The 19-year-old is sharing her experience with skin-removal surgery after losing half her size

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Credit: Courtesy Kaitlyn Smith

Having once tipped the 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.

STAGE TWO IS DONE!

I’m two-thirds of the way done with my excess skin removal! I cannot believe it. This second surgery was six hours long and targeted my back, arms, lower back and side. Dr. Salzhauer blocked the whole day off! He and his staff are truly amazing and took such good care of me. He removed – drum roll please – 10 more pounds of skin!

This trip was much harder on me. The recovery has been BRUTAL, like ten times harder than the first time. I cannot do anything by myself. Since the surgery involved my arms and back I have to be really careful. My poor sisters and mom have had to help me so much! I have had a lot of swelling, bruising, and soreness with this surgery. While it’s completely normal, it’s still no fun.

I also became anemic after surgery. I felt like death! So I started taking iron tablets three times a day and eating lots of greens. I feel so much better these days. My surgeon has asked me to take it super easy, so that’s what I’m doing.

A lot of people are wondering about how much I weigh now. Well truth is I have NO CLUE. I don’t want to know right now – I want to wait a few weeks after the last surgery. For one thing, there is so much swelling for weeks after each surgery, so it wouldn’t be accurate. But I also don’t want to focus on the scale right now. I want to focus on loving myself, becoming healthy and loving my body.

I still eat 100 percent healthy and clean. Of course I can’t work out right now but other than that I’m still doing everything I am supposed to do. This was a big surgery, and my body went through a lot, so recovery is going to be a little longer and I have to just take it easy.

But I’m looking forward to stage three! I’ll be back in Miami in just a few weeks!

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