For as long as she can remember, Grace Tapia had a double chin. Even when she was a teenager. Even when she was skinny.
But it wasn’t until 2013 that the 38-year-old mom decided to do something about it after seeing a special on a nighttime news show about AirSculpt, a lipo-laser procedure that uses air pressure to remove fat through a 2-mm hole without scarring.
“I was always complaining about having a double chin for my entire life, even in my teenage years when I wasn’t overweight,” Tapia tells PEOPLE. “It runs in my family, and it’s always bothered me.”
Following the quick, 20-minute procedure, she saw results in three weeks. And then an unexpected thing happened: Tapia decided that she wanted the rest of her body to match her new chin.
“A few days after the surgery I decided to go to the gym and eat healthy and do everything the right way,” she said. “I started looking up things on the Internet and reading about a healthy lifestyle. I became this person that wanted to try everything healthy and see what worked for me. I started cooking with less oil, no oil and healthy oils like grapeseed oil. I started cooking less salty foods and more chicken, vegetables and healthy foods. I started eating way less carbs and smaller portions.”
Tapia also served her nutritious meals to her husband, children and mother, and in turn made their lifestyles healthier as well.
“We stopped eating out and cut fast food out of our lifestyle. We also don’t drink soda in the house,” she says. “At first my kids and my family complained a little bit, but then they got used to it.”
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It’s now been three years since her chin surgery, and Tapia has lost 70 lbs. — and her family members have lost significant amounts of weight as well.
“My husband lost 30 lbs., my mom lost 50 lbs. and my 15-year-old daughter also lost 50 lbs. — our household has lost a total of 200 lbs.,” she says. “And we’ve kept it off.”
Her surgeon, Dr. Aaron Rollins, says it’s not uncommon for his patients to make major lifestyle changes after undergoing AirSculpt procedures.
“It’s very inspiring to people and it gives them a major boost,” he says. “They look in the mirror and they see how they used to look and how they want to look, so they take a lot better care of themselves.”