Anyone who's successfully lost weight will tell you that the transformation is so much more than the before and after photos. Just watch an episode of TLC's My 600-lb. Life and you'll see how life-changing extreme weight loss can be.
If you're unfamiliar with the show, it follows a person's journey from weighing over 600 pounds through weight loss surgery and lifestyle changes to ultimately dropping the weight.
Check out a few of the amazing transformations from the show to see how weight loss can affect someone's life.
Brittani Fulfer, Season 4
Before: 605 pounds
After: 222 pounds
Brittani says she wanted to lose the weight because she didn't like being a burden on her family and friends. "I felt I had more to offer myself, friends, and family than just having them help take care of me," she said. "I was too young to feel so old. I needed to participate and be a part of the world. I once told my best friend that I am too fabulous to be this un-fabulous."
Weight loss surgery, diet changes and counseling all came into play when it comes to Brittani's weight loss — especially when it came to changing her mindset about food, which she doesn't look at to solve her problems or make her feel better anymore.
"My weight was my prison," Brittani said. "Now I am free, and I can do whatever I want whenever I want."
Melissa Morris, Season 1
Before: 653 pounds
After: 235 pounds
Melissa decided to lose the weight when she realized she physically could not take care of her mom, who had just been diagnosed with cancer. After the weight loss surgery, she says the things that helped her stay on track were her support meetings, weekly weigh-ins, avoiding her "trigger foods", watching her diet in general, and hitting the gym. "I also want to set an example for my children to see what it's like to be healthy," she said.
"Losing weight has given me a life," she continued. "I play outside with my kids and sometimes you can catch me running. I never realized what I was missing until I started losing weight and enjoying life. My weight loss has made my dreams come true."
Nikki Webster, Season 4
Before: 649 pounds
After: 236 pounds
Nikki decided to lose the weight because simply put, her life was too difficult. "We all live with pain and have trials to overcome, but being 650 pounds felt like my obstacles were never ending," she said. "My only outcome was death and I wanted to live."
In addition to weight loss surgery, Nikki says the biggest change she made was incorporating fitness into her life. "Over time, exercise has become more about how it makes me feel rather than something I had to do to lose weight. I never, ever thought I would feel excited about exercise." She also cites her support system's love and encouragement throughout the weight loss process.
"Though I still have many things I need to learn, I am well on my way to being the woman I want to be. I'm comfortable with myself and excited about what's to come. But mostly, losing weight has instilled pride and confidence in me."
Christina Phillips, Season 2
Before: 708 pounds
After: 171 pounds
Christina's 537-pound weight loss journey began when simple things like walking became too difficult. "Getting up and walking just a few feet made me feel like I was going to die," she said. "I couldn't drive, walk far, or go out with friends and family. I was miserable, and I knew I had to do something."
After having gastric bypass surgery, Christina educated herself about proper nutrition and portion sizes. She avoids simple carbs (i.e., chips, soda and sugar) and processed foods, logs everything she eats, and meal preps every week. She hits the gym at least four times a week and makes sure to get 10,000 steps every day.
"My life has changed so much since the weight loss, she said. "I can do things I never imagined possible when I weighed more than 700 pounds. I've been able to try indoor skydiving and I can keep up with my 3-year-old nephew, too! I can walk miles without getting tired. And that's a long way from when just a few feet made me feel like I was dying."
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