Obesity impacts millions of Americans, and the same was true for 23-year-old Amber Rachdi. Weighing in at more than 650 pounds, the young woman was barely able to stand up, let alone lead a normal life. When doctors warned her that she might not survive another decade like this, she decided to make a change. After dropping more than 400 pounds, Amber became an inspiration to anyone facing a challenge that seems impossible to overcome. Read on to see Amber’s incredible transformation.
She Decided To Face Her Weight Problem
All humans have issues that they face, and for Amber Rachdi one of her most predominant struggles was her weight. She had spent most of her life being overweight and was ready to do something about it.
She made the brave choice to go onto the show My 600-lb Life to take an honest look at her circumstances and what needed to change. Though the journey ahead would be long, it was a decision she would ultimately be grateful she made.
Young And Immobile
Though Amber was only 23 years old, she was beginning to find it challenging to move around. Weighing in at 657 pounds, she simply had too much weight to carry and was unable to maneuver with the agility of the average young person.
This meant that when it came to leaving the house to do basic errands, she needed to be in a motor scooter or pushed in a wheelchair. Her lack of mobility put a significant limit on the types of activities she could do.
Wanting A Normal Life
Amber’s weight caused her to have to spend nearly all of her time at home. She grew up in a small town in Oregon, and her neighbors had begun to notice her obesity. Even though she was known as a sweet girl, it was hard for people to relate to her way of life.
Fortunately for Amber, she had a strong support system with people who loved her unconditionally. Her parents and her boyfriend stuck by her side through the difficult process.
A Life-Long Illness
Amber struggled with obesity from a young age, explaining that she didn’t feel satisfied when eating. She spent most of her life weighing 3-4 times as much as her peers and was 160 pounds at just five years old.
It was difficult for Amber to play with other kids as a young girl since she couldn’t run around well with excess weight in her legs. As she got older, she got used to being an outlier among others her age.
Stuck In A Vicious Cycle
The heavier Amber got, the more insecure she became. As her anxiety about her weight increased, she found that eating was her only way to self soothe. But the more she would comfort eat, the more she would weigh, creating a vicious cycle.
Her overeating habits made it difficult for Amber to understand portion control. She was eating nearly double the recommended number of meals per day, plus sugary snacks in between. Amber needed help psychologically to get on the right track with food.
Taking The First Step
The number one starting place for anyone in Amber’s situation is a trip to the doctor. Amber was fortunate enough to be treated by Dr. Nowzaradan, who specializes in obesity. She and her loved ones flew from Oregon to Houston, Texas, just to see the expert.
Leaving the house was enough of a feat for Amber, let alone getting on an airplane. She needed to occupy three seats to be able to fly, a reality that further worsened her anxiety.
A Reality Check
Amber and her parents were comfortable with Dr. Nowzaradan, knowing that he was an expert to be trusted. It was the doctor’s job to be upfront and honest about Amber’s condition, while simultaneously encouraging the family that help was on the way.
The game-changer for Amber was hearing that her condition put her at such a high health risk that she may not live to be 30. She was more determined than ever to make a change.
Losing Her First 17 Pounds
Amber discovered that she would need to lose 17 pounds just to be eligible for gastric bypass surgery. To pull this off, Amber would need to start receiving help from a mental health expert who could help with her food addiction.
Amber started seeing a therapist and taking well-being classes. She learned about healthy food alternatives she could prepare herself. She also started taking daily walks, which was the highest level of exercise that her body could withstand for the time being.
Her Boyfriend Was All In
Amber was able to lose the first 17 pounds in part because of the support of her boyfriend, Rowdy. He admitted that he might have been a negative influence on Amber’s obesity, especially considering Amber had gained hundreds of pounds since being with him.
The tricky part was that Rowdy wanted to be loving and encouraging of Amber, but needed to learn how to point her in a healthy direction. He was able to acknowledge his faults and was willing to learn all that he could by Amber’s side.
