Hollie's Story Obesity is all I have ever known. I can't remember a time in my life since I entered junior high that I wasn't classified as obese.

My childhood nickname was 'Big Bird'. I believe this was not only because my last name was Bird but because of my size. A lot of people never knew me by my name — just Big Bird.

Growing up I never took a PE class in school because I have always had knee issues that hurt me all the time. Doctors chalked it up to that I was just having a growth spurt and I would grow out of it.

Throughout my twenties, I tried I think every kind of diet I could get my hands on or I could afford at the time. I would lose 20-30 pounds and then I would gain it all back and then some. None of these diets ever really taught me how to change my lifestyle. They were just a quick fix for the time being.

In my late twenties, my knees were getting worse and getting to the point that I wasn't able to do some things with my children. I chose to have surgery on both knees, and this only made matters worse. After the surgery, I was not able to even sit on the floor without having something to assist me to get back up. I wasn't even able to go up and down stairs. As you can imagine this was very frustrating for a mother of two children and only being in my late twenties. 'What kind of life is this to live?,' I would ask myself all the time.

At this point in my life I knew I had to do something for myself. I knew I had to put ME first. I sought out Dr. Peterson and his practice.

I went to a seminar where I met him and his staff. I knew just from that meeting that this was a staff of loving and caring people — a staff who aren't there just to take money and move on to the next person. Dr. Peterson and his staff put their hearts and souls into their practice and patients.

Being able to connect with Dr. Peterson and his staff has given me my life and my family back. Since my surgery, I have been able to do things I haven't been able to do since before junior high. If I had known that my weight was one of my biggest issues with my knees, I would have had the weight loss surgery years ago.

The surgery was the BIGGEST and BEST tool anyone could have given me in life. Not only has it changed my life tremendously, it has changed my husband's and children's lives as well. They see the changes I have made and how it makes a positive impact on my life, and want the same for their own lives.

I needed the help. I am the 17th person in my family to have had gastric bypass. I want it to STOP with me. I want my children to learn how to eat healthy and know how important exercise is to your health. I want them to understand that it is all in the lifestyle you live and the choices you make.

I needed the help I want to say thank you to Dr. Peterson and his staff for all the support they give their patients. For the passion they have towards us, and towards our success. They don't just leave you after surgery — they become a part of your life from there on out.

If I had to take this step again in my life, I would do it in a heartbeat. Just remember you can be as successful as you allow yourself to be!