Teenager successfully battles obesity: naturally

Teenager successfully battles obesity: naturally »Play Video

SALEM, Ore. - A 16-year-old who successfully fought obesity has a message for kids with the same problem: it’s about making your own choices and not blaming anyone else.

“I have some friends who are trying to lose weight, too,” said Rosa Palomino. “But they kinda blame their parents. In a way, yeah, because your parents didn’t teach you right, but you could always learn.” 

At age 13 she weighed 285 pounds and was considered morbidly obese, but over three years she lost 70 pounds without the use of pills or surgery.

“People just have to realize [that] if they want it, they can do it,” she said.

Her dad and her stepmother couldn’t believe how much Rosa weighed when she moved back in with them. They and her doctor worried for her life.

“When I first picked her up I was, ‘Oh Rosie,’ and I was sad, and her dad was sad,” said Rosa’s stepmother Tanna.

It wasn’t until she turned 13 when Rosa realized something was wrong. “I noticed that my clothes weren’t fitting right, and I just felt really uncomfortable and was really ugly,” she said.

So together with her stepmother and doctor, James Lace of Childhood Health Associates, they worked out a plan which included a change in lifestyle and way of thinking. This meant no junk food, smaller portions, more exercise, and not using food as a comfort.

“I guess it’s the stress of school and boyfriends and regular stuff: It just triggers it. But you just have to watch yourself,” Rosa said.

She did consider weight-loss drugs, but: “I wanted to know that I completed something. So I wanted to do it healthy so I can learn to eat healthier.”

Her doctor agrees. “The good thing about what Rosa’s doing is she’s taking it gradually and she can continue that the rest of her life - as opposed to a crash and burn: ‘Look, I took off 50 pounds and then I’m done’ and it bounces back up again,” said Lace.

Today, after hard work and commitment, Rosa weighs 215 pounds and is well on her way to her goal of 140 pounds.

“I feel more confident and prettier now,” Rosa said.

“I’m proud of her, and I’m proud of me for us both working together,” said her stepmother Tanna.

Dr. Lace said that in some cases doctors may need to prescribe weight-loss pills or recommend surgery, but he says those options should be the last resort.