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Woman who squeezed into full-body Spanx to look slimmer as maid of honor at her friend's wedding loses 85lbs thanks to a gastric sleeve

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 6/12/2019 Sarah Finley For Mailonline

A woman who squeezed into full-body Spanx to look slimmer as maid of honor at her friend's wedding lost 85lbs thanks to a gastric sleeve. 

Paulette Abourjaily, 30, from Boston, was 237lbs (16st 9lbs) at her heaviest. At just 12 she was 162lbs and by her 21st, even though she had lost some weight,she weighed 183lbs.

Things came to a head at her friend’s wedding, during the summer of 2017. In the hope of looking thinner in her maid of honor dress she squeezed into a full body spanx, but felt miserable afterwards and decided to undergo a VSG (Vertical sleeve gastrectomy).

After the operation she ate well and the weight started to drop off - she now weighs 153lbs (10st 9lbs) and feels more confident in her own skin.

a couple of people posing for the camera: Things came to a head at her best friend’s wedding, during the summer of 2017 when she felt self conscious in her bridesmaids dress © Provided by Daily Mail Things came to a head at her best friend’s wedding, during the summer of 2017 when she felt self conscious in her bridesmaids dress

‘My heaviest weight was 237lbs – I may have even hit 240 at one point,’ says Paulette ‘I remember seeing that weight and wanting to crawl into a hole and disappear.’ Currently a trim 153lbs, Paulette says that from an early age she was overweight.

‘There are few times in my life that I remember getting on the scale,’ she admitted. ‘Once when I was 12 I remember I weighed 162 pounds then I remember college I was always 190+ by my 21st birthday– I had lost some weight and thought that I looked incredible. But I was 183 pounds.’

Paulette believes she was on the heavy side for the simple reason that she ate a lot. 'There is nothing for me to blame for my weight gain on, besides food,’ she said.

‘My family are big eaters and I honestly believe that was the main reason for my weight gain – being old school Lebanese the mentality that my grandmother had was “eating makes people happy” and so whenever I was with her I surely wasn’t hungry.’

a woman standing in front of a body of water posing for the camera: Now weighing 153lbs (10st 9lbs) and feels more confident in her own skin. © Provided by Daily Mail Now weighing 153lbs (10st 9lbs) and feels more confident in her own skin.

Although she didn’t have a bad diet, Paulette ate more than other people around her.

‘The issue was the quantity of food I was able to consume,’ she tells us. 'I could eat. Now I’m “on the other side” I am able to see just how much I use to eat. 

'Dining out I use to be able to have bread, appetizers and still order a large meal and eat it all. I use think it was weird that my friends would stop eating before I did and I’d think “how are they full?”'

a couple of people posing for the camera: Before (left) and after (right)  - Paula admits that she didn't have a bad diet but she ate more than others © Provided by Daily Mail Before (left) and after (right)  - Paula admits that she didn't have a bad diet but she ate more than others a woman smiling for the camera: After losing the weight Paula said that hopping for new clothes was her favourite thing to do © Provided by Daily Mail After losing the weight Paula said that hopping for new clothes was her favourite thing to do

Still, Paulette’s family did give her a hard time about her size. ‘I have heard from my family calling me fat, saying it was a shame that my face was so pretty but that I was overweight.

‘I also once had someone ask me how I could walk down the street without being embarrassed.’

Things came to a head at her best friend’s wedding, during the summer of 2017.

‘I was one of the maids of honor. I still remember going into the bathroom while everyone was getting ready and trying to squeeze myself into the full body spanx I had bought in the hope of looking thinner.

a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: In the summer of 2017 she went to visit family in Lebanon - it was the first time she didn’t want to be in her body anymore (left) she lost over 85lbs and now loves her body (right) © Provided by Daily Mail In the summer of 2017 she went to visit family in Lebanon - it was the first time she didn’t want to be in her body anymore (left) she lost over 85lbs and now loves her body (right)

‘I can still see the bathroom in my mind - I hated the way I felt and looked at that moment. That was June. I had my surgery arranged the following December.’

At first Paulette was reluctant to face up to the problem.

‘My sister first mentioned VSG surgery to me after a friend of hers had done it. I freaked out, saying “I’m not that fat” and “I don’t want to stop drinking”. “I can do it myself!” – all things I would say and all things that were false.

‘The truth is I had a BMI of 41+ and my cholesterol was getting higher and higher. That summer I went to Lebanon, as I usually do to visit family and vacation. 

'While over there I felt and looked uncomfortable, it was the first time I didn’t want to be in my body anymore, I really hated it and wanted to change.

‘So I came home and without telling anyone I made the call to Tufts Medical in Boston and went to my first appointment.’

Paulette knew it was the right decision for her. ‘By the time I had decided I was going to do it I was no longer nervous,’ she says, describing the pre-op process as ‘not painful, but mentally awakening.

‘Leading up to the surgery you have to complete a certain amount of appointments with a nutritionist, surgeon and therapist – not all hospitals require this but mine did.

'The process is simple, they go in, cut out 85 per cent of your stomach and leave you with a “sleeve” similar to a banana as a stomach.

‘I never even got sick, except just the one time I remember feeling nauseous but that didn’t last. Walking, drinking water and resting is the best thing you can do.’

As soon as the process started to show real results, Paulette know her life would be transformed for the better.

‘Boy was it fun,’ she says enthusiastically. ‘Shopping for new clothes was obviously my favourite, not worrying if something would fit or not, just grabbing something and trying it on, it just felt good.’

a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Being so much slimmer has also made a massive difference to Paulette’s love life. Before her weight loss (left) and right after her weightloss © Provided by Daily Mail Being so much slimmer has also made a massive difference to Paulette’s love life. Before her weight loss (left) and right after her weightloss

Being so much slimmer has also made a massive difference to Paulette’s love life.

‘It’s really affected the quality of men,’ she says. ‘I’m not saying good men don’t date heavier women. But there is a huge difference in the types of guys between then, and now.’

When relationships went badly for her in the past, Paulette used to blame her weight, but now she is a lot more confident.

‘I don’t blame myself anymore,’ she says proudly, a positive attitude reflected on her Instagram account @a_vsg_story17, where she shares pictures and inspirational insights to over 18.5k followers.

a group of people posing for a photo: Since the wedding and feeling self conscious she has lost 85lbs and feels more confident in what she wears © Provided by Daily Mail Since the wedding and feeling self conscious she has lost 85lbs and feels more confident in what she wears

Paulette, who is now an ambassador for VSG surgery said: ‘Do this for you. Don’t do it because someone called you fat, don’t do it because your husband deserves a skinnier wife or because society is telling you to lose weight.’

While she also advised: ‘Take before photos, like a lot of them – it’s the best way to see the difference and learn new habits, listen to your body and love yourself.

‘I promise you, nobody is going to love you if you don’t love yourself.'

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