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Marla Graves, Homestead

54, Marketing assistant

Starting weight: 286 in 2002

Current weight: 155-160

Height: 5-5''

Method: Laparoscopic Roux-En-Y gastric bypass in 2002.

Why she did it: ''I had four children and put on 10 to 15 pounds after each child. When you're cooking for a family of six, you tend to eat a lot.'' She also started to develop back and knee problems and couldn't enjoy activities with her three young grandsons.

``I couldn't walk the mall with my daughters to shop. I didn't have the energy. Now, physically, I can do so much more and enjoy life.''

How she maintains: Swimming and water aerobics in her pool and walking the track at Baptist Hospital, or hospital hallways while on rounds, two to three miles a day.

Post-surgery eating: ''I eat about six times a day and very small amounts of food at a time -- a cup, cup-and-a-half a meal.'' For a snack she eats fruit and whole wheat crackers. ``I am amazed at people who do gain the weight back. This is not a pleasant surgery at all. . . . I can't imagine going back to the eating habits.''

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