Lisa Riley: The Emmerdale star opens up about ‘brutality’ of massive weight loss and surgery

The iconic soap star has been on a brutal journey over the last 18 months.

Emmerdale Lisa Riley weight loss
© Dave J Hogan / GETTYIMAGES
Emmerdale Lisa Riley weight loss

Emmerdale, which was known as Emmerdale Farm until 1989, is one of the UK’s most beloved soaps. The show has been running since 1972, detailing the lives of characters in a fictional village in the Yorkshire Dales. The soap’s actors become as beloved by fans as the personalities they portray. Fans were devastated to learn about the death of soap icon Georgina Hale earlier this year, and Lisa Riley is another example of a beloved star of the show.

Discover our latest podcast

Lisa Riley played fan favourite Mandy Dingle in the soap for over seven years. She was even awarded the National Television Awards for Most Popular Newcomer in 1996 for her iconic performance on the show. In 2016, Lisa lost a whopping 10 stone in weight, shocking fans with her transformation. She has since spoken out about the experience, and the unexpected side effects she dealt with after losing so much weight in a short timeframe.

Lisa Riley opens up about ‘brutality’ of weight loss

Lisa’s first TV appearance after her weight loss was on Loose Women. Since becoming a regular panellist, she has spoken very frankly about the good and bad parts of the experience. Lisa dropped from a size 28 to 12 in just 18 months, and has said that it was about a shift in mindset. Speaking about the experience, you can tell she was very firm with herself:

Nobody made me eat 50 Twix bars, or a whole packet of sausages at one sitting. I did that to myself. No one made me not go to the gym. Some weeks I was probably having seven takeaways a week. I did that to myself. I have to take responsibility for that.

She has also revealed that the drop in size has meant that she can enjoy the small things in life. Before, Lisa said she could only wear ‘functional, mumsy bras and big knickers’. Now, she is happy to say she can enjoy ‘little sexy sets’.

To give people an idea of her eating habits, the star explained that she would previously have consumed ‘a coffee, baguette, red wine, crisps and a cake’ on a train from Manchester to London. However, she is pleased with the progress she has made: ‘Now I plan my meals and order a sparkling water, people can't believe it’.

Lisa Riley’s battle with loose skin

The iconic actress has also opened up about an unexpected side effect of her weight loss:

When I made the decision to lose weight, I never for one second imagined that I would end up looking like that. It never occurred to me that the loose skin would be so bad. I thought 'why on earth have I lost all this weight?' I looked worse than I did when I was obese.

She said it wasn’t just the way it looked, but ‘it was the pain as well’. She suffered, especially when exercising, because her skin was ‘flapping about and dragging’.

Lisa took this discomfort and turned it into a support for others: she created the documentary Lisa Riley's Baggy Body Club where she honestly shared her experience.

Lisa had 4 surgeries

Lisa explained that ‘movement was becoming a severe problem’ because it ‘really hurt, it rubbed and it would get red, and it was hard to clean between the folds’. So, she decided to get surgery to remove the excess skin. However, she was terrified:

The night before the surgery, I was so petrified everybody thought I wasn't going to go through with it. I was thinking that in 11 hours I could be dead. I might not wake up.

Lisa successfully underwent a fleur de lis tummy tuck which left her with scars, surgery to remove the loose skin from her thighs and another for her arms, as well as a boob lift.

Talking about why she chose to share her journey, she said:

I wanted to show the brutality of it. In life you can't sympathise or have empathy with anybody unless you can see it. If I can help one person, and I know I have helped thousands, then for me it has been worthwhile.

Lisa is now happy with the way she looks, and continues to inspire others by sharing her experience.

Read more:

Sharon Osbourne reveals how she really feels about her dramatic weight loss transformation

Meg Johnson: Emmerdale star leaves £375k in her will, here's who she gave it to

Susanna Reid: The GMB TV host opens up about 'very scary' incurable illness she suffers from

Sources used:

DailyRecord: Emmerdale's Lisa Riley's impressive weight loss and diet that helped shed 12 stone

Mirror: ITV Emmerdale's Lisa Riley's 'brutal' weight loss journey after giving up 50 Twix bars a week

This boy's incredible weight loss transformation is truly inspiring This boy's incredible weight loss transformation is truly inspiring