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Quality of Life After Successful Weight Loss Surgery

Five 'successful losers' tell their story about life after bariatric surgery.

Mignon P., Memphis, Tenn.: continued...

The surgery has made a big difference in controlling her appetite. "Once you eat the right amount, you're full," Mignon says. She also exercises three nights a week -- running, walking, aerobics classes -- plus does 5K walks and runs on weekends.

Mignon feels like a different person, she says. "My self-esteem has increased tremendously. I'm treated differently. People are friendlier. I get more respect. Sad to say, but people stereotype you when you're overweight."

Her new-found self-confidence prompted a career change, too. Mignon went back to school, got an MBA, and has been promoted into management. She's even teaching classes at a local college.

"Once you've made the decision to have surgery, you have to make the lifestyle changes necessary for it to be a success," she advises. "If you control food portions and exercise, you'll do fine."

TaJuan M., of Memphis, Tenn.:

TaJuan had gastric bypass surgery nine months ago, and calls it "my second birthday." TaJuan was carrying 220 pounds on her 5-foot-tall frame when she went into surgery -- and is now at 145 pounds, just 10 pounds shy of her goal. She could lose more, she says, "but I'm not going to Hollywood. I'm in the South, and we like 'em curvy."

"I love three meals a day, but my portions have dramatically changed," says TaJuan. "What I eat has changed. My taste buds have changed. I still have cravings. Oooh, I want that cheesecake. But now I know to eat things I should eat first -- and when I have to satisfy that craving, eat a bite for the taste because I'm full. The surgery helps you, you really are full."

TaJuan's key challenge: Her job involves a lot of travel, and sticking to a healthy diet can be difficult. "I can't easily mix up high-protein smoothies in my hotel room," she says. Her solution? She did some research, and found a liquid protein drink made for people with medical conditions -- then got her doctor's OK. "I wanted to make sure I was getting the nutrition I needed," she says.

Though she’s not into sports, "I do like walking," TaJuan says, "especially walking around my neighborhood. I get in about a half-hour every day. I'm walking four flights of stairs every day. I'm in better shape to do it."

People keep telling her how great she looks, she says. "They're asking my husband, 'Are you going to be able to handle this new wife you've got?'" Her reply: "I'm sticking with the man who stuck with me through thick and thin."

Peggy K., of Pittsburgh:

It's been 18 months since Peggy had gastric banding surgery -- and she's dropped from 200 to 150. Losing those 50 pounds has boosted her health in many ways. She had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. Now, "I have a lot more energy,” Peggy says. “I look better, wear smaller sizes. My cholesterol is normal. I'm not diabetic."

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