Courtesy Kaitlyn Smith
February 24, 2015 07:30 PM

Once tipping scales at more than 400 lbs., 19-year-old Kaitlyn Smith from Portland, Tennessee, lost 208 lbs. through diet and exercise. One thing she hasn’t been able to lose is the excess skin, a common side effect of extreme weight loss. As she gears up for, and then undergoes, several skin removal surgeries, Smith will be sharing her story at PEOPLE.com. Come back every week for updates on her inspirational journey. You can also check out Kaitlyn’s website and follow her on Facebook.

It’s hard to believe that my first surgery is done and I’m now on day five of recovery. It’s nothing like I expected. I thought I’d be in lots of pain and just completely miserable, but honestly the pain has been tolerable – more like discomfort and lots of tightness. By the second day I was up walking some and even showered (with help, of course)!

My poor little booty hurts from having to stay seated all the time; to help with the pain, my coach Kina bought me a blowup doughnut ring that kids play with in the pool. That thing has been my best friend! I’m still pretty hunched over and moving slowly, but I’m trying each day to progress more and more. I am determined to have a quick and healthy recovery.

I cannot wait to get these drainage tubes out and not have to rely on my amazing family and coach so much. They have to help me get to the shower, get situated in bed and basically stay by my side the whole time. I cannot do much on my own but I do what I can.

It’s weird to look at myself now and see my body. I’ve never not had a belly hanging or skin hanging. But now there’s nothing. Also the fact that the surgeon removed 10-plus lbs. of skin blows my mind. He said that there was really no fat left. My stomach muscles were so tight on their own that he didn’t have to do anything extra to them! Thank goodness for Kina always reminding me: “Tighten that core!”

I know I still have a while to go until I’m back to 100 percent, but I’m focusing on healing right now. Good vibes, prayers and all encouragement is greatly appreciated! Thank you to everyone who has messaged me or reached out.

Kaitlyn

This Woman Lost 208 Lbs. – Here’s What She’s Doing Next

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