The First Year Of Success
While many of the contestants on My 600-lb Life don’t ever receive gastric bypass surgery, Dr. Nowzaradan felt that it was a must for Amber. The surgery reduced her stomach size to that of a baseball and helped motivate her to move forward.
By the show’s completion, she had lost an outstanding 267 pounds! After the first 92 pounds, she was able to join a gym. With well over 200 pounds gone, she could begin engaging in more vigorous exercise.
As difficult as it was to take the first step and get help, it was the start of a string of decisions that grew Amber’s confidence. With the help of health experts, she was able to identify that her anxiety disorder was the root of her need to overeat.
While Amber learned ways to take better care of herself physically, she also was discovering how to keep herself mentally healthy. Exercise helped her body and mind, so she started attended the gym daily.
Ending Things With Rowdy
While on My 600-lb Life, it became clear to audiences that Rowdy and Amber may not be the best fit for one another. They ultimately broke up but remained close friends. A year after being on the show, Amber even defended Rowdy against upset fans.
Some accused Rowdy of being Amber’s enabler, to which Amber responded with a Twitter post. She wrote, “In defense of Rowdy, my ex who was on the show: who do ya’ll think is taking pictures of me at the gym? He IS a good, supportive friend.”
Reaching New Goals
While the initial 267 pounds Amber had lost on the show were an amazing start, she still had a ways to go. Though her weight was now less than 400 pounds, she still was considered obese.
With a newfound sense of confidence and boundaries in place between her and her ex, Amber held strong to her convictions. She kept progressing and lost a total of 420 pounds, bringing her weight down to about 237 pounds.
She Received Skin Removal Surgery
Since the human body isn’t made to carry so many hundreds of pounds, loose skin can result from losing a massive amount of weight. In Amber’s case, she lost almost two-thirds of her peak body weight, meaning that she hand a lot of excess skin.
To improve her skin’s elasticity, she had to undergo skin removal surgery. The procedure was a success, and today Amber looks much more like your run-of-the-mill woman in her 20s.
The Gym Is A Part Of Her Life
Once the weight is off, a major challenge is keeping it off. The momentum Amber had at the beginning of her journey has understandably slowed now that her health has improved. She admitted on Instagram that she sometimes has to drag herself to the gym.
She noted that no matter how much she whines about it, she has never once regretted going to the gym. The priceless feeling afterward reminds Amber that she is strong and capable.
Social Media Presence
When Amber was severely obese, it was difficult for her to face the outside world. Now that she has a newfound confidence, she loves posting selfies and sharing her thoughts on social media.
Before, Amber could barely stand up straight for 30 seconds. Today, she has more than 100,000 followers on Instagram who love to see all the great things she’s accomplishing. Thousands of people have left words of encouragement on Amber’s social media pages.
Trying New Looks
One way that Amber has come into her own is by expressing herself in her fashion. Her Instagram is full of selfies that boast an array of styles. From short, blonde hair to partially shaved, long black hair, Amber loves to try different looks.
When Amber was severely obese, she didn’t have much of a choice in what she wore. After losing so much weight, she had the opportunity to revamp her closet and control how she presents herself.
Becoming A Beauty Guru
In addition to hair and fashion, Amber also expresses herself through makeup. Her talent hasn’t gone unrecognized, and some of her followers have even asked her to record makeup tutorials. She loves to follow recent trends like face jewels and defined eyebrows.
Her increased presence both online and in real life is a reflection of the confidence and motivation that’s resulted from her weight loss. Commenters compared the way she looks in this photograph to that of Scarlett Johansson, a compliment that likely went a long way to Amber.
She Goes All Out With Her Nails
The beauty guru recently began experimenting with complex nail designs, as well. Where her nails are often short and plain in older photos, her images show off her flair for intricate nail designs.
When she was spending most of her time at home, she didn’t have as much of an excuse to get all done up. Now that she’s able to flourish out in society, she takes pride in her appearance and the ability to express herself with her style.
She Got A Higher Education
Being able to go outside and function in society again meant that Amber could, at last, do something she had put off: go back to school. After achieving mental and physical stability, she decided to pursue a higher education.
