DALLAS -- At the age of 16, Ava Yazdany had adolescent bariatric surgery, a controversial procedure she said saved her life.
Throughout her teen years, Yazdany struggled with obesity. She would eat out of control at most meals.
"Two to three sandwiches, half a bag of chips and some chocolate," she said. "Basically, whatever we had in the house."
By the time Ava was 16, she tipped the scales at 304 pounds and became the subject of many jokes.
"I couldn't feel," she said. "I would put it toward food. Instead of crying, I would eat."
When diet, exercise and other types of therapy didn't work, Ava told her parents there was only one option left.
"I was at a point in my life where I was, 'either this surgery or you're probably not going to have a daughter anymore,'" Ava said. "I was very depressed and I was not willing to go on anymore."
On February 23 of last year, when doctors determined she was finished growing, Ava underwent adolescent bariatric surgery at Medical City Children's Hospital.
She was only 16.
"I don't know if my daughter would be here today if we hadn't given her the option," said Ava's mother. "That's really how I feel in my heart that we may not have her here today."
Doctors performed gastric bypass surgery on Ava, which made her stomach smaller and caused food to bypass part of her small intestine.
Ava's mother said many doctors wouldn't even look at the teen's case becasue of her age. However, she too cautioned it's not a quick fix surgery.
"I think the maturity level should be there because once they have this surgery they cannot eat like they used to before," she said. "So, it's a big sacrifice and they have to understand that."
More than a year later, Ava just turned 18 and has dropped more than 100 pounds. She weighs 176 pounds and dropped 12 dress sizes.
"I think I was at a 24 and I think right now I'm at 12," she said. "I don't feel like the fat girl anymore."
Ava admits she struggles with the fact she had to have surgery to lose weight instead of through diet and exercise.
"Just because I lost the weight didn't mean I lost my thoughts," she said. "So, I'm still working on changing my thought process and seeing the good in my surgery."