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‘He’s had the before me, the middle me and the after me,’ she says.
The ‘before’ Lisa was a vocal cheerleader for the big-is-beautiful brigade, who, at her heftiest, was a dress size 28 and swore blind she was happy as a pig in clover.
Foolishly, though, she did not follow her doctor’s orders not to do anything strenuous for 16 days.
Very soon after her operation, she and Al moved from Manchester to London. She developed a seroma — a collection of fluid under the skin — three weeks after her surgery and the skin infection cellulitis.‘It got deeper and deeper and the smell was just the worst thing.
Dad’s bed was near the nurses’ station and I heard too much — about amputees, sight loss. Tomorrow’s another day.” But Al would be like: “Hold on.” I needed that man — a real bloke.’For eight days Lisa consumed just 405 calories a day to shock her body. She continues to eat smaller portion sizes, tries not to eat after 6.30pm and exercises daily.‘A year ago I gave up drinking, because when I was hung over I was eating for six, and not healthy stuff. I don’t eat anything like that now.’The weight fell off her, but not the unsightly skin.
Out went the bottle-and-a-half of wine a night, the crisps, the sweets, the cheese toasties and the rest, for Lisa to emerge as a size 12 ‘middle me’.It’s major surgery and I was the only person who had put myself there.I was the one who filled my face with Cadbury Creme Eggs. Now I had to deal with the consequences and the fact that I might not wake up tomorrow.‘I was reasoning things out in all sorts of ways in my head, telling myself: “Oh well, I’ll be in Heaven with my mum.”‘The irony was that, having lost the weight, I was the healthiest I’d ever been in my life.’Lisa, of course, did wake up.It was vile.‘I’m so lucky I could afford this myself. And look, that’s my breast being rebuilt [after more saggy skin was removed].‘These are my golden tickets. She’s dead in my eyes, and long may that last.’Indeed, today Lisa is much changed from the bouncy fun-seeker who endeared herself to so many viewers in the 2012 series of Strictly Come Dancing, partnering Robin Windsor. On Tuesday, viewers will be able to see that huge bundle on ITV1’s Lisa Riley’s Baggy Body Club, which follows the actress and Loose Women presenter through surgery to remove more than a stone of loose skin.When you go onto the crowd-funding sites on social media you see the enormity — excuse the pun — of the number of people who need this. I want to keep reminding myself what I’ve done — what I’ve been through — to get to where I am now.‘This is for always. Few of those watching knew that just two months before filming began, her much-loved but indulgent mum Cath had died of cancer. Pictured: Lisa in Emmerdale‘Then we went on the Strictly tour.