Two years and 85 pounds later: How weight loss surgery improved Sara’s life


Sara has been struggling with her weight for as long as she can remember.

She had yo-yo dieted since she was in high school, but it didn’t give her the results she dreamed of. At 26 years old, she already suffered from high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and she was worried that her health would only continue to deteriorate with time if she didn’t change her lifestyle soon.

“Being in the healthcare field, I knew my weight was affecting my health negatively, so that was my greatest motivation for looking into weight loss options,” says Sara, who is a healthcare professional in-training.

Ultimately, Sara decided that enough was enough and that it was time to make a change to her lifestyle that would impact her health for the better. She started researching different weight loss strategies before finally deciding that bariatric surgery was the right option for her.

A relative of Sara’s had also been looking into weight loss procedures at the time and when Sara told them she was doing the same, they informed her about SmartShape Weight Loss Centre, a private medical clinic with locations in Toronto, Mississauga, Calgary, Regina and Vancouver.

Sara wasn’t entirely sure about which clinic she should go to, so she booked a consultation with one of the surgeons at SmartShape to learn more about the options that were available.

“The surgeon was actually one of the deciding factors for me,” says Sara. “I liked the fact that he took the time to have a phone consultation with me, answer my questions and make sure that I was fully informed on what I was looking into.”

The surgeon explained the procedures available, and Sara decided with his support that the Gastric Sleeve was the right procedure.

The Gastric Sleeve is a minimally-invasive surgery where part of the stomach is removed, leaving a small sleeve or pouch the size of a banana. The smaller stomach size allows patients to feel satisfied with a smaller portion of good quality food. As part of the surgery, there is also a reduction in a hunger hormone, which contributes to the patient feeling less hungry.

Two years later, Sara, now 29, has lost 85 pounds and is more than happy with her decision.

“I truly believe that this surgery was the best decision I’ve ever made for my health. I am proud to say that along with following a healthy lifestyle, I have been able to reverse all of my previous health issues and come off all my medications,” says Sara.

According to SmartShape’s clinical team, surgery is only the first step in order to lose weight and keep it off long-term. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential to improving weight loss, and that includes changing eating habits and exercising regularly.

“As part of the AfterCare program, we assist patients with their nutrition,” says Margeaux Maniatis, a Registered Dietitian at SmartShape. “We provide group and 1-on-1 support to patients navigating lifestyle changes after surgery. In our interactive online education session, we discuss topics like expectations for their journey, hunger and satiety, optimal meal timing, as well as how to build enjoyable, good quality meals and snacks.”

Sara has benefitted from the 5-Year Aftercare Program offered by SmartShape, a program that allows patients to not only participate in free webinars about nutrition after surgery, but also to contact the clinical team if they have any questions or concerns for up to 5 years following their procedure.

“I liked the idea of Smart Shape’s follow-up process. There is a team to talk to about my health after surgery which is a big relief to have in our overwhelmed healthcare system,” says Sara. “The staff are extremely responsive and provide excellent advice and support.”

Sara now maintains a healthy lifestyle and is glad to have gone through such a journey. She no longer has high cholesterol, high blood pressure or prediabetes and where she was once taking two blood pressure medications, she is now taking none.

“Being two years out of surgery, I am happier with my decision than ever. Managing my weight is something I work hard on every day, being mindful of portions and food choices but ultimately the results have been invaluable for me and totally worth it.”