighter then,’ I told the surgeon. ‘If you are, I’ll do it,’ he said.
I knew it was going to be hard. I’d started putting on weight as a teen, earning me the nickname ‘the wombat’.
Bullied mercilessly, I turned to food for comfort. By the time I graduated, I was an anxious mess with no self-worth at all.
I earned a scholarship to study mental health nursing and moved out of home to be closer to uni.
There, my weight spiralled further out of control.
For lunch, I’d buy a quarter-pound cheeseburger meal at Macca’s drive-through and devour it in my car. At night, I ate microwave meals, chicken schnitzels or chips in bed.
When I began working shifts as a nurse, I ate at all times of day at the hospital cafeteria.
Despite my size, I loved clothes and would spend hours choosing cute tops and skirts online and placing them in the virtual shopping basket, before deleting them.
In reality, I could only wear flowing outfits in a size 24. I’d cut the tags out so nobody could see my size and I avoided mirrors.As for men – it was as though I didn’t exist.
All my friends were partnered up but at 27, no man had ever asked me out on a date.
But now I had a deadline… I had nine months to lose 20 kilos.
If nothing else, I wanted to show that surgeon I could do it!
Three times a day, I ate protein, vegies and salad, and nothing else. I also walked for 20 minutes each morning.After nine months, I’d lost 25 kilos!
Jubilant, I returned to the surgeon, who, impressed I’d kept my word, kept his.
In a three-hour op, my bust was reduced to a comfortable 12C.
‘I removed 600 grams off the right and 1.2 kilos off the left one,’ he told me. ‘They’re even now.’ ‘I love them!’ I cried.
Having manageable and evenly-sized breasts was life-changing.
‘If I can lose 25 kilos, I can lose more,’ I said to Mum. ‘Then I’ll be slim all over.’
So, I joined an online health program, 28 by Sam Wood.
It combined healthy meals with a daily 28-minute workout. I went from being the ‘queen of excuses’ to the ‘queen of exercise’.
Netball, swimming and the gym became my new antidepressants.
Three years since my operation, I’ve dropped six dress sizes and weigh 71 kilos – that’s 47 gone!
I’m so happy the surgeon was tough on me. If he hadn’t been, I would never have lost the weight to prove him wrong.
Now, I no longer get lumps on my breasts, I love buying clothes straight off the rack, and I’m going on dates for the first time.
Ironically, the guy from school who used to bully me and call me ‘wombat’ is now pursuing me. He can whistle in the wind! I may now be a size 12 but I still have the same soul.
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