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Peggy K., of Pittsburgh: continued...

Working out with a personal trainer three times a week "really helps to maintain the weight loss," Peggy says. "If I wasn't exercising I would have regained the weight." She says it’s helped firm up loose skin, too. "My skin's kind of bounced back, probably from the exercise."

What if she regains all the weight? "I would never let that happen," says Peggy. "If the weight started creeping up, I would cut out the snacks. I know I could lose another 20 pounds if I tried."

Beverly P., Pittsburgh:

Since her gastric bypass surgery five years ago, Beverly has dropped from 334 to 138 -- nearly 200 pounds. "I spent my whole life being obese," she says. "I went back and forth trying different diets. It was a constant battle."

Beverly's key challenge: "I was miserable the first couple of months after surgery," she says. "I had to adapt to eating the small portions. My body was getting used to being rerouted. I felt lousy, tired. I was really getting used to how my body was working. But looking back, it all resolved itself. It was not a big deal -- especially considering how good I feel now."

Today, she says, "I feel perfectly healthy. I don't miss the food. If there's something I'm craving, if I have a little bit of it, I'm fine. That's the truth. I don't think you should deprive yourself of anything, but portion size is a huge factor."

Exercise was "such a chore" before weight loss surgery. "Now I purposefully do things on a daily basis I didn't do before," Beverly says. "I walk instead of taking the shuttle to where I work."

She's taken her weight loss seriously and made the commitment, says Beverly. "The surgery is definitely not the whole saving grace. There still is a lot of work afterwards. I have to pay attention to what I eat, otherwise I will gain weight."

Good food is still part of her life, she adds. "People have the misconception that you can never eat good things again if you have this surgery. You can eat them -- and might enjoy them more because you're not inhaling them."

And that may be one of the keys to successful weight loss surgery: Enjoying the changes that come after -- and being an integral part of them.

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