29-year-old Leana has struggled with her weight since she was a teenager.
At a young age, Leana discovered that she had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a condition caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones that creates problems within the ovaries. Symptoms of PCOS include weight gain and difficulty losing weight, among others.
Leana had experienced these symptoms for years and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t lose weight and keep it off long-term.
“I would try to diet, and I was always quite active so I did exercise every day, but I just didn’t see any results,” says Leana. “And it was just frustrating because no matter what I did, I was just gaining weight.”
Finally, Leana decided that she wanted to change her lifestyle. She believed that if she didn’t find a way to make this change, her health would be at risk.
She started researching weight loss surgery, an option she had come across when reading about how other PCOS patients maintained a healthy weight.
SmartShape Weight Loss Centre was a local clinic that kept coming up in Leana’s search, so she decided to book a phone consultation with one of the surgeons to learn more about her options.
“[The surgeon] was very open and patient and, even though surgery was never a sure thing for me, he set time aside to speak to me,” says Leana. “And that was actually something that really stuck out in my mind because I thought, wow, this surgeon is actually taking the time – between surgeries – to talk to me.”
Ultimately, Leana, together with the advice of the SmartShape surgeon, decided that the Gastric Sleeve procedure was the right one for her, and booked her surgery for a month later.
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 smaller portions 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 after surgery, Leana has lost over 100 pounds and is glad that she made this decision.
“I don’t even think I can put into words how much my life has changed,” says Leana. “I feel healthy now and I’ve reduced the medication that I was on prior to surgery, significantly.”
Along with having weight loss surgery, communicating with the SmartShape team to help establish a healthy lifestyle is crucial to losing weight and keeping the weight off long-term, says Margeaux Maniatis, a member of the Dietitian team at SmartShape.
“As part of the Aftercare program, we provide support for patients as they navigate their new lifestyle following the procedure,” says Maniatis. “Through group and 1-on-1 support in the form of interactive online education sessions, phone and in-person counseling sessions, we discuss a variety of topics including hunger and satiety, optimal meal timing, as well as how to build enjoyable, good quality meals and snacks.”
SmartShape’s Aftercare program allows patients to contact the clinical team (made up of surgeons, nurses and dietitians) with any questions they have, up to 5 years after surgery.
“I was able to contact the nurses and dietitians if I had questions, which really put me at ease because my family doctor isn’t as familiar with the procedure I had,” says Leana. “If I felt like I was falling off track, it was nice to be able to contact them and get some advice on what I could do to get back on track again.”
Leana is proud to maintain a healthy lifestyle now, and she feels more confident and outgoing since having her surgery. She can speak in front of a group of people at work without feeling insecure and she’s now comfortable trying on clothes at the mall. Her whole life has changed, not only because of this weight loss tool that she’s found, but because of her efforts to keep the weight off.
“People think it’s just about not eating as much food as you did before,” says Leana. ”But there’s a lot of work you have to put into it and a lot of dedication. I think that if you’re ready and you do put in the work, it can make a world of a difference.”