When she was younger, Haleigh York, from the Michigan town of Spring Lake, had a difficult time because of her excess weight. Indeed, such was the extent of the bullying she endured that she quit high school.
Now 23 years old, York has admitted that she had a poor diet as a child, drinking vast amounts of Mountain Dew sodas and eating far too many cheeseburgers. In a December 2016 interview with the Daily Mail she also recalled, “I put on a lot of weight through stress in high school.”
And as a result of her habits, York became very overweight. In fact, her body mass index (BMI) was more than 40, which meant that she was officially classed as being morbidly obese. As a result, then, she couldn’t even fit into plus-sized clothes.
But her size didn’t just put her health at risk, either; it also triggered many insecurities for the young woman. Indeed, her weight had some effect on her social life – she avoided theme parks, for example, because of her fear that she wouldn’t fit into the seats.
And the physical discomfort caused by York’s weight was extensive. Given her chronic back pain and pelvic floor pain, her body was clearly struggling. She also had to deal with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart palpitations.
At her heaviest, moreover, she weighed 285 pounds. And while York tried dieting, it seldom worked for good. As she would explain to Inside Edition in January 2017, she would “lose and gain and then… gain back more.”
Finally, York had a realization. It was time to make a drastic difference to her life. And the girl who couldn’t even wrap a towel fully around herself decided to undergo surgery on her stomach.
As a result, then, York had surgeons remove four-fifths of her stomach in an operation called a vertical sleeve gastrectomy. But was this going to be enough to help her lose weight?
Fortunately, it was. In fact, York lost an amazing 140 pounds after having the surgery and working up a sweat in the gym every second day. But that wasn’t the end of her story.
And that was because, although she had achieved a lot in her battle with obesity, York wasn’t totally satisfied with the results. In particular, shedding so much weight had left her with lots of unsightly excess skin on her body.
Most notably, the elasticity in York’s stomach hadn’t returned, and she felt like people could see her folds of skin through clothes that were actually made for her size. But that was before her dad, Thomas, did something amazing to help his daughter “finish the process.”
As York explained to the Daily Mail, “One day I told my dad how unhappy I was with my excess skin and how I hated that I could pull it out in front of me.” What her father did next, however, she would be forever appreciative for.
The single father wanted to help York reach her goal, having watched her “sacrifice a lot” in the process of losing the weight. So, in a kind and undeniably generous gesture, he paid for the surgery.
And, incredibly, York’s father forked out a whopping $27,000 for her to have a tummy tuck and breast surgery. This was his “Christmas gift” to his daughter.
The procedures would remove more than nine pounds of skin and sculpt her breasts into 36DDs. And, fortunately, York was delighted with the results. She would even call her dad’s act of kindness “the best gift ever.”
And consequently York’s confidence has been transformed, taking her from a girl struggling with social anxiety to one now no longer afraid to voice her opinion. Indeed, the young woman is more outgoing now that her dream of being thin has finally been fulfilled.
Meanwhile, York has noticed yet more positive changes in other aspects of her life to boot. “Male interest in me has gone up,” she was reported as saying in newspaper The Sun in December 2016. In particular, men have started to ask her out on dates more often.
To some, moreover, she is like a different person. In fact, York has even noticed that some of the staff at her college in Dublin, Ireland, didn’t recognize her at first because of the difference in her appearance.
Plus, York has since said that she felt like the world has “opened up” to her since her incredible weight loss journey. Certainly, it’s at least given her a new career option, as she’s since tried her hand at modeling.
But aside from her new-found confidence and radical change in appearance, her proud father has maintained that the surgery hasn’t changed Haleigh, “She is the same sweet, caring person,” he said to the Daily Mail, adding, “She was always beautiful.”