New Beginnings: Gastric Sleeve Surgery, a Personal Journey

In this series of case studies, we explore first-hand the experiences of individuals who’ve undergone weight loss surgery. Everyone’s reasons, reactions, and path to recovery are vastly different. Through each case study, we aim to bring multiple stories and pathways to light to inform others who are on a journey to better health. These stories are from real people who have had weight loss surgery. Actual results after surgery will be different for each person.

Remember, the views and opinions expressed in these stories are those of the individuals alone and should not be taken as medical advice. The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not medical advice. Always talk to your doctor before you make decisions about your health.

This is Ana’s* individual journey of gastric sleeve surgery and how it has significantly transformed her lifestyle.

*Name changed to protect identity.

The journey

I’ve basically lived a lifetime of self-loathing, starting from a very early age. In hindsight, I can see that I was actually very slim, but I didn’t realise it at the time, as I felt a lot of pressure in my world to be skinny. 

I come from a family where I was one of five children. Two of my siblings were really little, and all the focus was on them. I think that impacted me, making me believe that skinniness brings you more love because they were the ones that got all the attention. That misconception snowballed during my adult life.

Later I became the typical yo-yo dieter. I’ve done every diet multiple times, and I would constantly regain more weight than I lost. 

By the time I made my decision, I’d gotten the biggest I had ever been. It was during the 2022-2023 holiday season. I saw my reflection in a window and that was it. I couldn’t keep living that way. I wanted to live the second part of my life completely differently.

The Decision: Choosing Gastric Sleeve Surgery for Life Change

I knew people who had Bariatric surgery and was jealous of their results. At the time, I thought I was never going to be able to afford the surgery. I was a single mom for eight years, and that seemed out of reach.

Later, I started thinking more about it. During that Christmas, I was like, you know what, I worked hard my whole life, built a good career, and paid my mortgage. I could actually do it! I decided it was finally time to do something for myself.

I chose the sleeve surgery because everyone who was successful had that specific surgery. I got a referral from my GP and did my research. 

When I met my surgeon,  I knew I was in the best hands. His holistic approach made me feel confident, as  I knew exactly what to do before and after the operation. 

When they took me in for surgery, I was really excited! They couldn’t believe it—they thought I was going to be nervous, but I couldn’t wait.

Weight Loss Results

My surgery was on May 22, 2023. On the first day of my pre-op diet, I weighed 89.5 kg, and as of May 20, 2024, I now weigh 53.5 kg, having lost a total of 36 kg. 

I’ve not had any major plateaus, and I haven’t had any major weight  increases at any point for a long time. It was very consistent, and my energy levels have improved significantly.

I really am doing all the things they’re asking me to do, and they’re actually not hard to do. If it were a diet, it would be the easiest one I’ve ever done.

I can say I am the healthiest I’ve ever been, for which I am immensely grateful. I’ve become naturally conscious of looking after myself, ensuring I fuel myself with nutritious foods first, while still enjoying all foods and sweet treats.

Gastric Sleeve Post-Op Experience

The only thing that I laugh about now is when I first opened my eyes after the surgery, I thought, “What have I done?” The pain was excruciating. But I can guarantee that everything my surgeon told me was spot on. I had just come out of major surgery—it wasn’t going to be easy. But after having my surgery on Tuesday, I was home on Thursday. I did not need to take anything more than paracetamol. The pain was gone.

People sometimes say they’ve thrown up, or that they’ve spent a lot of time on the toilet. I have had none of these issues. 

I don’t feel any different in my stomach. There’s no pain or discomfort. The only time you may feel that there’s a change in your stomach is if you try to overeat. Occasionally, I’ve maybe taken two or three bites too much, and that’s happened by accident. And I’ve gone, “Whoa, I feel full,” and it’s uncomfortable, but it dissipates within about 30 minutes.

Relationship with Food

I love the fact that I can enjoy food and be so satisfied with such a small amount. It is so liberating. I will eat whatever I like. I will pick what I feel like. But the truth is, I don’t actually feel like a lot of the things I felt like before. For example, I used to drink a can of Zero Coke every day. Now I don’t actually feel like that. I don’t want it anymore. 

Impact on personal life

The surgery was the best decision I’ve made in my life.

The main thing that I am grateful for is that it almost feels like the surgery was done on my mind as well. My mindset just synced with the physical change.

I made a pact that the second part of my life was not going to be like the first part of my life, and I’ve had the best year so far. 

I love how I feel, and I can actually look at myself now. I don’t feel sluggish. I’ve got all this energy. I actually can’t sit for too long. I constantly want to be doing something. I enjoy the outdoors so much more. I do not hibernate. That’s the last thing I want to do.

For the first time in my life, I can say I love myself.

A piece of advice

My advice to others in a similar situation would be: don’t hesitate. If it’s life-changing for the better, do not hesitate. Don’t be afraid. Just do your research with your surgeon and make sure that the approach is holistic and that you have all your questions answered before and after surgery. You need to know exactly what to do afterwards, especially in those first six weeks when you’re in the liquid stage, the purée stage, and the soft food stage.

Don’t just go with anybody. Make sure that you get the support from the dietitians and the other health professionals that are needed for this whole process,  which is more than just the surgery.

Gastric sleeve surgery 

At Winnett Specialist Group we specialise in weight loss surgeries, including gastric sleeve. If you would like to know more about it, you can get in touch with our team by calling 03 9417 1555 or contacting us online.