Archive for category Weight Loss & Fitness Tips

What happens on the day of your surgery at VIDA Bariatrics?


Surgery room here at VIDA

Finally, the long wait is over, your surgery date has arrived. You may be feeling an overwhelming mix of emotions from excitement to down right anxiousness. But one thing is for sure; you are in the best hands possible with surgeons that truly care about you. As part of the process leading up to your surgery day we will make sure to communicate with you, answering all your questions in order to prepare you both physically as well as mentally.

Lets now take a quick look at what goes on the day of your surgery. You will arrive at our facility and be asked to change into a cap and gown. We will then go over any remaining questions and concerns regarding the logistics as well as after care. Pre-op prepping takes about twenty to thirty minutes and the surgery itself takes an average of an hour to an hour and a half. The method that we utilize is laparoscopic in which a 0.5–1.5 cm incision is made for 99% of the patients. We say this because there is a 1% chance of having to make a larger incision if the patient’s liver is too large, this happens if the person does not shrink their liver through a diet given to them prior to surgery. During surgery CO2 gas is used in order to expand the stomach, this is why some patients experience shoulder and upper back discomfort, which is completely normal.

On average people return to work 3-7 days after surgery, this is also dependent on the nature of your job (desk job or high movement). Your recovery diet can be split into 2 stages consisting of 10 days per stage. During the first 10 days patients can only have clear liquid foods such as Gatorade, tea, gelatin, and broth. Stage two starts on day 11 were non-clear foods such as yogurt, puree, applesauce, and cooked blended vegetables can be consumed. Three weeks post op a patient may begin testing with salts and gradually build to solids that are easy to chew like salmon, chicken legs, and meat fillets.

For more information about bariatric surgery, or to find out which weight loss surgeryis right for you, please contact VIDA Bariatrics.

Dr. Miguel Alessandrini

Dr. Miguel Alessandrini of VIDA Bariatrics

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Which Bariatric Surgery is Right for You?

Tijuana Mexico Bariatric Surgery

Which weight loss surgery is right for you?

An Experienced Bariatric Surgeon shares advice on today’s most effective Weight Loss Surgery.

When diet and exercise just isn’t enough, bariatric surgery is an effective option for losing a large amount of weight quickly.

Plus, unlike crash diets and other “quick fixes,” long-term studies have shown that bariatric procedures not only help patients loose significant weight – and keep the weight off, but actually aid in the recovery from diabetes, improvement in cardiovascular risk factors, and a reduction in mortality of 23% from 40%.

“There are four different types of bariatric surgeries we perform,” explained Dr. Miguel Alessandrini of VIDA Bariatrics. “We provide Lap Band, Gastric Sleeve, Mini- Bypass, and full Bypass Surgery”

Dr. Alessandrini went on to explain which of the four procedures was most effective for his weight loss patients over the past 10 years.

“With Lap Band, you are placing a foreign object inside the body – and about 8% of patients can actually reject it,” he said.

Up until recently, gastric bypass was the most commonly performed operation for weight loss in the United States with approximately 140,000 gastric bypass procedures performed in 2005. However, today, less patients are opting for bypass surgery. “Although Gastric Bypass surgery is very effective, today the gastric sleeve meets the patients weight loss goals but with less medical risks.”

“The gastric sleeve is our surgery of choice,” said Dr. Alessandrini. “It’s much less invasive than the other weight loss surgeries and we find it more effective.”

Tijuana Mexico Dr. Miguel Alessandrini

“85% of patients who opt for gastric sleeve bariatric surgery keep the weight off- and it’s a much less invasive procedure than bypass,” explained Dr. Miguel Alessandrini of VIDA Bariatrics.

The gastric sleeve procedure involves removing 75 -80% of the stomach so the patient can only consume small amounts of food. The procedure also removes the portion of the stomach responsible for producing the hormones that stimulate hunger.

Dr Alessandrini also prefers gastric sleeve over bypass because by avoiding the intestinal bypass, the chance of intestinal obstruction (blockage), anemia, osteoporosis, protein deficiency and vitamin deficiency are significantly reduced.

