She underwent a gastric sleeve procedure, known as a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, back in 2015.
If you've caught any recent photos of June Shannon (a.k.a. Mama June), you know that the Here Comes Honey Boo Boo star is looking pretty slim these days.
In fact, June's daughters, Alana (a.k.a. Honey Boo Boo) and Lauryn (a.k.a. Pumpkin) Thompson recently told Entertainment Tonight that their mom went from 460 pounds to a size four over the past few years.
So how exactly did Mama June lose so much weight? Alana and Lauryn told ET that their mom underwent a gastric sleeve procedure, known as a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, back in 2015 after hitting weight-loss plateau.
Gastric sleeve is a pretty common bariatric surgery, making up about 50 to 60 percent of all weight-loss surgeries, says Peter LePort, M.D., bariatric surgeon and medical director of MemorialCare Center for Obesity at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Califorina.
The operation itself removes about 80 percent of a person’s stomach and fashions what’s left into what looks like a sleeve, LePort says.
"It works by reducing the volume of food that can be held in the stomach," he says.
The surgery also removes significant portions of the stomach that have hormones that promote hunger, including ghrelin, says Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., an instructor of medicine and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital.
"With the removal, the brain communicates with the stomach differently," she says.
People feel differently about hunger—they’re not as hungry and may feel full quicker, which often leads to a significant weight loss, Stanford says.
Not everyone who wants to lose weight will qualify for the surgery, though. While insurance companies may have their own requirements for coverage, Stanford says that the medical community wants a person to have a BMI of at least 35, in addition to diabetes, hypertension, or sleep apnea, to qualify.
People also have to show that they’ve failed other attempts at weight loss, and need to undergo psychological evaluation to show that this is a good weight-loss strategy for them, Stanford says.
Once a person has the surgery, they’ll typically lose between 60 and 80 percent of their excess weight, LePort says.
Meaning, if they are 100 pounds overweight, they’re expected to lose between 60 and 80 pounds after the surgery and keep it off for at least six years.
Besides weight loss, the surgery also has been shown to improve diabetes and hypertension, LePort says.
Lauryn and Alana also told ET that their mom recruited the help of a trainer to keep up her weight loss after she plateaued post-weight loss surgery.
And now, after a breast augmentation and excess skin removal, they say Mama June is down to a size four.
Stanford says it’s important for people to know that gastric sleeve surgery is not an easy way out. "If I recommend something like weight-loss surgery, patients often feel as though they failed," she says.
"This is just another tool that some people need to achieve a healthy weight."
In a trailer for her new show, Mama June: From Not to Hot, which premieres on WeTV at 10 p.m.. EST on Friday, February 24th, Mama June says she was motivated to shed pounds after her ex-husband (who cheated on her) announced his recent engagment.
"I’m changing my body and my life," she says, as B-roll shows her lifting weights and working out with a trainer.
Cameras follow Mama June as she undergoes weight loss surgery, too. "There is a skinnier person inside of me," she says.
"When I’m done, I’m not even going to recognize my own self in the mirror," she says. "Y’all better get ready."