Ten years ago, Fern Britton made headlines when it was revealed that her 5st weight loss was down to a secret gastric band that she’d had fitted, and now – having gained weight following an operation – a medical professional has warned that the mum-of-four’s health could be at risk again.
Woman’s GP, Dr Philippa Kaye, explains that Fern could be at risk of a heart attack, stroke or even cancer if she continues to stretch the gastric band by overeating.
‘The most likely thing is that the band is being stretched and the size of her stomach is getting bigger, allowing her to eat more,’ she reveals. ‘This means there are some real long-term risks to her health, which are associated with obesity.’
Fern, 60, has made no secret of her battle with anxiety and depression in the past. And Dr Philippa warns that these issues – which can often cause patients to overeat prior to surgery – don’t miraculously disappear after the device is surgically fitted.
While a gastric band can seem like a quick fix for obesity, it may not be the whole answer. The doctor explains, ‘The psychological input and continued support afterwards is really important to ensure that people stick to it. If you are overeating because of depression – that hasn’t gone away.’
FERN ON FOOD
Reflecting on her own dark times, Fern said previously, ‘Eating is an emotional issue. You overeat because you’re unhappy. I think it was to do with my fear of depression – the fear of finding myself once again in that black bottomless pit where I have been several times in my life.’
For two years she’s been getting back on her feet after a bout of sepsis – which had her ‘fighting for her life’ – and now the presenter’s health could be at risk again.
After a routine hysterectomy in 2016, Fern, 60, developed the serious infection, which unsurprisingly affected her fitness levels, perhaps leading to her recent fuller figure.
After spending 10 days in hospital and undergoing several operations to remove abscesses, it’s no surprise that the gym hasn’t been top of Fern’s agenda. ‘I am not quite as fit as I was but it’s because of that,’ she said. ‘But I am getting fitter.’
Having also admitted to using exercise to combat anxiety and depression and her ‘emotional’ overeating, the fact that her fitness isn’t currently at the level she’d like it to be means there’s a fear Fern could spiral into a dark place. ‘Cycling and weight training is part of my life and has been for the last 10 years,’ she has said. ‘Everyone says it’s key in helping ward off depression, and it’s really helped me a lot.’
WEAR AND TEAR?
The former This Morning star is clearly conscious of any aspect of deteriorating health as she recently admitted, ‘I am going to come clean. I wear hearing aids now.’
To add fuel to the fire, Fern’s recent admission that she was ‘relieved’ to hear her upcoming role in Calendar Girls was one that didn’t involve taking her clothes off prove she’s feeling far from her best.
‘No one will be exposed to my breasts,’ she revealed. ‘When the call came, I was prepared to say, ‘Yes, I would take my clothes off, but then I was told I wouldn’t have to and I was quite relieved.’
It comes after Fern confessed that she’s swapped romps with her husband of 18 years, TV chef Phil Vickery, for a cup of tea in bed.
‘Sex is great but a cup of tea is great, too,’ she admitted. ‘There’s nothing nicer than getting into bed with a cuppa and having a hug and a chat – that’s love.’
We hope you feel back to yourself soon, Fern.