Though she prefers to keep her life private these days, rumor has it that she graduated college with an English degree. Given her determination in the face of obesity, we have no doubt that she excelled academically.
She Said “Yes”
In June 2016, just a year after appearing on My 600-lb Life, Amber announced on social media that she was getting married! She didn’t specify who the lucky man was since she prefers to keep her private life out of the limelight.
One reason for her hesitancy to reveal personal information to the masses is due to her negative experience on the show. She has such a distaste for the producers that she refused to be featured on the spinoff series, My 600-lb Life: Where Are They Now?
Using Her Experience To Help Others
Now that Amber has come out on top, she’s using her experience to help others get through their issues with weight and overeating. She holds Q&As on her social media platforms to candidly talk about the struggles of her recovery and how she overcame them.
Though she offers her followers advice from someone who can relate, she also reminds them that everyone is different. Amber encourages others to get professional help just as she did while extending comfort and support throughout their unique journey.
An Inspiration To Others
While many of Amber’s followers also struggle with weight, others see her as a source of inspiration in overcoming any challenge. Many have commented saying how proud they are of her, regardless of whether or not they have experienced obesity.
Facing a feat as overwhelming as losing 420 pounds is a challenge few of us have experienced. Still, Amber’s accomplishment goes to show that amazing things can be achieved with the right amount of determination and discipline.
Couple Felt Trapped In Their Bodies Until They Made Incredible Changes To Their Lifestyle
Meet Lexi and Danny Reed, who became role models across the world when they turned their lives around in 18 months. Lexi struggled with her weight since childhood. The battle to lose weight never went her way. When she would manage to lose some, it would always come back. Still, she never let her appearance keep her from being social and happy.
When she turned 25, her weight began to take a severe toll on her life. She weighed 392 pounds, and her happiness was fading. The hardest part for Lexi was that her body was holding her back from achieving her dreams. Things looked bleak, but love was waiting just around the corner.
Lexi Meets Danny And Falls Madly In Love
Lexi and Danny Reed were always meant to be together. When the couple began dating, it was clear Danny didn’t care what Lexi looked like. He had fallen madly in love with the amazing person she was. Luckily for Danny, Lexi felt the same way about him.
Of course, our story doesn’t end here. Danny struggled with his own weight issues, and together they made bad food choice after bad food choice. They may have been happy together, but they weren’t healthy together. Coming up, the problem becomes too urgent to ignore.
The Downward Health Spiral Continues
Danny and Lexi knew they had a problem, but didn’t deal with at the time. Danny was 280 pounds and encouraged gluttonous eating. When it came time for meals, they never cooked, preferring to order in massive amounts of food or eat out.
Sadly, the couple has even admitted they used to spend hours at buffets eating until they were stuffed. Eating was easily their main activity and most shared interest. It was also ruining their health. They might not have realized it at the time, but if they hadn’t changed their lives, they might not be alive today!
Lexi Admits She Has A Problem
Lexi Reed knew she had a problem and talked openly about it, hoping to help others with the same issues. Growing up she said, “we never had a lot of money and my parents never cooked. Processed foods were always easier to purchase than healthy foods.”
When she started dating Danny, things didn’t change. They actually got worse. When they weren’t at restaurants Lexi said they would binge eat and watch TV. She added, “no matter what the mood, food was always there for me.”
Watching TV Was As Active As The Couple Could Be
Being overweight together, Danny and Lexi had a limited active life. Unable to go on hikes or go biking, they stayed in most nights and watched TV. It wasn’t the healthiest lifestyle, and they realized they needed to make a change.
Lexi was first to realize that a change in her lifestyle needed to happen. She was a happy and positive person and was determined to lead a long life. The problem was she had spent so much time being inactive, she had zero motivation to become active. That is until Danny did something unexpected!
Danny Gets Down On One Knee
When Danny proposed, everything changed for Lexi. She said, “He never saw me as my size, asked me to change, or made me feel as anything other than beautiful.” Feeling like a queen on the inside, Lexi was devastated trying to find a wedding dress that would fit her.
