I'm a Midwest girl, born, raised and educated. In the Heartland, we like our men with calloused hands, our politicians to have spines and our dinners to stick to our ribs.

That's just how it is. Our men work hard and play hard, our elected officials stand up for what's right, and we eat. Every occasion is an opportunity to eat a hearty meal–holidays, birthdays, Wednesdays after church.

BarbecuePreparing and eating big meals is part of our culture. It's also part of the reason why my weight got a little out of control. I'd been thinking that I should do something about it for a while, but every time I'd commit to a diet another barbecue or family gathering would come up and I'd find myself sidled up beside a heaping plate of potato salad, cold-cut sandwiches and beans.

Just about the time I was resigned to the fact that my weight would always be an issue, an opportunity came up at work for me to transfer to the Miami office.

Beach blanket bingo! This was my opportunity.

If I was going to move to "Party City," I was going to get myself in shape, make the most of it. I was going to get in shape, but I didn't have a lot of time–six months.

So I did a little research and found out about gastric sleeve surgery–relatively safe, cost-effective and the ability to help me take off 50 percent of my excess weight in six months. Perfect.

I had the procedure, recovered and began my new life, which now consists of a healthier diet and exercise routine.

Miami Beach Then I made the move to Miami.

Are you kidding me? I had no idea places like this existed, and I never anticipated that I could fit in so well and have so much fun.

The South Beach nightclubs. Miami Beach, and oh the men!

The men down here are amazing. They might not have calloused hands, but they sure dress better than the guys back home and they are all so toned and tanned. Turns out they like Midwestern girls, too–especially blondes who are in pretty good shape themselves.

Girls like me!

When I got down here, I dated three or four nights a week. And real dates, too. No standing around a keg eating potato chips. We go out dancing. We go to outdoor concerts in December. And we go boating. It's amazing, and not everything revolves around food, which is part of the reason I've been so successful at keeping my weight off.

If you're moving to a new city, do what I did: Use it as an opportunity to get in shape. You'll be glad you did.