“85% of patients who opt for gastric sleeve bariatric surgery keep the weight off –and it’s a much less invasive procedure than bypass, “ he concluded.


For more information about the gastric sleeve, or to find out which weight loss surgery is right for you, please visit contact VIDA Bariatrics.

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Sara’s Incredible Post Bariatric Surgery Success Story

sara keenan weightloss journey

Sara with a pair of her old pants that she is giving away after her incredible weight loss

Former patient, Sara Keenan recently told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that she is giving away all of her 3X and 4X size clothes since losing 170 pounds. She explained that she’s been able to maintain this incredible weight loss thanks to a new diet, exercise, and post bariatric surgery with CosMed’s Dr. Quiroz. We are so proud of her dedication and perseverance throughout her weight loss journey! – See more at:

Former patient, Sara Keenan recently told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that she is giving away all of her 3X and 4X size clothes since losing 170 pounds. She explained that she’s been able to maintain this incredible weight loss thanks to a new diet, exercise, and post bariatric surgery with CosMed’s Dr. Quiroz. We are so proud of her dedication and perseverance throughout her weight loss journey!

More about Sara’s Weight Loss Journey:

– See more at:

Former patient, Sara Keenan recently told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that she is giving away all of her 3X and 4X size clothes since losing 170 pounds. She explained that she’s been able to maintain this incredible weight loss thanks to a new diet, exercise, and post bariatric surgery with CosMed’s Dr. Quiroz. We are so proud of her dedication and perseverance throughout her weight loss journey!

More about Sara’s Weight Loss Journey:

– See more at:

Sara, age 53,  recently told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that she is giving away all of her 3X and 4X size clothes since losing 170 pounds. In the article, she explains that she’s been able to maintain this incredible weight loss thanks to a new diet, exercise, and post bariatric surgery with Dr. Quiroz of CosMed Plastic Surgery Center in Mexico.

More about Sara’s Weight Loss Journey:

After looking death in the face, Sara realized that she needed to lose a large amount of weight in order to live.  Weighing over 300 pounds, Keenan was struck with pneumonia, which was triggered by taking a narcotic for her back pain.  She realized then that in order to continue living, she needed to lose some weight.

After dropping an incredible 170 pounds, Sara searched long and hard to find the right doctor to remove the excess skin that remained.  That’s when she found Dr. Quiroz and learned about her options for plastic surgery after weight loss. Now, at age 53 Sara is turning more heads than ever before!

Read more about Sara’s amazing weight loss experience


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Weight Loss Tips, Inspiration & Stories of Plastic Surgery in Mexico

Before and After

One way to stay motivated: Keep reminders of your weight loss journey. Put tips on your Fridge, like the “OLD” you pics, and “NEW” you pics. It helps to see where you were before, and how far you have come. Then it reminds you of where you want to be, says Melanie.

In the following interview, Melanie, grand prize winner of our Weight Loss Success Story Contest, shares her personal weight loss tips,  what keeps her motivated and inspired, as well as advice for others considering bariatric and plastic surgery in Mexico.

What advice do you have for others considering Weight Loss Surgeries?

Do your homework. Get involved in websites like or Seeing before and after pictures, asking questions…  No matter what surgery you chose, or where you decide to go…Come to your own conclusions about what is right for you.

Best advice I can give… Surgery is NOT a quick fix. The Lap-Band is a TOOL to help you to achieve the weight loss needed in order to make great changes in your life. If you don’t make the changes in your eating habits, or exercise habits, nothing is going to change for you… you have to WANT this to make it work for you…I can’t say enough about how much love I have for Dr. Gonzalez. He gave my life back to me. He gave me the TOOL that I needed to help me to be where I am today.

What is your favorite way to exercise?

My favorite thing to do now is Yoga. I feel so great & strong afterwards. But, My new passion has become running. I used to tell my hubby that I wish that I could be “one of those people that just RUNS!”  And he would say, YOU CAN BE! Now I am proud to say that I AM!

Do you have any special “Tips” or recommendations to help others “keep the weight off”?

Persistence. Perseverance. Support. These things I cannot stress enough. If you want it bad enough- DO IT!

