I Got Healthy for My Kids

Inspired by their children, these moms and dads gave themselves major health makeovers that could just save their lives.

Sherry Gates High

"I lost more than 100 pounds"
Sherry Gates High; Edmond, Oklahoma

I was always a big girl -- in high school, I blacked out the tag on my Levi's so no one could tell what size I wore. But I was also really active. Once I started working, I kept gaining weight and was always on a diet. Before my daughter, Kaitlyn, was born, I managed to lose 80 pounds, but I gained it back plus 20 more. After I had my son, Jordan, I weighed 271 pounds -- and I'm only 5'5". I was constantly embarrassed about my weight. One of the worst times was on a business trip, when I realized that the seat belt on the plane wouldn't fit. The stewardess had to bring me a seat-belt extender.

The more weight I gained, the harder it was to be a normal, active mom. I'd gotten to the point where I'd want the kids to watch TV because that was easier than taking them outside to play. I was so big that if I got down on the floor with them, the only way I could get up was to roll over onto my hands and knees. So when one of my clients had gastric-bypass surgery, she inspired me to have it. The day of the surgery, I weighed 281 pounds. Today, I'm down to 160 pounds. I recently had an abdominoplasty in order to remove all my excess skin -- I finally have a waist!

The hardest part of recovering from obesity was dealing with the psychological aspects of overeating, and realizing why I ate so much in the first place. I make a point of talking about this all the time with my kids, now 8 and 6. I teach them about good nutrition, and my husband, Phillip, and I make sure we always have healthy food in the house. I still have some of my "fat-girl complex" -- it's hard for me to take a compliment -- but the surgery has given me new confidence.

Learn more: Consider the pros and cons of gastric-bypass surgery at the National Institutes of Health's site: win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/gastric.htm.

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