In just one year, Valerie's lost 179 pounds. Valerie chose gastric bypass surgery, after she saw the success an aunt and a cousin had with the surgery. Before the operation, Valerie's stomach was about the length of a ruler. Now, her stomach is about three inches long, or the size of an index finger. Part of Valerie's stomach was re-attached to her small intestine. Since her stomach was dramatically reduced, so was her appetite. "Now I have an appetite but nothing like it was," she says. Lunchtime at school, and every meal for that matter, is different for Valerie now. She can't drink sodas, or eat sugar. It's a very strict diet, high in protein. It's definitely a lifestyle change, but one that Valerie says she'll make, to feel like everyone else at school. She hopes her story will encourage other teens who struggle with their weight to never give up. "Exercise, walk," she says. "There's always something you can do."