CARY, N.C. — Nearly five months ago, a Cary woman turned to gastric bypass surgery to lose 200 pounds.
Jennifer Carlquist is only 26 years old, but at times, she say the weight she carried around made her feel like she was 80.
Before her surgery on Nov. 3, Carlquist weighed 385 pounds.
"Weight has been an issue as far back as I can remember," she said.
Diets did not work. Carlquist knew the weight would kill her if she did not do something. She chose surgery.
Four and half months after gastric bypass, or bariatric surgery, Carlquist has lost 109 pounds.
"It's changed my life for the better in every way," she said.
What has changed is how Carlquist eats. She takes regular vitamin and calcium supplements and eats six small meals a day.
"I can't eat anything fried. I've got to be very careful of sugar intake and I still can't eat pasta or rice or any kind of meat," she said.
In the past, diets depended on willpower.
"The pouch that is in Jennifer -- or in any other patient that has this -- is there every day. So whether you want to or don't want to, you have to," said bariatric surgeon Dr. Alan Brader
Exercise is still a matter of the will. That is where Carlquist's mother offers support.
"When I don't feel like going, she talks me into going and when she doesn't feel like going, I talk her into going," Gay Carlquist said.
"When we both don't feel like going, we don't go," Carlquist said.
Regular workouts help the pounds drop faster and tightens loose skin.
"If I don't work out, it's just going to hang there," Carlquist said.
The journey has not been easy, but for the first time, Carlquist feels it is one she can conquer.
"It's just a lot easier to get around. I have tons of energy and want to always be going, going, going," she said.
Gay Carlquist is very proud of her daughter.
"It's a lot of work. It's like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon," she said.
Carlquist is 91 pounds away from her goal of losing 200 pounds and WRAL will continue to follow her progress.