Put tips on your Fridge, like the “OLD” you pics, and “NEW” you pics. It helps to see where you were before, and how far you have come. Then it reminds you of where you want to be.

Drink lots of water. Often we mistake hunger for thirst. I drink a big glass of water water while I am preparing food, then I wont be so tempted to TASTE everything… also, once you start eating, DON’T drink anything. You will FEEL fuller.

Can you describe your plastic surgery experience in Mexico? Were you scared?

Well, I have been Going to Mexico since 2006. I had my Lap-Band surgery in January 2007, (at CosMed, in Mexico). I was very timid about going. My first surgery, I didn’t tell my family, because I didn’t want them to worry. A few friends knew, but none had discouraged me from going. I think they knew that I needed this. I told everyone afterwards.

For my second surgery I was PROUD to say that I was going! And they all know that my Lower Body Lift will be there as well!!  At first we never drove in always parked, walked across, & took a Taxi, we did all the things we were SUPPOSED to when going to Mexico. Going to a different country is always a bit scary, and with the media portraying all the horror stories, it can be unnerving… but I have not ONCE witnessed ANYTHING that would scare me away from going again. Things happen in the US as well as all over the world!  If we live our lives scared we will never accomplish anything. We now drive into Mexico & stay in the Hotels there, sightsee… it has been so WONDERFUL to see the beauty that Mexico has to offer! AND I can’t wait to wear a BIKINI, while I am lying in the sun on a sandy beach in Mexico (someday soon)!

My Lap-Band surgery was so great. Dr. Gonzalez was THE BEST! I had to go to the restroom, and I asked for a nurse, and he said “we don’t need I nurse when I am right here!” he proceeded to walk me to the bathroom, wait outside, and walk be back to bed & got me settled. Now I have had other surgeries in the U.S., and I have worked with many doctors, but I have NEVER, EVER experienced bed side manors like that from a doctor!  My second surgery at CosMed, was with Dr. Quiroz, and AGAIN, BY FAR the BEST DOCTOR! He took his time to answer any questions that we had, patiently explained everything in “layman terms” so that we felt comfortable with proceeding. After my surgery I had a concern, and Dr. Quiroz HIMSELF called me!! I was FLOORED! I have so much respect & admiration for someone, as busy as a surgeon, who takes the time to call his patients PERSONALLY!

My husband & I have no real desire to go anywhere but Mexico for surgery. The doctors here in the US often dismiss your concerns, or just quickly see you, medicate you, & send you on your way. It is often controlled by insurance, instead of actually caring for the patients.

Before and After Weight Loss Surgery Mexico

Before and After Weight Loss Surgery in Mexico

Who has been your biggest  inspiration or motivator and why?

My husband and my kids have been HUGE in my success. If it weren’t for them always saying YOU CAN DO IT, BABE, or I BELIEVE IN YOU,MOM, or I AM SO PROUD OF YOU, It would have been a lot harder. I would have made it, but it would have taken longer!  Also, More recently, The wonderful friends that I have made thru CosMed (who have become like family to me), have been SUCH a wonderful source of inspiration!  We encourage each other, listen to each other, motivate each other. We need a good support system, whether it is in the form of family, friends, or sometimes strangers… we need them to  keep pushing us.

Do you have  a funny or inspiration story you’d like to share about your transformation? (for example, was there a friend who didn’t recognize you? Or a new activity you started recently that you couldn’t have done before?)

Oh my gosh! I am ALWAYS getting that these days! But most recently I was taking my dog for a run, and as I was walking to warm up, I said HI to my NEIGHBOR  (who I have known since I was in high school & I even BABYSAT HER KIDS!!) she looked at me funny, And I was like, whats wrong? She said OH MY! I didn’t know who you were- YOU LOOK AMAZING!!!!!  lol!

There have been so many times that people don’t recognize me.

But as for inspiration, I was at the gym one day, and a trainer walked up to me, and said, I see you in here almost every day. I thought I would talk to you, but I don’t want to disrupt your workout. I said, Ok, so we talk while I am working out…. He asked me what got me to the gym… I pulled out my phone and showed him the OLD me… he was stunned, to say the least, I proceeded to tell him my story… he said, stay right there… went to get his client that he had been working with, and said to me… show her your picture, & tell her what you told me. The woman started crying, I got off the machine & hugged her… and told her… you can DO this… it is the FIRST STEP to a new you! She said she has a renewed faith that she can do this…

If I can help only one person with my story, then it is WORTH IT!

