Before I had my Gastric Sleeve surgery in 2011, I asked the opinions of friends and family. What did they think of the surgery, would it help me, was it appropriate for me, could I do something so drastic, could I lose weight, could I stick to a healthy diet? I genuinely wanted to know what the people I cared about most thought about my future.

After careful research, most of them were really positive and encouraging. Some told me that I was a cheater, and that I was taking the easy way out. I didn’t listen to those negative and nasty people. If they preferred me sick or dead because of my weight than me having surgery to help myself, then there was no longer room for them in my life. You find out who your real friends are when you are going through a tough time. As hard as it is, it’s best to wipe these people from your life. A lion doesn’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep. If I had listened to those people and what they wanted, I would still be morbidly obese, horribly depressed and sick. It was the best decision I ever made to stop listening to anyone but myself. Other people aren’t living your life, your body isn’t staring back at them in the mirror, and they aren’t hearing the constant thoughts in your head.

I was 18 when I had my Gastric Sleeve and 20 when I had my breast lift / breast augment and full body lift. I wouldn’t change anything that I did. Many people were shocked that I was undergoing plastic surgery at 20. Nobody ever stopped telling me that I just needed to keep going to the gym, use creams and my excess skin and saggy boobs would fix themselves. Through my journey I ate almost NO junk food, I was doing Crossfit 6 times a week, walking, yoga and swimming too. I did absolutely everything I could, and I still had huge amounts of excess skin. At age 20, I had the saggy stomach and boobs of an elderly lady. I had no confidence, I refused to wear swimmers, shorts, anything sleeveless and I sweltered in up to 3 compression garments to keep my skin in.

I had my parents by my side and I did what I needed to do for myself. The process of losing weight, no matter how, is never easy. It requires incredible strength, determination and a massive lifestyle change. It’s hard to explain the attention you receive from family, friends, and co-workers when you change. The expectations and pressure placed on you can be incredibly hard to deal with. People get extremely personal and sometimes push the boundaries when asking about weight loss. Everyone wants to know your “secret”, what you eat, how you exercise, what your goals are etc.

The weight loss journey is one of self discovery and efficacy. For me personally, the deepest changes occurred mentally and emotionally. Being comfortable in your skin is never easy at the best of times, and undergoing such a massive external change is really difficult. When you’ve been bullied and ignored by people all your life, it’s hard to deal with attention. It’s hard for me to receive compliments, and to go from the girl who spent her life in her room to having a job, friends and a new life is a scary and wonderful transition.

The comments I get most often are about partners. Many people tell me that I’m beautiful NOW, and ask me why I don’t have a boyfriend. It took me a long time to realise that this journey is not about getting a boyfriend, having friends, or doing what others want me to do. It’s about me, it’s about saving my life, it’s about doing what I want, and being who I want to be. I wouldn’t have had the body and life that I do now if I had listened to other people. If you aren’t happy with yourself, and you can do something about it, make it happen! I gained so much confidence from this surgery and will always stand by my decision. There is absolutely no shame in plastic surgery. Never feel guilty or ashamed. Be proud that you are making yourself happy.

Jessie

Jessie lost 70 kg after having a Gastric Sleeve. Following this she had a breast lift/ augmentation and body lift. These procedures have changed her life and she has never been happier or stronger.

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