In Vincent’s words …

What is a Support Person?

You are a part of the struggle and share the difficulties with those that suffer.

To some people, having bariatric surgery and losing weight seems easy. Having the weight melt away, with only 10% of your original stomach left. Others know the struggle; the constant everyday decisions that impact on weight gain, the emotional consideration of diet, simple tasks like purchasing products not knowing if you can eat it without guilt.

These are the issues that my mother, Maria, is facing. The persistent challenge of daily eating; having a sustainable, healthy diet in this fattened and sugared product lifestyle within our society today.

Through this challenge to live a better life, there are a few things I ask of you.

Be honest, with yourself and your close ones. For people that love you, be honest with them and let them help you. Take them shopping, fight with them, cry with them. Secret binge eating like my Mum used to do can only be overcome by honesty.

  1. The first thing to consider, as a Support person for someone going into this surgery, is a fear of death and the complications. This was spoken of a lot by medical professionals beforehand. Post-surgery patients can also experience eating difficulty, nausea and vomiting, nutritional deficiencies, hair loss and stomach acid leakage.
  2. The second is altering your lifestyle. To both join the gym and GO to it. Removing all the un-beneficial food from your house. Constantly framing your mind for healthy eating and shopping. Reducing portions and not eating that second, third, fourth plate. Swapping a plate or two of ice cream for a slice of fruit. Habituating exercise. Become unwavering – plan exercise goals and achieve them.
  3. The third is to brace for the repercussions after surgery. The pain, the loss, the stress. You can’t drink more the three tablespoons of water. Two pieces of bread will fill you up. Get out of the bed and move a day after. You have one year to lose the weight and let your body acclimatise. It is just a tool and you have to use it effectively.
  4. Fight to ignore society with their shaming and love yourself. Your worst critic is yourself. Don’t beat yourself up about eating four cream buns or that whole tub of chocolate ice cream. Get angry, alter your plan and take yourself out for a short run to make up for it. Its a daily struggle and you’ll face it everyday.

Every day is a new day.

Words of Advice? There isn’t much I can say. There are so many books, website, recipes, techniques, habits, life hacks and ideas out there that can help you.

What I would say is Live. Live your life. Find happiness in a slice of apple. Saviour the taste. Life is meant to be enjoyed, just enjoy it with more thought of your future and how many days you can enjoy that slice of apple.

To be honest, after reading this, if anyone still regards this surgery as a walk in the park then I prompt them to watch the Big Ward, see the struggle of these 6 amazing, beautiful people and to walk a day in their shoes. You all are astonishing for taking on this challenge.

On behalf of New Zealand, I support you all and those like you in our society. It is not an easy feat and thank you for showing us your lives and the struggle you have had.


Vincent Evans-Welsh, Maria’s Son and your Support in your Struggle.


Episode 3

Agoraphobic Josephine ventures outside to exercise and take a vegetable voyage of discovery. Maria is struggling to kick arthritis and her old habits, as she makes a last push to smash her weight loss goals. If you missed out on seeing this episode you can catch up on TVNZ OnDemand.

To learn more about Osteoarthritis (English/ Tongan/ Samoan) download a brochure here

Exercises to keep you moving download a booklet

Super-healthy recipes click here and there’s more ideas here

Tell me about the food groups click here

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More from Nat …

Well, in the second episode we caught up with our girl Josephine.

What an inspiration. All of us could learn a lot from Josephine. She is facing a long road ahead of her – not only dealing with the food addiction, but also dealing with social anxiety issues as well. But she is a fighter and it will be interesting to see how she goes.

We also caught up with how Maria is going. She is doing so well man. With the help of her son I’m sure she is on the right path. I was so relieved that she didn’t take a step back and go get her ice cream. As he said he was so proud of her.

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We also saw my surgery and how that went down. Yip everyone got the answer they were looking for – YES i have had my surgery and it was life changing. I noticed the difference straight away. When I woke up, I was in so much pain they wouldn’t let me see anyone for the first day it was just so painful. Then my brother Mili showed up with my first meal lol. Being honest, I couldn’t finish it, but it was step 1 along the long road that we have been facing.

No more steak sandwiches for me for a while lol.

Nathanial How


Episode 2

Josephine, who’s been best friends with food since childhood, has her last super-sized breakfast. Vincent makes Maria eat her greens and Nat leaves hospital a little lighter on his feet. If you missed out on seeing this episode you can catch up on TVNZ OnDemand.

KFC Sandwich

Type 2 Diabetes – are you at risk? click here

FAB (Fight Against the Bulge) Campaign Ambassadors goals click here

Living with Type 2 Diabetes click here

Download a practical guide to Healthy Eating & Active Living

In Nat’s words …

Well with the first episode done and dusted, I found myself even wondering how everything turns out lol.

As it said in the doco, I had to lose some weight before i was considered for the surgery.

My doctor gave me a big piece of advice, which was before I have a meal have a huge glass of water before I ate anything that way the water filled my stomach and that way it would force me to eat less. I used that to help cut down my intake of food and still use it.

What also helped me to keep the weight off was my walking around the block every day. When you see me on the doco, you see me with my heavy work gear on walking around the block. What it does not explain is I just finished working a 13 to 15 hour shift and i would walk for around about an hour at a pretty fast pace.

With all my work gear on that’s about another 20 kgs I’m carrying on top of what I already have on, so its not like I was taking it lightly (no pun intended).

However, it’s having good motivation to do what you have to do, to keep you going. It does get hard, but as long as you have a goal then it gets that little bit easier.

For me it was not letting people down, including my friends and family. I was lucky I had my best mate Mili with me. He had the same surgery a year before and he told me what to expect, so I kept all the people that were pushing me along always on my mind.

Not to mention that my wife said if I don’t get the surgery then I wasn’t allowed to buy anymore transformers and I’m never one to back down from a challenge lol.

Nathanial How


Episode 1

Maria, who has been addicted to sugar since the birth of her son, will need to change everything about the way she lives. Truck Driver, Nat, who’s waited two years to make the list, is going to need his mate Mili to keep him on the straight and narrow. If you missed out on seeing this episode you can catch up on TVNZ OnDemand.

What is obesity?

Calculate your BMI

For tips on managing your weight click here

To find out more about dieticians and nutrition click here

Struggling with ‘head hunger’? click here and here