September 22nd, 2022

// From Diet-Related Bulimia and Binge-Eating to Living Her Dream Life: How Gastric Bypass Changed Irish Woman’s Life

From Diet-Related Bulimia and Binge-Eating to Living Her Dream Life: How Gastric Bypass Changed Irish Woman’s Life

Ava Twomey. Photo taken from personal archives 

When constant dieting triggered severe health issues, Ava Twomey, a 24-year-old social worker from Ireland, sought medical help. After going to Lithuania for a gastric bypass, she managed to lose over 60 kg of excess weight and fulfill her life dreams.

September 21, 2022. Restrictive dieting has often been linked to overeating, a binge eating disorder, depression, and anxiety. Although it helps to lose some excess weight, a person will likely regain the lost weight over time. After dieting for many years, Ms. Ava Twomey, 24, from Kildare, Ireland, felt she needed drastic measures to get her body back to a healthy state. 

Dieting posed risks to health

Ms. Ava Twomey has been a member of slimming groups from age 13 to 21. She felt like she was constantly dieting yet could not return to a healthy weight. At one point, Ms. Twomey tried a shake diet where she would consume nothing but shakes for a month, which resulted in bulimia and a binge eating disorder. Her health was deteriorating at a fast pace, but she still did not feel good about her body. 

“I was depressed, deflated, exhausted, and in constant pain. I would get blisters and sores between my thighs from walking and sweating while carrying a massive amount of excess weight,” Ms. Twomey said. 

As a social worker, she’d always been on her feet. Yet, walking a flight of stairs would make her out of breath, and she was always afraid people would not want to work with her because she was not as fit. Even in her personal life, Ms. Twomey did not feel like herself, avoiding going out with friends, or not wearing the clothes that she liked. 

“I felt so alone like no one understood how hard it was to be me. I hated looking at myself in the mirror. I hated being with my friends and around boys. I never felt confident and never loved myself. I hated everything about me,” she added. 

Ava Twomey. Photo taken from personal archives

Long wait time in Ireland prompted medical tourism to Lithuania

When she decided to get back to a healthy weight via surgery, Ms. Twomey started looking up her options in Ireland. However, she was told she would have to wait up to 10 years for surgery in Ireland, and it would cost her about 20K euro. 

“I needed a drastic change, and not in 10 years. So I did a lot of research and came up with several options of clinics in Lithuania and Turkey. However, after reading testimonies and reviews by former patients, I felt confident trusting my body with a surgeon at Nordbariatric Clinic in Lithuania,” Ms. Twomey said. 

She contacted the Nordbariatric Clinic, a leading international bariatric center in Kaunas, Lithuania, in October 2020. During the consultations, the surgeon advised her to get gastric bypass surgery. As her medical records showed that she had a hiatus hernia, it could have caused acid reflux in the future, had she gone for gastric sleeve surgery. After graduating from college, Ms. Twomey had surgery in May 2021.

Ava Twomey. Photo taken from personal archives

Lost 60 kg of excess weight

The gastric bypass surgery helped Ms. Twomey to go from around 127 kg to 63 kg, losing over 60 kg of excess weight—more than half of her body weight—in about 14 months.  

“I’m so happy and confident right now. I take pride in my appearance, and love going out with my friends and my boyfriend. I also have so much more energy, work is so much easier when you are not carrying 60 kg of excess weight,” Ms. Twomey added. “I can’t believe it sometimes when I look at the mirror, and I see the person looking back at me. Although I have some excess skin, I still love it because it reminds me of the journey I have had and think about it as my battle scars.”

After the surgery, Ms. Twomey also started prioritizing healthy, homemade food and vegetables, and she no longer feels like she needs harmful diets to feel great in her own skin.  


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