Written by Lea Walker
Lea Walker’s Story – Big Brother Contestant!
During her pregnancy body conscious Lea Walker, 34, from Nottingham ballooned from a svelte size 8 to a whopping 23 stones. Then, when her husband left her she decided to go in search of the perfect body.
As I waddled down the aisle, leaning on my shopping trolley I waited for the next jibe.
‘Look at the size of her,’ they’d whisper. Or sometimes they’d just come straight out with it, saying:
‘Oi, fatty! Don’t you think you should put those sweets back?’
I couldn’t believe people could be so cruel. In those days it took all my nerve to go to our local supermarket. I was 24. Only months before this I’d been a slimline size 8 but my pregnancy had changed me into the incredible inflated woman.
I was already four months pregnant when I married my husband Matt in May 1994. It was hardly my dream wedding, standing in the registry office, feeling like an 18 stone freak. By the end of my pregnancy I’d blown up to a colossal 23 stones.
‘Don’t worry, it is a little unusual but it’s just water retention,’ said my GP.
But that was no good. My pregnancy was hell. It was the red hot summer of ‘95. My ankles felt like elephant’s legs, my swollen skin was burning hot and painful to touch and my stretch marks had begun to bleed because of my ever-expanding 62 inch belly. I could hardly walk. I felt like a beached whale.
Henry was born at Nottingham City Hospital on 29 September 1995, weighing a healthy 10lbs. I cried with joy. To be honest, the birth was a doddle compared to the last nine months. Unfortunately, Matt didn’t take to fatherhood as I’d imagined. He seemed more concerned about giving me grief.
‘You need to lose some weight, you fat cow,’ he’d say. I was so upset. My confidence was already shot to pieces. I didn’t need him to rub salt in. But I chose not to answer back. After all, he was right. I was repulsive.
For my own good, I desperately needed to lose weight. I’d already lost 2 stones immediately after the birth. In between looking after Henry I started my own weight loss plan. I stopped eating. Well, not entirely. I’d have fruit and water every day. And that was it. Not the most sensible solution, I know. But it seemed to work. The weight dropped off as fast as it’d piled on. By May 1999 I weighed 6st4lbs.
‘You’re too thin,’ my best friend Greg said one day.
‘What are you on about?’ I said defensively. I went running, did step aerobics. I felt full of energy.
‘I can see your bones,’ he said bravely.
Someone had to tell me. I’d been so obsessed with losing weight I couldn’t see what I was doing to myself.
It was a slow recovery but I began to put weight back on. But I still hated the way I looked. Because I’d been so big before I had folds of loose skin everywhere. My pitiful 30AAA bust hung like flapping spaniel’s ears. The excess skin from my tummy would hang down like an octopus’ head. It was revolting. Going on holiday would be a nightmare. I couldn’t wear the wear the skimpy bikini briefs I wanted to because the skin would flop out. I’d go bright red, hoping no-one would notice and quickly tuck it back inside. In the end I was confined to what can only be described as ‘bucket pants’.
I couldn’t bear to look at myself in the mirror. I’d stare at the disgusting thing looking back and collapse into fits of sobs. Then one day I was watching telly when Baywatch came on. Pamela Anderson looked amazing.
‘If I could have any body, it’d be hers’, I said to Matt.
‘In your dreams,’ he mocked, ogling the big bosomed beauty on the screen.
Why shouldn’t I? I thought angrily. Then an advert flashed up for a plastic surgery clinic. Out of curiosity I gave them a call.
By June 1999 I’d had my first boob op to increase my size up to a 30DD. When I came around after the surgery, I couldn’t believe it. One minute I had no chest, the next I looked down and had two humungous boobs staring back at me.
‘I feel amazing! I can’t take my eyes off them!’ I said, tears in my eyes. The very next day I was showing them off, bandages and all, at my friend Sam’s birthday barbeque.
‘Oh. Mi. God. It’s Lara Croft!’ Greg said when he saw me.
But Matt was his usual unimpressed self.
‘They’re alright’ was all he could say.
If the truth be known we only married for Henry’s sake. It wasn’t working. Matt made it clear he didn’t care about us. He was only at home when he had to be. He’d bully me, day in, day out. We’d argue all the time. That Christmas Eve he left us, without saying a word. He went to work and never came home. That night we went to stay up the road at my mum and dad’s. When we returned home to our semi on New Year’s Day he’d taken everything, tv, furniture, the lot.
‘I know we don’t have two pennies to rub together. But I feel better that he’s gone. Me and Henry are better off without him,’ I said to my mum.
By 2000, I had sold the house and moved in with my parents. They loved having us around and helped me get back on my feet. I even got a little job as a landscape gardener. Then in August I began to feel poorly. I had red hot stabbing pains under my armpit. I ignored it for a while, thought I must’ve pulled a muscle at work. Eventually I went to the doctors.
‘Your right breast is rejecting the implant. We need to get you into surgery right away,’ he said.
I was shocked but didn’t feel nervous. I saw it as an opportunity to put a few things right.
‘Can you make them bigger?’ I said with a smile on my face. I’d made a bit of money from the sale of the house so I thought I’d put it to good use.
The night before my op I was so excited I could hardly sleep. When I woke up after surgery I had even bigger boobs.
‘You’re lovely as you are,’ mum would say.
But she knew me well enough. For as long as I can remember I’d been insecure about my body. At school I was picked on because of the way I looked. I was twig thin, flat-chested with a horrible hooked nose. I dreamed of being curvy with big, beach ball boobs. The bigger the better as far as I was concerned.
After surgery I started to think about my stomach. I was fed up having to hide it. I’d already been refused a tummy tuck on the NHS so I decided to go private. In May 2004 I took the plunge and had abdominal plasty to flatten my stomach, liposculpture to take the flabby bits from my thighs, back, knees, calves, hips and bum, rhinoplasty to straighten my nose and 30JJ breast implants. I had the whole lot done in one go. After a few weeks the numbness and the bruising had disappeared. Within six months my body was exactly the way I wanted it to be.
Some people might think I’m over the top. I know surgery isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. People do sneer and are sometimes quite rude. But I’ve been put down all my life and I’m not really bothered what others think. My family and friends have been behind me one hundred percent and Henry, now 9, is my little protector.
‘Stop staring at my mum!’ he’ll say, if someone’s eyes linger on my cleavage for too long. He told me the other day that the kids at school say I’m the new Jordan!’
I’ve transformed every part of my life and not just on the outside. I’ve never been as happy as I am now. I’ve just bought a new house for me and Henry. And I’ve had some offers to do glamour model shoots, something I’d love to do full time one day. I’m single right now. But I’m a choosy lady. It’ll have to be a very special someone to come into our lives. Because, right now, I have everything just the way I like it.