Despite the 120 pounds she lost after gastric bypass surgery, Ana Barboza feels that she didn’t take the “easy” way out.

She says that the surgery may help you lose weight – as it did her – but that it won’t force you to lose weight; you still have to do a lot of work yourself.

Even before she had the surgery, she had to learn about eating healthy, including chewing her food better to improve digestion and eating healthier portions.

Barboza began gaining weight after relocating to a brand new state, moving from New York to D.C. In New York, she was active, but once she ended up in D.C., she was much less active.

Another big reason for her weight gain was a hormonal imbalance called PCOS. PCOS can cause weight gain along with irregular periods and difficulty conceiving.

It wasn’t long before she reached 262 pounds, a very high amount for her 5’3” frame.

Barboza says that she once had a negative relationship with food, partly because of her Latin culture. In her experience since childhood, she was encouraged to finish her meals and eat all of the food on her plate.

This resulted in a pattern of overeating. Since the surgery, Barboza avoids foods high in sugar, as well as fatty foods, bread and rice. If she eats these foods, she can become nauseous.

Also, since her gastric bypass surgery, she doesn’t drink anything half an hour before or after eating. The surgery resulted in the need for her to completely revamp her lifestyle.