‘My weight loss secret’
Posted on 1 December 2017
Somerset-West lecturer Tracey Brown lost over 40 kgs within months, something she admits she couldn’t have achieved alone.
‘After falling pregnant over 20 years ago I gained a lot of weight – at my heaviest I tipped the scales at well over 100kgs,’ says Tracey Browne, now in her early 50s. ‘I’m fairly short, so that put my Body Mass Index (BMI) over 40.
Weight gain after pregnancy and menopause runs in my family and I couldn’t shake off the flab no matter how I hard I tried. Yet, with my husband’s support, I always felt confident and often wore a bikini in summer.
At the same time, I was struggling with my lungs, plagued by chronic asthma and bronchitis. I couldn’t do many of the things I really wanted to do – such as hiking with my husband and son.
I saw a pulmonologist to treat my asthma and he suggested that losing weight would improve my condition. He also said I would need help and support and referred me to a surgeon specialising in metabolic conditions,’ she says.
‘The day I saw Dr Etienne Swanepoel at Mediclinic Durbanville changed my life. He recommended bariatric surgery and I knew instantly it was the right solution for me.’
Just three months after the surgery, Tracey had lost a large percentage of her excess weight. Eighteen months later she had lost over 40kgs, her asthma had improved and she was a healthy weight for the first time in 16 years. ‘It was phenomenal,’ says Tracey. ‘I felt ten years younger!’
She adds that her success is not down to surgery alone. ‘The procedure gave me the push I needed to start exercising more intensively,’ she says. ‘I took up Crossfit and lost a further 6 kgs.’
‘I think as women, we often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be someone else’s idea of perfect,’ Tracey says. ‘After losing my excess weight, I started comparing myself to naturally slim women and being quite hard on myself.
Yet I would have the surgery again in a heartbeat. We’ve been able to have such fun as a family. I even finished my first Park Run, quite an achievement for someone who used to hate sports!’
If you’re considering weight-loss surgery, consider these tips from Tracey.
- You will be assessed by a team of doctors and health experts before you are permitted to have the surgery. Follow their guidance.
- Straight after the surgery, you may become malnourished for a short time because you are able to eat only tiny amounts. ‘Be patient. I lost my hair but it grew back with beautiful curls,’ says Tracey.
- You will lose your appetite but don’t despair. It will come back and you’ll be able to enjoy healthy food again.
- To succeed, you need to improve your lifestyle too. Sign up for a sport or exercise class you enjoy and just have fun.
Good to know: Mediclinic offers three Bariatric Centres of Excellence for metabolic/bariatric surgery. These can be found at:
- Mediclinic Durbanville: Tel No: 021 9752594
- Mediclinic Bloemfontein: Tel No: 051-404 6726
- Mediclinic George: Tel No: 044 873 0996