A morbidly obese couple who together tip the scales at almost 600lbs are to spend their own life savings on his’n’her gastric band – to save the NHS money.
Chris and Isabella Way said only they are responsible for their huge sizes and do not want the taxpayer to pay the price for their reckless overeating.
The weight-reducing ops will cost them £5,000 each privately but they have both vowed to foot the bill themselves.
Isabella, 31, tips the scales at 19-and-a-half stone while Chris, aged 41, is two stone heavier at 21 and a half.
The couple, who have five children between them, will both go under the knife next month at a private hospital near their home in Edgbaston, Birmingham
Isabelle, an accounts administrator Isabella, said: “For all my adult life I have struggled with my weight.
“With each pregnancy I piled on more and more weight.
“Chris had always been a yo-yo dieter and he was slim when I met him, but we bonded over our love of food.
“When we started dating he would take me to Michelin-star restaurants, and we loved browsing food festivals and street food markets together.”
Chris, a software engineer who has been with Isabella for three years, has a 44” waist and wears XXL shirts.
His BMI is a life-threatening 40 – the result of eating two breakfasts every single day.
He said: “We got ourselves into this situation by greed, so it’s up to us to find a way out of it.
“To put it plainly, we love food – and we don’t expect the NHS to pick up bill for it.”
Isabella, a size 22, said: “It’s wrong that dole-claiming scroungers who have never worked a day in their life get the surgery for free.
“We are not super-rich – we are a working family and instead of buying a new car, we are going to buy ourselves a new lifestyle.
“You can’t put a price on your health.”
Chris added: “Our favourite foods were share-sized packets of crisps and calorific homemade desserts, like crumble with custard.
“Because we have kids to feed, Isabella would make gigantic portions – then she and I would return for second or third helpings, just because the food was there.
“We would eat dinner early in the evening but by 8pm we would be peckish again, and would end up having a second dinner in front of the telly like three rounds of toast with popcorn.
“We knew it was unhealthy, but the truth is, we loved eating and would get through tonnes and tonnes of food every week.”
Isabella said: “We were offered the NHS health programme as we’d both had health issues relating to weight.
“If we failed the programme, we would be entitled to a free gastric band. We politely refused.”
Instead, the couple discussed forking out for a gastric band with their own savings and arranged a consultation.
But Chris decided he didn’t want to resort to the dramatic treatment without trying to diet.
He said: “We spent the next three months trying to lose weight naturally. We worked out, ate healthily and even tried slimming pills.
“I lost a stone and Isabella lost two, but we couldn’t keep the weight off.
“Slowly, we piled on the pounds again and undid all our hard work.
“In April this year, we accepted that eating huge portions was making us fat.
“Isabella suggested that we go through with getting a gastric band fitted.
“She was joking – but slowly we realised that this was the only solution for us – because we love eating.
“We knew it was a life-changing decision, and we knew it would be expensive, but never for one second did we consider approaching the NHS.
“As a couple, we pride ourselves on being independent, and we are not willing to accept services for free when we can pay our own way.
“Besides, we are both mobile and able to work – so there’s no reason to try and scrounge the treatment.”
During a consultation at Dolan Park, part of Brimingham Hospital Group this month, the couple were told they can have the 20-minute keyhole surgery on the same day – and they are even able to share a room.
Isabella added: “For a family with five kids, 10k is a huge amount to spend. But we think it’s only right that we spend our own money.
“Asking for tight NHS budgets to spent correcting out greed would be an insult to the taxpayer.
“But we are essentially buying a new lifestyle, so it’s worth it.
“We’ve been warned there could be complications. It’s a life-changing operation and funding it with our own money has forced us to think seriously about doing it – this has not been an easy decision.”
Chris hopes to lose 6st by Christmas, and Isabella expects to lose 4st.