Weight Loss Clinic

Thankyou for the opportunity to have surgery. It is like someone has replaced my brain with a new one. I have so much more head space for other things. I am not constantly fighting some craving and trying to lose weight. Liz 2011


Why surgery?

If weight loss is essential for you then surgery to achieve weight loss is your best chance of being able to shed some kilos and keep them off. Most people who have tried to lose weight using diet and exercise modification are successful with losing some weight but the majority will regain the weight they have lost within 2 years. Surgery has been proven to provide patients with excellent weight loss which lasts.

BMI calculator

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a calculation of the ratio between your weight and your height. The formula is used to determine the amount of body fat you carry and it is the best measure of obesity that we have.

18 -24.9

25 -29.9

30 -39.9

40 -49.9

Your BMI is


click here to view the surgical comparison page



"I am great - 46 Kgs down from the start of optifast and feeling wonderful." – Deborah 30/7/11

"I have lost 23kgs to date, feeling very good and looking better and better." – Karleen 29/7/11

"I had my surgery in March '11 and it was the scariest thing I've ever done. I'd never had surgery where I had anesthesia before, but the staff were really friendly and I knew I was in the hands of a good surgeon. The first stages post op were the hardest I think, I was really thirsty and was only given ice cubes and the tubes were horribly uncomfortable. The four hour trip home was difficult as sitting in rather than reclining was a bit sore.

My mum helped me with my diet at home, and my sister made me chicken broth for my first two weeks. At 4 weeks post-op I was so grateful to eat solid food I cried. Then it was all a matter of focusing of making good eating habits. I changed three meals to 6 small meals a day and one meal is soup. I think it was around 6 weeks after that I wasn't sore at all and could continue with daily life properly so I started walking everyday and going back to dancing and the weight just started to drop off.

Some info about me; I was over 100kgs before my operation and my Bust was 113cm, waist was 95.5cm and my hips were 126cm and I was a size 22 Now I'm 80kgs, my bust is 99cm, my waist is 80cm and my hips are 113cm and I am now a size 16 I'd really like to thank Stephanie for making it possible and helping me to start living a healthier life." – Bronwyn

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Random notes on some life changes:

"You have changed my life, from the moment you understood my particular situation I knew I had made the right choice.

- it hasn't been a totally easy road - the beginning was a huge struggle, but as you advised - time helps.

- Still quite limited in the amount I can eat at any one time - a couple of tablespoons is a comfortable limit, anymore and I feel awful and suddenly produce huge amounts of saliva, like loads. Was sick a couple of times - but rarely now.

- So I have to really work at getting the protein in, at the moment I have been taking small amounts of protein at night every 40 mins - to get up to my daily intake.

- Started a new job in Auckland - so have been staying with Jane (mum) and she has been amazing, preparing perfect mini meals.

- Wine has not been an option at all - but managed 30mls last night and it didn't feel uncomfortable.

- Experienced a milestone this week by fitting into my favourite jeans I bought in barcelona in 2006.

But still don't fit into all of my old clothes, got about 5 more kg to go for that.

- The only fizzy drink I have managed is Diet Ginger Beer (3 330ml bottles in the last 4 months).

- Cheese is a rare occurrance, average 3 very thin slices on 3 water crackers - once a month.

- If I am eating and take a sip of water - that's it - can't eat from then.

- bowels are good, big movement every three days - water makes a big difference.

- oh and alcohol wise, small amounts of hot sake is fine - odd eh. – Hannah

Things are going great. Have lost 20kg!

I cant believe how good I feel and it is fantastic to hear comments from people who notice." – Gina

"I am doing really well. Once I got over the physical pain and recovery – about 4 weeks I have gone from strength to strength.

My weight is good at 68kg and am now working on not losing any more. I have some small pockets of loose skin but understand that skin can take a while to recover from rapid change. Given my age and previous yo yo of weight gain and loss, I am accepting of that as part of the result.

My hair is thinning lots and a big handful falls out every day. While I don’t like this I understand it to be ‘normal’. I have protein shake every morning for breakfast to try and get the correct levels of protein to stop this from happening.

I am well used to what I can and can’t eat and don’t find it difficult to incorporate into a busy world of Mum and business woman. I have learnt through 2 painful experiences of terrible stomach cramps from not eating regularly to keep snacks such as nuts and small pots of yogurt handy.

Thank you for the opportunity to have the surgery. I would do it all over again. It is like someone replaced by brain with a new one . I have so much more head space for other things because I am not constantly either fighting some craving because I am in a phase of eating healthy and trying to lose weight or giving in to all the cravings and eating everything in sight.

I am probably normal now! A nice place to be.

I have found the complementary model of the inclusion of the psychologist and nutritionist to be very helpful and a holistic approach to the issue the surgery is designed to address.