Most recently I started Running. My new GOAL is to RUN a half MARATHON before I am 40.

I. WILL. MAKE. IT.  Without a doubt in my mind.

before and after

Melanie before and after her weight loss surgeries in Mexico

Is there anything else you’d like to share at this time?

I have overcome many obstacles , if I can do this, so can you!  You’re life is what you make of it. I am going to make mine a success. I invite everyone to join me on my journey. Like I said, If my story helps, even just one person… then it is all worth it!

Make the change that you want to be! Take the first step. Clean out the fridge and start eating clean. Become knowledgeable about nutrition. Exercise…

But MOST IMPORTANTLY,When we are overweight, by far, the hardest lesson that we all have to learn, is to LOVE YOURSELF. And I have learned to do JUST that!  It is ok, if you mess up, every day is a new day. START OVER, don’t beat yourself up over it. Get up, dust yourself off, and start over again!

*Stay tuned as Melanie continues her journey with the help of COSMED Plastic Surgery Center and VIDA Wellness & Beauty Institute.

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Helping to End Childhood Obesity – Building a Healthy Relationship with Food & Exercise from the Start

The following Guest Blog post was written by Amanda,  runner-up in our Weight Loss Success Story competition, in honor of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

Amanda struggled with her weight since childhood. She received a full athletic scholarship to play softball in college. Despite all of this, Amanda continued to gain weight. She was teased and berated by her coaches, teammates, and male athletes on campus who called her “Amazon Amanda” and a “glazed ham” when she sweat while working out.

Unfortunately, the percentage of teenage obesity in the United States is on the rise with 20% of children (6-11 years old) and 18% of teens (12-19 years old) being classified as obese as of 2008. These sad numbers are said to be caused by the popularity of fast and processed food along with an apathetic attitude towards exercise. This does not account for those with health issues such as thyroid disease. With foundations and groups throwing money at the problem to encourage healthy eating and exercise, I believe that the causes of teenage obesity are far more complex than just telling kids to get off the couch and eat their daily serving of vegetables. Yes, this definitely helps, but it is just the tip of the iceberg. The foundations and groups are not addressing why children are not eating healthfully or choosing sedentary activities over being active.

In a society that values speed and efficiency, fast food always seems a desirable and, often, a necessary way to handle children’s hunger. With children eating lunch around 11:30 am and getting out of school around 3:00 pm, without a snack in between, children are starving in the time between when they are out of school and when they are being taken to piano lessons, baseball practice, or girl scouts. Parents that are driving from work to pick up their children are not able to always have celery sticks or perfectly-measured out portions of fruit. They take them to McDonald’s on the way to their next engagement. Many people blame the parents. I believe that if school’s revamped their nutritional schedule, offering children healthy snacks at intervals throughout the day and a lunch with sustainable proteins, children would be less likely to “need” that fast food “snack” at 3:00 pm.

Starting this at an early age would promote an affinity towards the healthy option. Because, let’s face it, a Big Mac tastes way better than an apple with almond butter. The trick is to make the Big Mac a treat and the apple the norm.

Forcing the apple on an overweight child causes them to associate the apple with negativity, hunger, and guilty longing for tastier foods. The same can be said for exercise. If a child is only forced to exercise because they are overweight, the child will always regard exercise as something that is not fun. This is a tough feeling to overcome. Ask any ex-overweight friend or someone who is struggling with their weight and they will tell you that it is the hardest thing to learn to “like exercise” especially as the only reason that they are doing it is to lose weight. That kind of exercise is hardly “fun.” It’s slaving away on the elliptical at the gym, after work when you are starving and wishing you were anywhere but there. I believe that if a healthy relationship with exercise is created at a young age, as we grow up we will gravitate more towards working out for pleasure.

