FOR Paul York, it’s the little things he notices most.
Since losing more than 35 kilograms after weight loss surgery in December, he can now bend down to put on his socks and tie his shoelaces, and he no longer sees “that look” when people realise they are sitting next to him on a plane.
But the big things have been rewarding too.
He is no longer on medication for Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, his anxiety has taken a back seat, and he finds it easier to breathe.
“Everything is easier,” he said.
The Ellalong grandfather, 56, had been a “skinny kid,” but he has been spent the past 20 years yo-yo dieting.
“I’d lose a bit of weight, then I’d put it all back on plus more,” he said. “If I lost 10 kilos, I’d put 12 back on.”
Prior to the surgery, he weighed 125.8 kilograms. His BMI was in the low 40s.
“I was morbidly obese,” the 56-year-old said.
“With the weight I was, I could’ve dropped dead any minute from a heart attack.
“Now, I feel like I’ve added a few years back on to my life.”
Mr York said he had not been able to walk more than a few hundred metres, he could not climb a set of stairs, or put the “tray down” on an aircraft prior to the surgery.
He had one knee replacement, and needs another.
Bit by bit, year by year, the weight had crept on, he said.
“How hard is it to put on two kilos in 12 months? You do that for 25 years. It doesn’t come on overnight. It took me 25 years to put on that weight.
“It sneaks up on you, and then you hit a level where it’s the point of no return.”
Mr York said he got a “big wake up call” when his body – his kidneys and liver in particular – started to “shut down.”
That was when he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
Mr York said the recent arrival of a new grandchild had given him another reason to get on top of his health.
His goal is to lose another 15 kilos.
He paid $6000 in out of pocket expenses for the gastric sleeve procedure. His private health insurance had covered the hospital stay and part of his doctor’s fees.
Mr York said there was a stigma associated with weight loss surgery. He said there were risks, as with any surgery, but he hoped he might inspire someone else. He wishes he’d done it sooner.
“People think you’re a lazy shit, that’s the bottom line, they think that you’re a lazy, fat slob,” he said. “This is a very effective way of starting your life again, and people look at you differently – it shouldn’t be that way, but that’s the way it is.”
Mr York said he had chucked out all of his old clothes – everything but his socks.
People think you’re a lazy shit, that’s the bottom line, they think that you’re a lazy, fat slob.
Nothing else fits anymore.
“Now I don’t have to go to the big man’s section,” he said.
“I can choose from a variety of clothes.”