All is going really well. All back to normal, but still adjusting to the eating.

Have lost a total of 27kg since we started this journey, so thrilled, getting a great response from everyone." – Liz

Frequently Asked Questions...

Eating after Bariatric Surgery

The main thing to remember is that you have a new stomach. Your stomach will take time to get used to dealing with food, fluid and gas, so take it slowly and expect things to feel different. Ultimately, when everything has settled, you should be able to eat a regular, balanced diet but this will take time. Be patient and enjoy the new control that you have over your eating!

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Do’s and Don’ts

Never eat beyond fullness. You need to be aware of what your new full feeling is like and stop eating as soon as you experience it.

Always take teaspoon-sized mouthfuls

Chew your mouthfuls thoroughly

Try to eat in a relaxed environment ie sitting at the table. This allows you to concentrate on eating rather than other things. Distractions, such as eating on the run or in front of the television allow you to fall back into old unhealthy eating habits without you even realising it!

* Healthy food choices are the key to sustained and permanent weight loss

*Allow yourself treats occasionally – being able to maintain a balanced diet long term is only going to be possible if you are not relying on self discipline too much. Don’t deprive yourself of things you really like because you will end up wanting them even more. Rather have them as your occasional treat – and enjoy it!

*Avoid constipation. - you are more prone to it following your operation. If you do not have a bowel motion for 2 consecutive days, get some laxatives eg Lactulose/Mucilax/Kiwi Crush from your Supermarket or Chemist. Consider taking them regularly.

* Maintain an adequate intake of water. One to 1½ litres of water per day is essential. This allows you to be adequately rehydrated, especially as your usual source of liquid has been dramatically reduced ie food. It allows your kidneys to remain healthy and also prevents constipation.

*Eat enough protein in your diet. Protein in your diet makes up the building blocks of protein in your body (ie muscle, hair and nails) and maintaining adequate levels in your diet is essential to maintain your general health and fitness. Your Nutritionist will help you with specific types and amounts of protein to integrate into your everyday intake.

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Will I need to take Multi-vitamins?

Taking a multivitamin in the usual doses is recommended. Whilst there is no alteration in your ability to absorb the food you eat following your weight loss surgery, you will be eating a lot less volume of food. Getting the exact quantities of the vitamins and minerals that you require is not as easy and a daily multivitamin takes the stress out of worrying about it.

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Exercise is the key to maintaining all of the hard-earned weightloss that you achieve. Start regular exercise or join a gym after your operation so that you can maximise the successful outcome from your surgery.

You can start light exercise eg walking after one week.

You should wait for 3 weeks before you get back to strenuous exercise eg gym work, swimming, cycling, jogging.

The bottom line is - you cannot do any damage to the operation with exercise. It will energise you and help you become the healthier person that you are wanting to be!

Make sure you increase your fluid intake during exercise – this is very important!

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Return to Work

It is very difficult to predict how long you will need off work following Bariatric Surgery. It depends on you and the nature of your work.

The usual advice is to take a minimum of 1 weeks leave, knowing there is a chance that you may need to take longer. At the other extreme, it would be very unlikely to need more than 3 weeks off following an uncomplicated operation. The final decision is yours.

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Travelling following surgery

This is also up to the individual. Some things to consider… you have had a General Anaesthetic and most people will feel more tired than usual for a week or two following.

Travelling is tiring and puts you out of your usual environment. You will be adapting to a lot of new things following your surgery including how to eat and drink. Your diet will also be very modified to start off with. This will not be easy to comply with if you are eating on the run or in unpredictable places.

You are at slightly increased risk of blood clots for a couple of weeks following surgery, especially if you are undertaking long distance travel.

You have increased fluid requirements and MUST keep drinking 1-1.5L/day. This requirement will be increased if you are travelling in a very hot environment.

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What happens if something goes wrong?

Please contact Stephanie if you have any worries – big or small - in the post-operative period. She can be contacted either by phone or email. Remember – if she is on leave/holiday, she may be uncontactable by phone. You can check by calling BetterLife Surgery 09 623 8528 during daytime hours.

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What about taking my usual medication?

Your medication requirements will change as you lose weight – especially if you are being treated for Hypertension, Diabetes, Hypercholesterolemia etc. Please keep in close contact with your GP for monitoring and modifying your medication requirements as your weight loss continues. Plan to see your GP within the first month after surgery and then 3 monthly after that, or at your GPs advice. Remember, if your Family doctor has any questions, they can call me directly.

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Can I Drink Alcohol?

Alcohol, generally speaking, has a high number of calories, so keep your intake to a minimum most of the time.

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What about eating out?

Restaurants do not cater for people who have had Bariatric Surgery - it would probably put them out of business! Eating off the entrée list or sharing a main course with someone who knows your situation may be the best way to go. Or, if you order a main dish, ask your waiter to serve you half of the meal and pack the rest to take home for another day. It certainly makes eating out easier on the wallet as well!