Now, don’t get me wrong, being thin is not that easy. I was always a “big” girl compared to my peers. I worked out frequently especially as I aged. I earned a full athletic college scholarship where workouts—from practice to weight lifting and conditioning—were daily. My parents did not buy me fast food frequently and they did not cook fattening food. Yet, I continued to gain weight.

I directly attribute my weight problems with my hatred of “exercise for weight loss” and my portion control. When I was very young, my father told me that I needed to lose weight. So, at 7 I was running laps around our neighborhood—not because I wanted to—but because I was forced to. In fact, I used to go around the corner from my house, sit on a bench, wait the appropriate amount of time and then jog home huffing and puffing like I had really completed my run. One time my dad spied on me. Whoops! These feelings towards exercise made me reluctant to do anything, but the bare minimum to be successful at my sport.

teen obesity

Amanda, today, after losing more than 100 pounds, with the help of bariatric surgery.

During school I remember always feeling hungry and staring at food left on other people’s lunch tray. Not wanting to look like a “pig,” I never asked for their scraps, but I did go home ravenous. I would try to come home and eat a somewhat healthy after-school snack. The problem was that I would eat the healthy snack but while sneaking handfuls of chips or cheese. Then I would feel guilty. The guilt would make me feel bad about myself and then upset at the injustice of the world. How could all of my skinny friends eat more than me, with extra sour cream on their burrito, and they could remain so thin? The anger caused me to feel comfortable in the fact that I ate less than them and, therefore, I was okay. Turns out there’s a little thing called metabolism and I seemed to not have a very fast one.

If I could go back in time, or, better yet, when I raise my own children I will try very hard to instill exercise for fun. That way, my children won’t have to resort to “fun exercise” (think Zumba, piloxing, or stripper workouts) just to lose weight. Being active because it is associated with good feelings rather than negative may be the start of a long term healthy lifestyle.  This practice paired with growing up eating healthfully may allow my children and the children of the world to start off their weight on a better foot than our generations who only workout and eat healthy when our fat backs are up against a wall.

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Favorite “After Weight Loss Surgery” Recipes for Continued Success!

Low Carb

Amanda keep her weight down by cutting carbs. Lettuce burgers are her “Go To”!

At COSMED Plastic Surgery Center, we understand that losing a significant amount of weight, either naturally or through bariatric surgery, is just one part of the journey towards achieving long term weight loss and a renewed self-image.

We all know that eating right is a critical part to keeping the weight off. And what works for one weight loss success patient is not always the same as another. That’s why in today’s blog post, we are sharing favorite foods and recipes from our 3 Weight Loss Success Story Winners.

Are you a weight loss success story too? Feel free to leave your own recipe in the comments section of this blog!


Amanda’s Advice: Cut the Carbs!

“I would say that the biggest impact on my weight loss was cutting down on carbs. I know, typical dieter response that makes everyone cringe! At first it was very hard, but when I stopped eating burritos in tortillas (I just eat the filling), sandwiches with bread (now I use lettuce leaves), or burgers with buns (lettuce burgers are my go to) I began to realize how unnecessary the carbs really are. When I cut out those “unnecessary” carbs, I didn’t feel as guilty if I had chips and salsa when I went out to dinner because to me, chips and salsa is necessary—and amazing.

Following that, here is my favorite weight loss recipe for an amazing dip because weight loss does not always mean steamed fish and vegetables (in fact, for me, it was never this—I have too advanced a palate to sustain on such tasteless food, so I had to hunt for low-cal, high protein options!). ”

weight loss

Amanda lost more than 100 pounds after her Lap Band surgery in Mexico. How does she keep the weight off? She looks for creative (and tasty!) low carb, high protein options.

1 avocado, ripe
½ cup low-fat cottage cheese
Salt & pepper, to taste
Pickled jalapenos rings (optional, if you like spice!)
Yellow squash, cut into sliced rounds

1.    Mash the avocado flesh in a bowl and add the cottage cheese.
2.    If desired, chopped several jalapenos (how many is up to you) and mix in. You can also add a splash of the jalapeno juice/brine for more flavor.
3.    Add salt and pepper to taste.
4.    Serve immediately with squash rounds as dippers.

Melanie’s Advice: Try new things!