Lexi, who has never been shy about her size, admitted she weighed 485 pounds at the time, “Nobody knew how to make me feel like a bride and not my size.” At her lowest point, she questioned if she would be able to find a wedding dress. Spoiler alert, she did!
The Wedding Goes Off Without A Hitch
Lexi found the perfect wedding dress and the couple had a perfect wedding. If they wanted their happiness to continue, however, they needed to work a few things out. After getting married, the couple began to look at life ahead, including having children.
At Lexi’s weight, having a child was a huge health risk. If she were to get pregnant, there was a strong chance both her, and the child wouldn’t survive. Having a child wasn’t the only reason Lexi put her health first, though. Keep reading to learn about the others!
Lexi Worried She’d Never Be Able To Travel
Aside from the danger of having kids, Lexi knew that if he didn’t get healthy, she would never be able to travel. Going to Universal Studios to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was one of her dreams. The bigger she got, the more she saw that dream fading.
At almost 500 pounds, she knew she wouldn’t be able to fit on the rides, let alone a plane. She lived in Indiana and was desperate to go to Florida. If flying was her only option, then she knew what she needed to do!
When Doing Nothing Finally Became Unbearable
One year of marriage flew by, and nothing changed. Lexi and Danny still spent most of their time in front of the television eating. Danny was content, but Lexi was slowly becoming fed up. She had big dreams and needed to lose weight to accomplish them.
Thinking about change and actually changing are two different things, though, and she still hadn’t found the motivation to move. Then New Years came, and a fresh start brought a new attitude. Find out what changed next!
A New Year’s Resolution Worth Keeping
On New Year’s day in 2016, Lexi put the brakes on her and Danny’s binge eating ways. She resolved to change her diet and exercise habits, and Danny was coming along for the ride whether he liked it or not!
Convincing Danny to change his life turned out to be easy. His lifestyle habits were just as unhealthy, and he was ready to restart his life. If the couple were to have kids, what kind of father would he be if could play with them? With his participation and support, the couple began the long road to a new life!
Danny Fully Commits, For Better Or Worse
Danny admits he was never excited about the idea of working out and eating right. In his own words, “At first the idea didn’t sound great because it was always good going home, sitting down, eating and not having to worry about anything.” Good thing for him he cared about supporting his wife more than his bad habits.
Being a supportive husband meant making sacrifices for the greater good. To help Lexi change her life, Danny changed his too, “It’s a new year and something to work toward while helping Lexi out as well.” To stick to their goals, the couples made a few simple rules. Keep reading to learn what they were!
Rules Are Rules For A Reason
Because reversing bad habits is hard, Lexi and Danny laid out some rules for their new lives. They also placed bets with their friends they wouldn’t crack. For the first month, they vowed, “no eating out, no soda, no alcohol, no cheat meals, and working out for 30 minutes five times a week.”
Going cold turkey wasn’t going to be easy, but the couple was determined to prove they had self-control. They were taking back their lives and had no idea they would become an inspiration to others dealing with weight problems worldwide.
In Her Own Words
If you don’t believe us about how determined Lexi was, take it from her, “We were fed up with the life that we were living and all the things that we weren’t able to do together as a couple.” There was so much she wanted to do, including going on romantic walks with her husband.
Of course, they planned to start a family at some point too, “we also feared if we didn’t get our health under control, we would never be able to start a family.” To track their progress, Lexi took pictures, eventually posting them on social media to show the world that change is possible.
The Trouble With The Gym
One of the best ways to lose weight is to go to the gym regularly. Finding a gym turned out to be to a tough task for Danny and Lexi. They needed to find a place with the equipment they needed and a regimen that would work for them. Because of her weight, Lexi suffered from severe joint paint and needed a gym that would support her.
The couple didn’t have the money to pay for a personal trainer and didn’t plan to, either. This journey was one they were taking together; they just had to find the right place to go first! Next, the search for the perfect gym comes to a perfect end!
