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Big Budah’s weight-loss surgery, one year later

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Posted at 9:30 PM, Jan 30, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-31 00:59:02-05

SALT LAKE CITY - It's been one year since FOX 13's Big Budah underwent surgery and changed his lifestyle to help overcome the personal struggles he's had with his weight.

Last February, Budah underwent gastric sleeve surgery, something he says was a life-saving operation. Weighing in at more than 400 pounds, Budah was at risk for serious health problems. He'd tried other exercises and diets, but nothing seemed to work.

Gastric sleeve surgery is a one-hour procedure that removes about 80 percent of the stomach. Budah then had to severely limit his food intake to six to eight ounces of food three times a day.

"Basically my stomach is the size of a test tube, like a baby's stomach," Budah said.

The weight started to melt off. Budah says he lost between eight and ten pounds a week.

Budah is now 140 pounds lighter and living healthier. His wife Jennifer; daughters Jordan, Jaelyn and Kilani; and son Lisona say they're proud of their dad and are trying to keep up with his new way of life.

"I was always walking ahead of him waiting for him and now he's either with me or walking ahead of me," Jennifer said.

He can do things he hadn't been able to do before, from ziplining to riding roller coasters.

"I'd try to tie my shoe like that or I'd go up like this but when we were walking through Costco, I noticed my laces were untied... hey look it's a regular person tying their shoes," Budah said.

And Budah's wife and kids say they're spending a lot more time with their dad.

"Now he comes home, he takes a minute to relax and then he's up taking the kids to wherever he needs to go, just helping out more," Jennifer said.

One of the biggest challenges Budah has had to overcome is changing his diet and giving up some of his favorite foods.

"He kept wanting to eat white rice and it's not good for him but every time he'd tried it, I'd be like I don't think that's a food that you can eat. Finally he's given that up," Jennifer said.

This spring, Budah plans to run a 5K, and depending on how that goes, he'll consider a half marathon.