“My favorite recipe has to be Greek Turkey Meatballs. It has great flavors, and very moist!  I have been experimenting with many different foods, fish, turkey, veggies… Many of them I had never tried before, and discovered that I like them- A LOT!  The internet has been great for finding new low carb recipes or veggie recipes. And I love sharing recipes!  One of my go to Web sites has been Her recipes are so good…. I will sometimes tweak recipes to make them healthier if I can, because I love to cook!! and bake… but I GIVE it all away so that it isn’t in my house!! LOL”

Megan’s Advice – Keep it Simple!

As for Megan, her favorite After Weight Loss food is simple –  Frozen Grapes!
“Since the surgery, I have really enjoyed frozen grapes! They are sweet, cold and crisp!”

Do you have as favorite After Weight Loss recipe to share? Please post on this blog, we’d love to hear it!

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Here’s your First Look at the Winners of our Weight Loss Success Story Contest!

Its been quite a journey for these three weight loss success stories! All have struggled with their weight, many faced friends and even doctors who were unsympathetic and unsupportive.  One woman was called “fat and lazy” by doctors while another was called “glazed ham” by her teammates.

Fortunately, all of these women have an incredible support system of family and friends who have encouraged them to keep trying. Combine that with their own determination to keep researching the best diets, exercise and weight loss solutions available, all of these women have succeeded in losing more than 100 pounds each! As a result, they all have stories, advice and inspiration to share! Whether its our 2nd place winner who went on to get a full athletic scholarship to our Runner up who weighed in at 430 pounds before deciding to “dance the fat away” with the help of her closest friends, we are excited to introduce and share the journeys of these amazing women with you.

Weight loss Success Story

By the time a doctor finally discovered she had a Thyroid disease, Melanie weighed 366 lbs (although possibly more, because she refused to get on a scale).

The COSMED  Plastic Surgery Center  and VIDA Wellness and Beauty Institute are honored to introduce the Winners of our Weight Loss Success Story Contest!

1st Place: Meet Melanie

You may recognize Melanie from her guest blog post or as a COSMED Facebook friend. She has been an inspiration to many as she struggled to lose weight more than 100 pounds.

Her battle with weight started with PCOS (a disease that effects women- not being able to conceive, irregular periods, as well as weight gain, and hair loss). Because of this disease, her weight crept up, and she became increasingly more tired. She struggled to keep her weight down, without much success.

She spent many years and shed many tears going to doctor after doctor to seek help. But after she was told by a doctor that she was “fat, lazy and just needing to walk”, she stopped wanting to go to the doctors. Her condition worsened.

After 8 years, a doctor finally discovered she had a Thyroid disease, called Grave’s disease. Within days, Melanie had radiation on her thyroid and began medication. By this point her weight was 366 lbs (possibly more, because she refused to get on a scale).

Although she was active with her kids and ate well, weight loss was still difficult. She began researching gastric bypass, Lap-Band and other weight loss surgery options. Her insurance company said it would to take up to 2 years to get approved. That’s when she started researching doctors in Mexico.

Her family was nervous for her to go to Mexico for the surgery, but she was determined about having the surgery. She wanted to be around for her kids and knew that depended on losing the weight. She ultimately had Lap-Band weight loss surgery with Dr. Gonzalez of the VIDA Wellness & Beauty Institute.

Weight Loss Success

After Lap-Band and a Breast Reduction in Mexico, Melanie was able to do something she had always wanted to do, go RUNNING! Then she rode her bike 25 Miles!

“At first she could only walk one house, and back before she would get tired,” explained her husband, Marco. “But then she went two houses, then four houses… then she had her surgery. Everything went well, but her eating was a shock-physically as well as mentally. She had to be on a liquid diet for 21 days. But she was determined to succeed. She was back to walking… soon she was dropping weight and walking one block turned into walking a mile, then two. Soon you could see the change in her, she joined a gym and started working out almost every day, and her weight dropped by 100 lbs! “

Next, Melanie decided to get a breast reduction to help her with pain, and migraines. She opted to have the surgery with Dr. Quiroz of COSMED Plastic Surgery Center. “Now she is doing things that she has always wanted to do… like RUNNING! ” said her husband. “She also rode her bike 25 MILES!  She has recently told me that she wants to get her body lift, and run a half-marathon. That is her goal. ”

Melanie’s husband went on to say that “She encourages people to keep working out, and eating healthy and continuing research to help herself and her family live life to its fullest. She will talk to anyone about her weight loss, and her struggles. She makes me want to be better too. She has helped me to lose 18 lbs. Encouraging me to eat healthier, and cooking some amazing meals.  She is an amazing woman,mother,and most of all -friend.”

