Khalia Ali Gastric Band

Khaliah Ali is the daughter of boxer Muhammad Ali. At her heaviest she weighed 325 pounds, and at just five foot, eight inches tall, Khaliah felt like a failure especially when compared to the physical prowess of her father.    

Early Days

Khaliah Ali had been overweight for as long as she can remember. Her mother was vegan and her obsessive cooking styles had an effect on Khaliah from a young age. At the age of five she remembers a school friend telling her she “wouldn’t be so blubbery, if she didn’t eat as much blubbery steak”; and she recalls dieting from then onwards. When she was nine she was on the television in a programme designed to slim down overweight children. As a teen and an adult Khaliah attempted many diets on her own, all were unsuccessful or resulted in the weight always returning.

The Operation

After five years of losing and gaining the same fifty pounds Khaliah Ali found herself tired and miserable and in 2004 she decided to have gastric band surgery, in which a band is placed around the top part of the stomach to in effect shrink it, which encourages the patient to eat less food. Khaliah had thought about having weight loss surgery before but she had only been informed about gastric bypass surgery, which is a lot more dangerous and has a much longer recovery time than gastric band surgery. When she found out about gastric band surgery she felt safer and less frightened about the procedure; “The results of the surgery are just as spectacular as those of gastric bypass, yet with only one tenth of the rate of life threatening complications” she said.

Khaliah’s biggest motivator was her son Jacob who was in primary school at the time. She feared that as he got older he would be bullied because of her weight. She was also unhappy at not being able to take him to the beach for fear of vicious comments, and not being able to play with him like a young mum should. Khaliah had the operation in 2004.

Present day

Khaliah Ali has lost over half of her weight and is now 158 pounds, and a healthy size ten. She now works as a plus size clothing designer In 2007 she wrote a book entitled ‘Fighting Weight’ about her surgery, which she hopes will encourage other morbidly obese Americans to follow her in her footsteps. She believes entirely that obesity is down to the genes a person is born with and the abundance of food nowadays is leading to an obesity epidemic. Although before her operation Khaliah thought surgery was a cheaters solution, she now believes this is not the case and that it is the best thing she has ever done. Khaliah hopes her book will also educate ‘thin’ people and show them that obese people do have a lot of willpower but that it is often not enough to remain at a healthy weight.

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