STATEN ISLAND (PIX11) – A Staten Island woman who grew up in her family’s bakery said she’s always described herself as a heavier girl.

Being around all the treats at Annadale Bakery as a child didn’t help, Antonia Tropiano said.

“You had always something sweet around you,” Tropiano said. “You always had bread around you, as well, and carbs.”

Once the scale hit 310 lbs, the 25-year-old woman knew she had to make a change.

“One point where I weighed myself and looked at the number and I went, ‘I have to do something,” she added.

She tried everything from different diets to weight loss programs, but nothing worked until she underwent gastric bypass surgery at Long Island Jewish Hospital in Forest Hills in Queens.

A year and a half later, Tropiano lost more than half her body weight and is now 148 lbs.

“I feel like I’m floating on air now, definitely, because carrying around that weight was so much,” Tropiano said.

Her doctor, Dr. Armando Castro, says the operation is a two-part process. The first reduces the size of the stomach.

“There’s also what we call a malabsorptive component, which is where the bypass version comes in where we’re basically detouring a part of the early part of the digestive tract to the small intestine where a lot of what we ingest is absorbed,” Dr. Castro said.

With a body mass index of more than 40, Tropiano qualified for the surgery. Currently, people with a BMI of 35 or more and who have accompanying health risks, such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease, also qualify, but those guidelines by the National Institutes of Health were established in 1991.

Recommendations have been suggested to update them to reduce growing levels of obesity. It remains to be seen if Medicare and the insurance industry will embrace the change. Tropiano hopes changes are made so that others can live healthier lives like she is now.

“It was a lot of weight, but now I feel like I’m on thin air.”