Stay tuned as we continue to share Melanie’s journey

2nd Place: Meet Amanda

Weight Loss Success


The following is Amanda’s story, as told by her mother:

Amanda is what the old adage refers to as “good on paper.”  She is driven, ambitious, smart, athletic as well as a devoted family member, dedicated community volunteer and compassionate citizen.  To those who do not know her as I do, Amanda may seem to have it all.  While she has worked very hard for everything she has accomplished, there is one area of her life where hard work has proven somewhat futile: her body.”

Growing up, Amanda was always the “big girl.”  I tried very hard to convince her that being tall with a bigger frame was an attribute not a curse.  An athlete all of her life I emphasized exercise over dieting because I wanted her to place her health above a number on a scale.  In the year between ages 10 and 11, Amanda went from a flat-chested tomboy to carrying around DD sized breasts.  Media flaunted women with big breasts, as being beautiful had no effect on Amanda.  Because her breasts grew so rapidly, they were covered in deep purple stretch marks and caused her to wear several sports bras and uncomfortable minimize bras at all times.  The large breasts made her feel even larger and out of place.  As a 5’10 busty sixth-grader, Amanda became fodder for bullies.  Most damaging was her father.  My husband has an irrational fear of having “fat” kids.  When Amanda was 7, my husband forced her to run to lose weight, punished her with exercise, and made her feel guilty about eating.  Facing constant ridicule from her father only perpetuated her self-loathing, which lead to years of slow, yet steady weight gain.

weight loss help

Amanda received a full athletic scholarship to play softball in college. Despite all of this, Amanda continued to gain weight. She was teased and berated by her coaches, teammates, and male athletes on campus who called her “Amazon Amanda” and a “glazed ham” when she sweat while working out.

Amanda received a full athletic scholarship to play softball in college, her commitment included daily practice, weight lifting, conditioning, tournaments every weekend, and a diet plan.  Despite all of this, Amanda continued to gain weight.  She was teased and berated by her coaches, teammates, and male athletes on campus who called her “Amazon Amanda” and a “glazed ham” when she sweat while working out.  As a pitcher, every spectator was always watching her at her games.  This attention made her feel even more self-conscious as ESPN has only highlighted players that are thin and petite.  Because she did not fit this description, Amanda was called a “dyke” or thought of as mannish.

In an effort to quell these insults, she counted calories, kept a food journal, worked with a nutritionist, and consulted with doctors.  She underwent metabolic testing, took prescription diet pills, and had her thyroid checked every six months hoping to hear it was sluggish—desperate to find a cause of her weight problems.  Unable to find a reason or solution and weighing over 240 lbs, Amanda decided to research the Lap-Band in an effort to stop the inevitable future weight gain.  Amanda was not unrealistic about the Lap-Band.  In the three years after the surgery, her weight loss has been slow, but she has done it the “right way.”  I am so proud of her long lasting commitment to a healthier lifestyle.  Even though her softball career over, Amanda exercises daily and has completely revamped her eating habits.  She eats cleanly, organically, and avoids foods that compromise her progress.  She does not use her band as a crutch, but rather as a tool to curb her cravings for large portions and constant grazing.

Two years after working with the Lap-Band, and a loss of 50 pounds, Amanda had a breast reduction surgery with Dr. Quiroz that would change her forever.  From the instant she awoke after the surgery, Amanda has had more confidence than I could have imagined.  She still has some problem areas that were caused by her weight gain and subsequent loss, but the breast reduction made her really feel like her hard work was paying off.  Plastic surgery has a way of fixing the past and forgiving your sins, so to speak, when you have made a long-term commitment of maintaining a healthy body.  My daughter has made this commitment and I would love for her body to reflect how she feels and how far she has come in her journey.

weight loss sucess

Recent photo of Amanda after Lap-Band and her breast reduction surgery.

