Cecilia Deetlefs before her weight journey
Cecilia Deetlefs is not afraid to stop overweight people in the street and tell them: “I was there a year ago.”

She tells them how after weighing 125kg, she shed 56kg after a pre-operation diet and a gastric bypass.

Deetlefs, 54, said yesterday: “Not everyone knows about this operation, so I am happy to share my experience.”

Her husband, Marthinus, 58, underwent the same laparoscopic gastric bypass procedure at a Durban hospital and has gone from 166kg to 104kg.

Both had the operation for health reasons and no longer have to take blood pressure medication.

Cecilia Deetlefs after her weight journey

“My husband had suffered sleep apnoea. He also snored. Now he sleeps through the night and has stopped snoring,” Deetlefs said.

“And he doesn’t need a knee replacement any more. We are so motivated to eat the correct food now,” she said.

The couple underwent a vertical banded gastroplasty procedure 33 years ago where the size of their stomachs was restricted with staples and synthetic mesh.

Over the years, both started to gain weight again. And the synthetic mesh caused scarring to Deetlefs's stomach, which led to complications.

“In the three months before my gastric bypass surgery, I felt extremely sick,” she said.

Her doctor referred her to a specialist in complex digestive laparoscopic procedures at a bariatric surgery centre at the hospital, who found that the scarring and fibrosis from her operation 30 years ago had caused stricture of her stomach. He recommended the gastric bypass operation.