DOWN 15KG ALREADY: After years of battling with his body, Phil Dillon is on a mission to slash his weight by a whopping 50kg.
DOWN 15KG ALREADY: After years of battling with his body, Phil Dillon is on a mission to slash his weight by a whopping 50kg. Warren Lynam

Coast man's decision to have weight loss surgery

Journalist PHIL DILLON writes about his long battle with weight and his decision to have gastric surgery

"The first day of the rest of my life.”

I CAN'T remember how many times I have told myself that down the years in my ongoing battle with weight.

But now there is no turning back. After months, if not years, of agonising over what to do about my ballooning weight, I finally took that huge step and decided to have weight loss surgery.

Myself and my wife Joy, who has been my rock over the past few years, went to a seminar run by Dr Ian Baxter, a leading weight loss surgeon, and after discussions with Joy and Dr Baxter, I plumped (if that's the right word) for a gastric sleeve.

The sleeve operation is not as complex as some might think. During surgery, which lasted for about 45 minutes, Dr Baxter removed two thirds of my stomach and stapled it shut.

When I decided to go through with surgery, I agonised for weeks about whether to keep it secret or tell the world, but I decided I needed to tell my story.

I have been a yoyo dieter for the past 30 years and I am now just a few months short of my 56th birthday.

I tried all the diets. Weight Watchers, Atkins, Beverly Hills Diet, Lite N Easy - I even tried hypnosis. Most of them worked for a short while but none were sustainable.

The epiphany for me came when I was trying on clothes for work recently and nothing would fit. I remember sitting in a shop fitting room, bawling.

That was when I said "this has to stop, I can't go on like this”.

That was the moment I started taking control and my new life started.

A pre-surgery diet of protein shakes and vegetables, which was needed to detox the liver, helped. I had already lost 10kg from when I was the biggest I have ever been - 133kg, before even going into surgery.

The aim is to lose 50kg and with the surgery 65 per cent of that is apparently lost in the first six months.

Now I have had the surgery I am eating my first "food” in about nine days. It's a cross between baby food and chunky soup and I have to puree all meals until my stapled stomach can digest "proper food”.

I am on phase three of the sleeve surgery campaign, which began on February 6.

The latest phase lasts about three weeks before I can move on to the final stage and with it the rest of my life.

My new stomach is three-quarters the size it was - about the size of a big banana.

To get it like that, Dr Ian Baxter carried out the life-changing surgery.

Through five holes in my abdomen, Dr Baxter removed part of the stomach and stapled it back together.

Looking at my healing scars now I am still amazed how any of it happened.

I had some trepidation lying on the bed waiting for the surgery, but an hour later I was in recovery, chatting up nurses.

Protein shakes and plenty of liquid was my food of "choice” for the next seven days before the progression.

Dr Baxter checked me over this week and was happy with how things are going.

Surprisingly, as a glass half empty bloke, so am I.

It's early days but so far so good on my new journey ... and I have now lost 15kg.

You can continue to follow Phil's weight loss journey in each Saturday in the Daily's Life&Style magazine.



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