Mike Smith from Ebbw Vale, Wales, decided to change his lifestyle and undergo a £12.000 gastric sleeve procedure at a private clinic as well as ditch unhealthy food and takeaways

Mike Smith, pictured before his weightloss, shed half his body weight after having a gastric sleeve and changing his lifestyle
Mike Smith, pictured before his weightloss, shed half his body weight after having a gastric sleeve and changing his lifestyle

A dad-of-four says people no longer recognise him on the school run with his kids after shedding 15-and-a-half stone.

Mike Smith from Ebbw Vale, Wales, said he was so unfit that he would struggle to walk around the supermarket without getting out of breath.

Mike said he has now lost so much weight that some people fail to recognise him.

He told WalesOnline : “The kids now say to me ‘do we have to walk to school, Dad?’ Life has improved tenfold – everything is easier.”

The 43-year-old admitted his diet of takeaways and sweet treats saw his weight balloon to 32 stone and two pounds, leading him to suffer from terrible water retention, swelling and back pain.

Mike says people don’t recognise him after his weightloss



But after undergoing a £12,000 gastric sleeve procedure at a private clinic in Birmingham, coupled with a complete change in his exercise levels and eating habits, he has lost half his body weight.

Speaking how his life before he lost the weight, Mike said: “Movement was tough, walking was tough and exercise was tough – basically life was tough.

“I felt isolated by society. I just felt like people were watching me all the time.”

Mike decided to make a change in June 2021 and to have gastric sleeve surgery, where a portion of the stomach is stapled off.

He added: “I had to go on a pre-op diet which meant I could only eat 800 calories a day for 28 days.

“It was brutal because at the time I was so used to eating a lot of all the wrong stuff.”

“After the surgery, you’re almost back to being a baby [with food]. You start on fluids, work your way up to purées and then you introduce solids after six or seven weeks to see how your body reacts.”

Mike, who is a healthcare worker in a psychiatric hospital, said that the surgery helped him to reduce the size of meals.

He said: “The gastric sleeve is a tool for weight loss, not the solution, and over time the hunger does return and it’s easy to go back to your old habits, so you have to change your lifestyle too.

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“I started walking first – which began in the hospital straight after the operation – then I started walking a mile or so at home, and now I’m up to running 10K three to five times a week.

He said the toughest part of his weight-loss journey is finding something to eat when he went out.

He added: “If I went out for a meal I’d be like ‘what can I eat?’ This was a problem especially early on [after the operation] as I could eat very little.”

Mike, whose chest size has reduced from 72 to 44 inches, said going weekly to Slimming World has also been vital in encouraging him to eat more healthily.

He said: “Early doors I really struggled with what to eat. You get so sick and tired of protein shakes.

“But in Slimming World you get loads of support, people give you ideas about what to make, and it gives me a goal to aim towards. I don’t think I would have lost the weight I have if it wasn’t for this group.”

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