“People get the impression that because you’re young that your skin will ‘bounce back’. That may be the case if you’re a little overweight, but being morbidly obese your skin takes a beating,” she tells New Idea.
After her weight loss, Laura Jade was left with drooping breasts and an apron of skin across her stomach.
Despite feeling fitter than ever there was still no bikini-wearing potential and she continued to hide her body in clothes that were too big for her.
“I knew it (skin removal surgery) was going to be something I would have had to do,” she says. “I made my first consultation with the plastic surgeon once I hit my goal weight in April.”
And then she made another big decision.
The shy Central Coast carer wanted to share photos of herself before, and even directly after, surgery on her Instagram page @hellbentforhealth for the world to see.
“Honestly, I still can’t believe that I did. At the start I wasn’t going to because I know how cruel people on the internet can be,” she tells New Idea. But she wanted to help other people like her. “Having people be so open with the whole process really helps to calm the nerves,” she says.
In November Laura Jade went in for the $25,000 surgery which included a fleur de lis tummy tuck, mons reduction and a breast lift with implants.
The surgeon took 4.5 kilos of loose skin off her stomach leaving behind the body she’d worked so hard for.
Laura Jade shared candid photos of her body before and then from her hospital bed, new scars, tubes attached and all.
“Just got the vac dressing removed and my dressings changed,” she wrote next to a photo of her new body. “Seriously omfg. I have no words.”
With nearly 4,000 likes, her followers were impressed...and inspired.
“I know I have helped and inspired people as I receive multiple messages of people telling me just that,” she says now. “Every one of them means a lot and I’m so incredibly thankful as I really don’t feel like I’m anything special.”
She has also documented her recovery which she says was easier than she expected.
“The hardest part is actually having to do nothing whilst you recover, she laughs. “I’m 3 weeks into a minimum of 6 week recovery and the cabin fever has well and truly set in. I’d do it again in a heartbeat though.”
Laura Jade now weighs 81.5 kilos and despite still having stretch marks and some prominent scars from the op she says it has changed everything.
“I know at the end of the day there are more important things than a flat stomach and boobs that don’t point to the floor,” she says.
“But for someone that has been overweight their entire life and hasn’t ever experienced this before it really is life changing.”