Amanda is in her last year of law school in Oregon.  Law school, like medical school, is one of the toughest endeavors a person can go through mentally, physically, and emotionally.  Law students have high rates of addiction and obesity.  Spending hours in the library, under constant pressure, really affects the minds and bodies of law students.  Given Amanda’s history of weight problems, she was worried that law school may derail her progress on her body.  Amanda broke the status quo.  She continued to exercise, eat right, and lose weight.  This demonstrates her commitment to her long-term health goals.

Many people believe that lawyers live decadent lives like those of lawyers in movies and on television.  Realistically, this is a very small portion of the legal population.  I am proud to say that Amanda will be going into public interest law, helping those who are poor, uneducated, and defenseless.  This past summer she worked, for free, for a child advocacy group in the low-income areas of Portland.  While this kind of work is emotionally enriching, attorneys in this area of the law are often paid less than schoolteachers.  As Amanda’s student loans top $200,000, most of her small income will be paid towards the federal government.  With the cost of plastic surgery often being prohibitive, I know that any surgical improvements on Amanda’s body may not happen until it’s “too late.”  At 25, she has the chance to redefine herself before life and age takes its toll.  Because of Amanda’s emotional history tied to her weight, her hard work on her journey to a long-lasting healthy life, and her future as low-paid advocate for others, I believe that Amanda deserves a little help in achieving a body that reflects what an amazing person she is.

Runner Up: Meet Megan

weight loss success story

Throughout middle school and high school Megan reached her ultimate height and weight…6’1”, 430 pounds. Finally, in her twenties, she proclaimed that she had a plan to lose the weight. With the support of her friends, she decided to dance the fat away. It took over two and a half years, but she shed 130 pounds by rocking it on the dance floor!

The following is Megan’s story, as told by her mother:

At age three, Megan was the size of a 6-year-old and she looked like one of those adorable Cabbage Patch Kid dolls. In elementary school her exceptional height and weight caused her to be mistaken for a teacher. In middle school and high school she reached her ultimate height and weight…6’1”, 430 pounds. These statistics could have devastated most girls in the throes of becoming a young woman, but not Megan… she stood tall and mighty. She beamed with inner beauty. She developed an attitude of determination to be successful despite her size. Finally, in her twenties, she proclaimed that she had a plan to lose the weight.

With the support of her friends, she decided to dance the fat away. It took over two and a half years, but she shed 130 pounds by rocking it on the dance floor. Men started noticing her  beauty and she started to seriously date. Unfortunately, romance had its limitations.  Her weight loss was accompanied by lots of unsightly, excess skin that folded on top of itself. Although she mastered the art of camouflaging it, she knew she needed surgery to match her body image with her self-image. Megan became the third generation in our family to turn to COSMED Plastic Surgery Center. She used her savings to go to COSMED where Dr. Quiroz performed a major “tummy tuck”. He removed enough skin to cover a basketball, tightened muscles and lipo-sculpted her mid-section. For the first time in her life, Megan’s amazing body matched her sparkling personality.

Ironically, two months after the procedure, she got pregnant. She gained weight. Now she weighed 373 pounds. Megan knew that this time dancing was not going to do it. Bariatric surgery was the answer.

Megan now weighs 230 and continues to lose. At 30, she is an example of how the stereotypic fat kid mustered up determination to change her life’s course.  She eats healthy and exercises several times a week. The COSMED mid-section surgery has held up beautifully. But this weight loss has produced “bat-wings” and pendulous breasts. She is looking forward to continuing her journey with the help of COSMED and VIDA.


Thank you to everyone who submitted a weight loss story for our recent contest. With so many inspirational and moving stories, choosing the winners was a difficult task! We hope you will continue your journey with the help of friends, family and the COSMED and VIDA teams.

Stay tuned as we continue to follow all of our Weight Loss Success Stories as they take the next steps in  their transformations with the help of COSMED Plastic Surgery Center and VIDA Wellness & Beauty Institute.

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