Daniel Hill, 32, had his light bulb moment at the funeral of a friend who had died after suffering a heart attack aged 49.

Hill, a Hastings resident, weighed 159kg at the time and his mate had been a similar size.

"I sat his funeral thinking this could be me in 10 years. I have a wife and four kids and felt like something needed to change. I had tried diets, workouts, the lot.

"The light switch went on and I decided I needed to do something about it."

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That was back in 2017. Fast forward two years and Hill is nearly half the man he used to be - he lost 73kg and now weighs 86kg.

Daniel Hill of Hastings has lost almost half his body weight with a gastric sleeve operation.

Hill's weight loss was attributed to undergoing gastric sleeve surgery, a procedure he decided to go through with after talking to people who had undergone the surgery themselves and doing a "hell of a lot of research".

"I met a mate in Hawke's Bay who had it done and he told me it cost $20,000.

"The cost scared me off and I put off the surgery. I put a price tag on my life."

Following another friend's funeral Hill decided he couldn't afford not to and he talked to John Fleischl, a doctor at Royston Hospital about what it involved.

"I decided to go through with the surgery, and Southern Cross paid $7500 towards the cost."

Pre-surgery Daniel Hill weighed 159kg. Here he poses with his wife Jasmine. Photo/ Supplied
Pre-surgery Daniel Hill weighed 159kg. Here he poses with his wife Jasmine. Photo/ Supplied

Gastric Sleeve Surgery or Sleeve Gastrectomy involves reducing the size of the stomach from a sac to a narrow tube.

About 80 per cent of the stomach is removed. It is performed laparoscopically (using minimally invasive keyhole surgery).

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Weight is lost because the person feels fuller earlier after eating, largely due to the smaller size of the stomach.

The procedure also reduces some appetite-stimulating hormones produced by the stomach.

Hill's first and second meeting with the specialists regarding gastric sleeve surgery occurred in April last year. His operation was on May 20.

"Two weeks before the operation I was told to go on an Optifast diet, which is a liquid diet where I was consuming only 400 calories a day. It was the hardest thing I have ever done."

People who undergo gastric sleeve surgeries need to go on an Optifast diet because when they are overweight they store fat in their liver, which makes the liver large and firm.

All of Daniel Hill can fit into one leg of his pre-weightloss shorts. Photo/ Warren Buckland.
All of Daniel Hill can fit into one leg of his pre-weightloss shorts. Photo/ Warren Buckland.

For the surgeon to be able to perform the surgery, the liver needs to be moved aside.

Optifast helps to shrink and soften the liver, which lessens the time of the operation and lowers post operation risks.

"It is such a mindgame going on the diet. I used to come back home starving, and I'd say hi to my wife and go and jump in the spa while she fed the kids.

"I had to go back on the Optifast diet for two weeks after the operation as well."

He said it was a little known fact but through his research into the surgery he found out the surgery resulted in marriage break-ups.

"People do it for the wrong reasons. They worry about what they look like.

"I got asked about all the excess skin after the operation.

"It's a small price to pay."

Daniel Hill poses with his daughter Chloe in his pre-surgery shorts. Photo/ Supplied.
Daniel Hill poses with his daughter Chloe in his pre-surgery shorts. Photo/ Supplied.

Hill said his wife has been his number one supporter.

"I did it because I wanted to be around for my kids and my wife and my wife understood."

Following the surgery he lost 12 and a half kilograms in the first two weeks.

"I went from a 5XL to a medium. I've changed my wardrobe four times."

Hill's goal weight at the start was 95kg, but he is currently 86kg and has maintained that for the past few months.

"I want to help people who want to find out more about what it is really like. It has it's ups and downs but it is worth it, if done for the right reasons.

"I want to tell people what Google doesn't tell you."

He has a Facebook support group called "Climbing the Hill Gastric Sleeve Support Group" and it is free for people to join.