For the longest time, he was mocked and called “Oros” because of how he looked. And that’s why many were shocked when an image of the leaner-looking Collen Maine emerged on Twitter. It trended for hours. “Has comrade Collen Oros Maine started banting,” a Twitter user asked. Speaking to YOU, the former ANC Youth League president says he went under the knife for a laparoscopic biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch, a less common weight loss procedure, on 13 March at Netcare Waterfall City Hospital. “I went there because my health was deteriorating due to the heavy [body] weight,” Collen tells YOU.The procedure involves removing about 80% of the stomach, leaving a smaller tube-shaped stomach, according to Mayo Clinic.“However, the valve that releases food to the small intestine remains, along with a limited portion of the small intestine that normally connects to the stomach.”It also limits how much you can eat and reduces the absorption of nutrients, including proteins and fats, Mayo Clinic explained.Before the surgery Collen says he battled with hypertension and high cholesterol levels. “And after the operation, all those problems are gone.”Over the years, he tried numerous diets but nothing worked for him until a friend did the operation and he saw the wonderful results. Because of his busy schedule, he often ate junk food. Before the operation the former member of parliament weighed 136kg. He’s now down to 82kg.Collen is now leading a healthy lifestyle and follows a strict diet. “I stopped drinking alcohol even way before the operation, so I’ve cut that completely,” he reveals. He has also cut down on the intake of sugar and all the fatty food because it can cause complications. “I get to cheat once in a while,” he admits.Collen also hits the gym three times a week and say he’ll never go back to his old habits. He can’t stop thanking endocrinologists and chair of the South African Society for Surgery, Obesity, and Metabolism professor Tess van der Merwe, enough. “I feel healthier, lighter and I can do whatever I want to do now and I’m not getting tired as I used to and not falling asleep easily.” “The operation has really helped and that’s why I’d encourage people to try it,” he adds. The 39-year-old says he didn’t care that people called him “Oros”. “As a leader, you get called names and I didn’t do this procedure because of that, I did it because of health reasons. So I’m fine with whatever.” Collen, who recently got engaged, says he’s fully recovered and is now living his best life.