"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.