Alana

I had yo-yoed with my weight my entire life. I'd lose 50 pounds then gain it back. At 35, I got down to 150 pounds and was running and staying active. Then, I married my husband, T.J., who is an amazing cook. He likes using butter and loves sweets. My weight started ballooning up.

A long-time friend's gastric bypass surgery was my first motivation to change. I was amazed at how well she did and how healthy she looked. I started reading about the surgery.

I work in a department store with all these cute clothes. I knew how it felt to wear regular sizes. I wanted to be there again.

On top of that, in my work, I sometimes walk eight miles a day. I'm up and down stairs, on my feet constantly. My knees were killing me. I also had sleep apnea, which made me tired all the time. I was borderline for diabetes.

In 2010, I changed my life with gastric bypass surgery. I'm happy. I'm healthy. I'm the most comfortable I've ever felt in my body. I can put on a dress that I never thought in a million years I could wear.

I saw gastric bypass surgery as something that could stop the weight yo-yo. And I was motivated it would be a permanent solution.

I went to Vanderbilt's surgical weight loss seminar and was very impressed. I talked to my friend who had the surgery. I was so excited that, wow, this could really be what's going to change my life for a lifetime, not just a year or two.

There were some naysayers who told me that it was dangerous. But I didn't listen to them. I thought, "Well, I disagree with you, and this is what I'm going to do.

After reading about the different surgeries, I realized that Roux-en-Y was the best surgery for the outcome I wanted, which was to lose 100 pounds. It was a minimally invasive surgery with only five little, tiny scars. My doctor did a great job.

The nutritionist was very helpful before and after surgery. I take a lot of vitamins since the surgery, and she explains when to take them and how they work.

I also talked with a psychologist, but I was already in the right mindset.

This surgery is not a magical fix. You have to put some work into it.

I love food and a glass of wine. I have a love affair with Jujubes. After surgery, the hardest thing was learning how to eat correctly. I spent so much time educating myself and reading labels in the grocery store. It was time-consuming and difficult, but so worth it.

I limit my calories. Thank goodness I have friends and co-workers who give me just one bite of their dessert. And I'm happy with that.

I don't want to just be thin; I want to be healthy. Wearing a size 6 or 8 is wonderful, but I run around with my 2-year-old grandbaby. I wouldn't be able to do that with that extra 100 pounds on me.

My knees are so much better, my sleep apnea is gone and I haven't gotten diabetes.

I tell everybody who asks about it. This has to be a personal choice for the right reasons. You're working your way toward healthy. Being healthy is the best thing we can do for ourselves.