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For the ladies… What about Pregnancy following Surgery?

Evidence around pregnancy following Weight Loss Surgery is scanty. What we do know… Women of childbearing age who have irregular periods or no periods prior to Bariatric Surgery are likely to start regular menstruation as you lose weight. As a result of this, your fertility will also be increased. In a perfectly planned world, it would be ideal to have a healthy, balanced, stable diet before becoming pregnant. If you intend to become pregnant then starting a prenatal vitamin should be considered (including 400micrograms folate/day) around the time of your operation. If you don’t intend to become pregnant, then you need to have a contraceptive plan which can be instituted after your surgery.

As to the risks to the baby following bariatric surgery – there is no evidence to say that babies are at increased risk, however, more careful dietary planning and monitoring of essential vitamins and minerals during pregnancy is advised. The method of childbirth that you choose is also not affected by your previous surgery.

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The Journey

There is no doubt about it, making the choice to have surgery to achieve significant & premature weight loss is a major decision! Be reassured that nobody makes the decision lightly or finds it an easy process. Wherever you are at down the road to making a final decision, at The Womens Clinic we have people you can talk to in order to make the road a little straighter.

There are many things to consider when contemplating weight loss surgery. Do I qualify for surgery? Will I be successful? Can I afford the operation? How risky is the surgery? Why can’t I just try harder to lose weight without an operation?

All of these questions will be asked at some point during the journey to weight loss surgery and it is important that you have clarity by the time you reach a final decision. Everyone you ask will have a different opinion but the most important thing is that you come to conclusions in your own mind. It is important to talk with loved ones, your family doctor, people who have had weight loss surgery and ultimately, a professional who is experienced in the field.

That is where we at The Womens Clinic come into it. We have the facts at our fingertips and are able to provide information that will help in the decision-making process. Even if you haven’t made a final decision, it is important to talk to a Weight Loss Surgeon. Choose wisely, ask many questions and voice your reservations.

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The decision is made….

Once you are certain that weight loss surgery is for you, it is essential to have the operation that is going to best suit your physical and lifestyle needs. Advice on type of surgery is essential and is best gained from a non-biased source. The internet is full of information that is useful to an extent. Beware of the website that strongly advocates for one operation over the others. There is usually a reason for that, and that reason is not necessarily in your best interests.

At The Womens Clinic, the process of deciding between Gastric Band, Gastric Sleeve & Gastric Bypass is undertaken by taking many things into consideration. The main factor is you…What is your BMI? What other medical problems do you have? Have you had previous surgery? What lifestyle factors are most important to you and how will surgery impact on these eg. travel, physical activity etc? These factors Need to be weighed up during the initial consultation so that we can identify the operation that best suits you!

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A date for surgery has been chosen, the countdown is on to realising your new life!

It is hard to imagine a life where constantly worrying about what you are eating or shouldn’t be eating is practically taken away from you. There is one last hoop to jump through...the Optifast Diet. This is essential to maximise the safety of the operation. It starts two or three weeks prior to the operation date and is designed to eliminate fatty deposits within the liver. This shrinks the liver and makes technical aspects of the surgery easier. So, in the long run it is worth doing and worth doing well. After all, it is the last time you will need to face a formal diet!

You will see the Nutritionist prior to your operation. This is a great opportunity to lay out your current dietary details – the good bits, the hangups and the things you know have contributed to the current struggle you are having with your weight. The nutritionist will give you information regarding eating & drinking after the operation. She also has recipes and advice regarding setting up strategies for healthy eating following surgery. Let’s face it, this is a whole new world for you and getting it right from the start is essential. Once again, ask lots of questions and take along your support crew that will be with you following your operation. The nutritionist is a font of knowledge and is dedicated to working with you to get you healthy and happy in your new life.

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The Day of the Operation

It is essential that you are as relaxed as possible on the chosen day of your surgery. Ask as many questions as you need to ensure that you feel in control of what you are about to go through. Knowledge and understanding of foreign situations helps to decrease the stress levels and your body’s response to stress and this is important. Don’t rush and have contingencies in place should the unexpected happen. After all, this is the first day of the rest of your life!

After the operation, every effort will be made to keep you as comfortable as possible. This means that you should be feeling capable of getting up to the toilet without too much trouble. Other symptoms that you may experience in the first 24-48 hours such as nausea can be managed with medications to get you through the early post-operative period. Remember, you are surrounded by healthcare professionals who are experienced with this situation and are keen that this period is as easy & straight forward as possible. So, please speak up if something is bothering you!

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For further information or advice: Contact The Womens Clinic on P: 524 8887, 0800 WOMENS or E: reception@womensclinic.co.nz