SALT LAKE CITY -- FOX 13's Big Budah is recovering after undergoing a form of gastric bypass surgery in an effort to save his health and his life.
"When I first walked in, one of the first people I met with was the hospital chaplain and I asked, 'Is that good or bad?'" Budah cracked prior to surgery.
He acknowledged being nervous about complications from the surgery, known as "Gastric Sleeve Surgery." His doctors said afterward that it went well. They removed about 70 percent of his stomach.
"The surgery went as perfectly as a surgery can go," said Dr. Daniel Cottam of the BMI Clinic. "And he was totally stable throughout, and we're happy with what the outcome was."
Budah has struggled with weight loss for years, deciding to undergo the procedure to avoid future health problems. He shared his decision to go through with the surgery to encourage people to talk about obesity and weight loss.
"This isn't for everybody. This is for me," Budah said. "I tried going to the gym, I tried diets, I tried everything to do it on my own power. I just needed some help. So this is the help that I need."
Budah has had a lot of support online and in real life from viewers of FOX 13's Good Day Utah. On Facebook and Twitter, people expressed their well wishes and shared their stories of undergoing similar weight loss surgeries.
"It means a lot that all these people care and they love our dad like we love him," said Jaelyn Te'o, Budah's daughter. "They're writing all these nice things about him!"
Budah's doctors said he can expect to see some rapid weight loss after he recovers from surgery. He will have support to keep the weight off, Dr. Cottam said, with exercise and nutrition counseling, support groups and therapeutic assistance.
"The big thing is to avoid the focus around food when you're getting together for activities, which is something we could all do better," said Dr. Christina Richards. "Try to focus more on the activity and what's going on as opposed to food that's there."
Budah's family said they are excited to see him be more active.
"He will be definitely more active with us!" said his daughter, Kilani.