Weight Loss: Amber Rachdi, now 24, from Troutdale in Oregon, weighed 11 stone when she turned 5 — equivalent of an average adult woman. 19 years later, virtually housebound and in constant pain she was ashamed of her enormous 46st (657lb) frame. But, when she got the warning from doctors that she will die by the age of 30, she motivated herself to bring a change, and in one year lost 20st. Trully a huge weight loss.
‘Sometimes I think to myself I’m never going to change,’ she admitted in the run-up to life-saving bariatric surgery. ‘Everything hurts. I am so limited in what I can do and where I can go. ‘I feel trapped. I’m miserable. I don’t like being this person. I don’t like being this size. Sometimes I feel so hopeless, I feel that it’s not worth it. That maybe it would be better if I’d never been born.’
Ms Rachdi blames her habit of eating healthy food for her excess pounds. She says despite her hefty frame she has always eaten healthily. She further says food for her was a way to curb feelings of anxiety but says it instead made things worse in the end.
‘My relationship with food is unhealthy,’ she explains. ‘I spend a lot of the day stressing about what I’m going to eat and when I’m going to get it. Food gives Ms Rachdi comfort, and lets her avoid reality. Her mother Patty admits that she fears her daughter would die. ‘She always felt she didn’t live up to our expectations,’ she says. ‘She just became a typical underachiever. ‘We were told that if she doesn’t lose weight, she will die before she’s 30.’
Ms Rachdi says it was hurting when sometimes my dad would make snide comments about my size. ‘I want to be successful and show the world what stuff I’m made of, but as long as I’m obese, I will never be able to be that person’, she says.
Last autumn she had a life-saving gastric surgery and has since lost a staggering 20st. But to become the ‘successful, independent woman’ she wants to be, she will have to lose another 9st.
Weight loss has definitely changed things. After so much weight loss, she can now shop without help, and has also learned to drive. Things are finally looking up, for Ms Rachdi.