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Vanessa's letter from her mother
Vanessa's mother wrote this letter regarding her daughter's weight loss.

Moorhead, Minn. — What does Vanessa's weight loss mean to us?

All Vanessa's life she had a weight problem, from little on. I worried about it, but being overweight myself I knew it would always be a problem. The only thing is, she was much heavier than I ever was. I tried to help her and I dieted when she was in school. But mothers really don't much, you know, and it was not much fun to eat healthy only.

We tried Richard Simmons' plan and even went to Fargo to see him. It went well for a while. He has a good plan. As she went into high school she had friends at school, and not after school. I saw my daughter become a very sad person, sitting in her room getting more depressed. We encouraged Girls Scouts and Awanta to keep her active outside of school. It would break my heart to see her so alone at times. She put on a great front.

When she went to college I really worried. Her first roommate was terribly rude. Then she joined a sorority, and met girl friends and then guy friends. And she seemed much happier and she lost some weight with all the activities.

But after college, the friends all left town. She had a good job, but not the close friendships outside of work. And the job has stress, and up the weight went again a lot. I was worried sick, but if I say anything it does not help. It has to be up to the person themselves (I know).

When we got a call she was in the hospital in December 2000, we dropped everything and took off for two days. She was really sick. It was just before Christmas and we took four trips back and forth to Fargo in one week. At the time a doctor suggested surgery for weight loss. But she said no. I had it done 19 years earlier and it had not worked for me.

Vanessa found a caring doctor and a wonderful dietitian that helped her set up a program, and away the weight went. We were so proud. Her health problems slowly improved, and her personality changed. She was looking good and feeling wonderful. Our prayers were answered.

People back home asked all the time how she was doing, what has she lost? A lot of my friends were praying for continued success and good health.

Vanessa seems so happy, confident and healthy. She seems like she was happy with herself for the first time in her life. She gained confidence and had a great cheering section at work. When her story hit the Fargo Forum (newspaper), we had people call from all over. People were excited about and for her.

We know that this will be a struggle for life, but it is so nice to see a healthy daughter. I only wish I had her willpower. I lost 40 pounds last year, but have since gained some. It makes me mad. I do know how hard it is to lose. I have lost thousands of pounds in my life, only to gain them back again. Losing weight is very hard. But keeping it off is much harder.

But the best part is her health is so much better. We are so very proud of her accomplishments with weight and her life. She's a wonderful daughter.

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