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Millions of Americans are plagued by obesity every year with many more being considered morbidly obese. This may be due to their diet or their lack of exercise, however, heredity also plays a role. Nonethless, in Portland, Oregon, 23-year-old woman Amber Rachdi, decided to face her struggle with obesity when she weighed in at 650 pounds. She decided to feature herself and her journey on the TLC hit show My 600 Pound Life where she describes her story and situation.

Rachdi, even from birth, was considered morbidly obese for her age range. As the years continued, she found it increasingly difficult to simply walk around. Before long, she needed to be escorted in a wheelchair just to run basic errands. Her neighbors had noticed her obesity and began to talk about it behind her back. “I couldn’t help constantly eating, my stomach was just never satisfied”, says Rachdi. I could never run around with my friends since I was a weight outlier”.

Rachdi explains her biggest struggle at the time which was that the more she weighed, the more insecure she felt. She explained that she resolves her insecurities through mindless eating which only made her gain weight, thus creating a cycle of only raising her discomfort. “Eventually I was unable to acquire portion control”, says Rachdi. “I was nearly eating double the recommended number of meals per day with sugary snack in-between. Now, my problem was not only physical but psychological”.

After understanding and accepting the gravity of her situation, Rachdi admits to finally being ready to “take the first step”. Amber first traveled to Texas to be treated by obesity specialist Dr Nowzaradan. Rachdi needed three seats to occupy the airplane due to her weight. She also needed to be carried in a whellchair and lifted in a gurney before arriving in Texas. Accroding to Dr. Nowzaradan, Rachdi’s “body would give up before seeing her 30th birthday. Her organs would move less rapidly until the shut down completely”. He also says that her parents must be supportive of Amber by “limiting junk food [and her access to junk food] and limiting themselves to 1200 calories per day”. Upon leaving Dr. Nowzaradan’s office, Amber’s journey had begun.

Amber decided to first lose 17 pounds, the number required for her to even be eligible for gastric by-pass surgery. She started by attending psychotherapy and taking well-being classes where she learned about healthier food alternatives for her body. She also started walking around daily for as long as her body could handle (about 5-10 minutes). Eventually, with the support of her boyfriend, Rowdy, Amber was able to lose the first 17 pounds of her journey. Rowdy himself admits it was difficult as he not only wanted to encourage his girlfriend but also point him in a healthier direction.

As the months continued, Amber’s diet became more restrictive. Her breakfast now consisted of nothing more than an egg and some fruit, her lunch consisted of vegetables and very light carbs and her dinner consisted of a piece of meat (protein) with more vegetables. Her walks also became more frequent with increasingly longer durations until she was able to walk over 40 minutes without a break! When she weighed herself once more at Dr. Nowzaradan’s office, she was stunned to find she had lost 420 pounds. “You have went above and beyond in showing you are capable of controlling yourself so I am approving you for weight loss [gastoral bypass] surgery”, happily reported Dr. Nowzaradan. Upon surgery, Amber’s weight was maintained and she now weighs about 230 pounds and feels “more satisfied than she has ever before”.

Amber’s transformation has been reported as one of the most devastating in the history of My 600 Pound Life and her story continues to trend and serve as an inspiration for many. For more inspiration, here is a comparison of Amber Rachdi then compared to now: along with further information about her weight-loss journey. A little commitment can make all the difference!

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