CARY, N.C. — One year ago, a Cary woman began a quest to lose 200 pounds, and WRAL followed her progress along the way.
Jennifer Carlquist has an amazing story to tell -- not just about the weight she has lost, but about how her life has changed.
Before gastric bypass surgery on Nov. 3, 2003, Carlquist weighed 385 pounds.
"Everything's hurting. You feel like you're 80 years old and you're only 26," she said last year.
Carlquist is now one year older and feels "years healthier" after losing 190 pounds. The 27-year-old is half the size and is enjoying life twice as much.
"Five years ago when I was at the State Fair, I wasn't able to fit into the ride. They had to stop and ask me to get off. It was very humiliating. This year, I could slide right into the rides. It was just absolutely wonderful," she said.
In gastric bypass surgery, the stomach is reduced to a small pouch. Carlquist's success came with plenty of exercise and sticking to a low-fat, high-protein diet of several small meals a day.
"I can eat anything. It's just all in moderation," she said.
Before her weight loss, Carlquist had to order through catalogues to find size 34 clothing.
Now at size 14, she buys clothes off the rack.
"I still want to lose another 20 to 30 pounds -- just to where I feel really healthy," Carlquist said.
Gastric bypass surgery has its risks -- one out of 100 people die of complications. Carlquist was aware of the risk and said she believed the risk of doing nothing was worse.
Today she has no regrets.
"It's worth it. It's worth it," she said.
Carlquist is considering having loose skin, which comes from losing a lot of weight quickly, surgically removed.
Follow Carlquist's Progress:
Cary Woman's Transformation Following Weight Loss Surgery More Than Physical
Cary Woman Realizing Weight Loss Goals Months After Risky Surgery
Cary Woman Adjusts To New Lifestyle After Gastric Bypass Surgery
Losing Weight: WRAL Follows Cary Woman Through Life-Changing Journey