When Jen Larsen decided to undergo a major and risky weight-loss surgery, she was convinced it was her only option. Larsen had struggled with obesity since childhood and suffered from depression, fear and anxiety. Desperate for a way out, she thought the surgery would transform her life.
In 2007, Larsen underwent a duodenal switch procedure which rerouted her intestines and reduced her stomach to roughly the size of a banana. She knew the surgery could lead to potentially fatal complications –- but what she did not understand was how it would make her feel.
At first, Larsen was happy with the results. In the above clip from "In Deep Shift with Jonas Elrod," she recalls being exhilarated post-surgery. "I was losing the weight so quickly and people were like, 'Oh my god, you look awesome,' and this was everything I had wanted," she says.
Larsen continued to lose weight, dropping size after size. "I was almost a size two -- couldn't lose any more weight," she says. "And I realized that I was infuriated that I couldn't get any smaller."
In total, Larsen dropped nearly 200 pounds. "I was scrawny and terrifying," she says.
When Larsen was overweight, she thought it was the worst thing in the world. "And now I'm genuinely, objectively tiny and I'm still miserable," she says. "I don't know who I am. I didn't recognize my face."
Larsen tried therapy, but she could not shake the feeling of being a foreigner in her own body. "I felt so lost," she says. "So completely lost because this thing I had been hoping would fix everything didn't fix anything."
In the video below, Larsen joins HuffPost Live and shares how she found happiness and self-awareness after her weight loss.
While surgery wasn't the magical cure Larsen was hoping for, she's taking steps to heal her body, mind and spirit. Watch Larsen use marital arts to help conquer her fear and anxiety.