When most people retire, they look forward to travelling the world, starting a new hobby, or putting their feet up for a well-earned rest.
Not Linda Owen. She wanted to be a brand-new woman. So she blew $30,000 of her pension on an extreme makeover.
Former teacher Linda, 62, had every procedure imaginable – including a gastric band to help her lose an amazing nine stone, a facelift, surgery on her “bingo wings” and teeth whitening.
As our before and after pictures show, Linda looks 15 years younger... and says she couldn’t be happier with the results.
“I looked like a grey-haired old pensioner when I retired from teaching,” said Linda. “Now I look so much younger... when I look in the mirror I don’t even recognise myself.
“It’s like looking at someone else.
“When I saw my doctor he says I’ve added 15 years to my life by losing weight. And I look about 15 years younger too.”
Divorced Linda spent 35 years teaching secondary school pupils maths. The stress of the job and long hours took its toll.
Her weight ballooned to 22 stone and she was a hefty Size 24. It meant simply walking to the end of the road was becoming hard work.
Linda had always hoped to go on a round-the-world cruise after she retired, but the last time she went on holiday she felt humiliated when she couldn’t fit into an aircraft seat.
So she underwent a £8,000 gastric band operation at a clinic in London in March 2008.
After the surgery she could only eat blended foods, then small meals. The pounds simply dropped off.
“I’d tried every diet under the sun for many years, and I just could never shift the weight,” she said. “Anything that I managed to lose, it soon piled back on again.
“I just couldn’t stop eating my favourite bacon sandwiches, curries and cheeseburgers.
“But after I had the surgery I was thrilled when the weight started falling off me.
“I just didn’t want the fatty foods any more that I used to love.
“As my weight reduced, I felt so much better and had loads more energy.”
Delighted with her slimmed-down frame, Linda decided that she wanted more surgery to transform her look.
She said: “I’d had lots of excess skin left over from losing all the weight, so I wanted to get rid of that.
“While most people in their retirement would have spent their time gardening I was determined on improving my body.”
So Linda had a £6,500 facelift in August 2009, followed by a £4,000 operation for an armlift in February 2010.
Recently she also treated herself to a teeth whitening treatment and had permanent eyeliner applied, at a further cost of £1,150.
She now weighs 12st 12lb, and has dropped from a Size 22 to a Size 16.
She said: “Straight after the facelift I looked in the mirror and I was horrified.
“I had stitches all across my head and I looked I’d been in the boxing ring. But when the bruises faded, I was absolutely thrilled. I felt absolutely fantastic when I’d had all the surgery done.
“When I look at myself in the mirror I don’t recognise myself as the overweight, grey-haired pensioner that I used to be.” Neither do Linda’s former pupils. When she passes them in the street in her home town of Waterlooville, Hants, they don’t recognise her. Linda said: “I’ve walked past former pupils that I taught for years, and they just don’t know it’s me.
“I’m thrilled they don’t. It shows what a good job I’ve done with my body. I may have waited until I’m a pensioner to improve my body, but it’s been worth every penny.
“I’ve got so much more energy now than I ever had... and I’m now really enjoying my
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