The Perfect Gym For The Perfect Plan
Lexi had a long list of demands for the perfect gym. To go along with her joint pain, she was incredibly self-conscious of other people watching her exercise. It took some hunting, but they found a gym that had the equipment Lexi needed that wasn’t overcrowded.
At this wonder gym, Lexi even fell in love with one of the machines, ” I found a machine called the CrossRamp that didn’t hurt my joints at 485 pounds — I fell in love with it.” With exercise taken care, food came next. Keep reading to learn about their change in diet habits!
New Food, New You!
Going to the gym once a day was a good start, but there were more fish to fry. Or not fry actually, probably bake. Baking is exactly what Lexi and Danny began doing. They stopped going out to eat and starting making their meals, controlling everything that went into their bodies.
It would have been easy to bake a frozen pizza and call that cooking, but then nothing would have changed. Lexi and Danny loved food, and now they were learning how to make it for each other.
Don’t Call It A Diet
So far, we’ve used the word diet a lot. If you asked Lexi and Danny what they called it, they would tell you it was a new way of life; not a diet. Lexi strongly believes that diets are temporary, and what they were doing was going to be permanent.
To make things easier, Lexi made a list of foods she loved eating, then found healthy recipes to make them. This way she wasn’t sacrificing flavor for belt sizes, “I started taking the foods I loved and making healthier versions, so I no longer felt like I had to give up something or deprive [myself].”
Support Means The World To Lexi
Without the undying support of Danny, who knows if Lexi would have been able to turn her life around. The same can be said about Danny and the support he received from Lexi. Together, the couple was proving how strong they were.
Using the support of each made the start of the journey easy to handle. But there was still a long road ahead of them. As they continued to work out and push themselves to new heights, something absolutely amazing happened! Up next, what going to the gym turned into for Lexi and Danny!
New Friendships Are Made At The Gym
Going to the gym turned into a blessing for Lexi. As she lost weight, she gained more confidence and started taking classes. At these classes something she never expected happened, she began making new friends at her Pulse class!
Making new friends who were also into working out meant Lexi’s support system began to grow. She even started having fun working out, “I love dancing to my favorite music and not feeling like it’s a workout. We can do a song full of squats and even though my legs are burning, it’s so much fun that I don’t even notice.”
The Results Become Visible
One of the hardest parts about working out and eating right is it can take awhile for the results to show. Lexi had achieved so much that results came instantly. She lost 20 pounds a month when she started. You can see from the picture above she’d have no problem finding a wedding dress today.
At a certain point losing weight became more difficult. Lexi stayed undeterred. She kept going to the gym every day and turned to calorie counting to watch her food intake even more. Without much thought, her new diet became a permanent lifestyle!
Danny’s Life In The Spotlight
Danny never weighed as much as Lexi, but his body changed significantly too. He supported her on every step of her journey, and you can see the amazing results he got above!
Two years after changing his lifestyle. Danny went from 280 pounds to 190! He lost a majority of the weight in the first year, but like his wife kept the fight going even when his progress slowed down. Coming up, the results of Lexi’s hard work revealed! Prepare to be blown away!
Lexi Is Literally A Different Person
As of May 2018, Lexi has lost an incredible 312 pounds! Peaking at close to 500 pounds, she is literally a different person than when she began her journey! The transformation has been incredible for Lexi, and you’ll never guess the first big change she noticed!
Lexi says the first time she noticed a difference in her body was when her stomach stopped resting on the table when she sat down at restaurants. She now has plenty of wiggle room on the rare occasion she doesn’t cook for herself! Noticing the extra space was the first big prideful moment that let her know the fight was worth taking.
Instagram Fame Followed
To track her progress, Lexi posted daily pictures of her at the gym to Instagram. She started the account “Fat Girl Fed Up,” to show herself, and everyone around her, how much her life was changing for the better. She followed each picture with a motivational quote.
Before long, she had a huge following! At last count, “Fat Girl Fed Up” had over 750,000 followers. Those who followed her journey were inspired every day. We can only imagine how many countless lives she has helped make their battles to health and happiness feel easier!