Battling Obesity: The Story of Rocky's Reduction

Samr 'Rocky' Tayeh

Now: Samr 'Rocky' Tayeh tells the story of his weight-loss surgery. Kaari Pitkin hide caption

itoggle caption Kaari Pitkin

Hear the Original Story

Tayeh before weight-loss surgery i i

Then: Tayeh as a high school student, before his surgery. Courtesy Samr Tayeh. hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Samr Tayeh.
Tayeh before weight-loss surgery

Then: Tayeh as a high school student, before his surgery.

Courtesy Samr Tayeh.

In December 2003, All Things Considered aired the story of teenager Samr "Rocky" Tayeh's battle against obesity.

In high school, Tayeh wore size 64 pants and weighed as much as 517 pounds. A year ago, he decided his only hope of losing weight was lap-band surgery, in which an inflatable ring is placed around the top part of a person's stomach to control the amount of food consumed.

Now 19 and a freshman in college, Tayeh shares how he came to make this decision, how his family reacted — with both criticism for taking "the easy way out" and concern — and what happened to him after his surgery.

He has lost 200 pounds in the past year, but the process has been punctuated by moments of despair and his battle with food continues. "I still eat to feel good," he says.

Despite these issues, Tayeh has a much more positive sense of self.

"When I see little fat kids, I want to wake them up and tell them before it's too late just how hard life is for a fat teenager so they won't have to grow up to be like me, with a band around my stomach," Tayeh says.

Rocky Tayeh recorded his story for Radio Rookies, a program of member station WNYC in New York. It was produced by Kaari Pitkin, and edited by Marianne McCune and Karen Michel.

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