This Woman Is Unrecognizable After Her Life Changing Decision
From as young as five, Amber Rachdi’s childhood was tormented by feelings of emotional turmoil and anxiety. As she got older, her emotional distress continued to worsen. When she turned 24, her life had made a turn for the worst, and it didn’t seem as if there was any hope for her to recover. She was forced to drop out of college and couldn’t find a job. It was horrible, especially considering that this was supposed to be when she should be enjoying her life: the lovely twenties! However, things were going to change for Amber. It all started with a fateful visit to the doctor, a person from whom she got some terrifying news which made her turn her life around in a big way. Soon thereafter, she completely transformed, so much so that even her family and friends had difficulty recognizing her. What was it that made Amber make such a drastic decision in her life? Keep reading to find out!
A Sad Beginning
Born in Troutdale, Oregon, ever since she was a little girl, Amber Rachdi had a lot of difficulties keeping her weight in check. She couldn’t control her eating habits. At the age of five, she weighed an astonishing 72.5 kg (160 lbs.) This is way above the typical weight for 5-year-olds, as kids at that age normally weigh close to 18kg (around 40 lbs.)
There was, however, something very particular about the way Amber’s body distributed weight. For some odd reason, the weight was distributed mainly in her lower body, specifically, around her legs. This made it extremely difficult for her to do the things which normal children enjoy doing, mainly movement-related fun activities such as running. Still, Amber didn’t seem to want to let up on eating. She seemed to always be hungry, and no matter how much food she ate, she never seemed to be full. This led her to develop a dangerous habit of overeating, which pushed her into a crevice of emotional anguish.
A Life Connected To A Seat
For years, Amber suffered from this eating disorder which caused her to put on immense weight. As she transitioned into adulthood, she was classified as morbidly obese. Approaching her mid-twenties, Amber was already weighing close to 300 kg (almost 660 lbs), all caused by her habit of overeating. Needless to say, her size and inability to stop eating caused her tremendous difficulty in her personal life.
Apart from her obvious challenge with walking, Amber also had another major issue: school. Unfortunately, because her weight was too much for her both physically and emotionally, she dropped out of college. To make matters even worse, Amber couldn’t get a job, leaving her unemployed and an emotional wreck. Consequently, she had no choice but to go live with her parents again, but this time, she moved back with Rowdy, her boyfriend. Sadly, because of her weight problem, she could barely do anything to help around the house; no washing, no cooking; no driving: she was devastated.
Alive But Not Quite
Being obese affected Amber in so many ways. Being a young woman in her twenties, it’s expected that she go out to parties and have a good time, like most women her age. Unfortunately, Amber couldn’t afford such a luxury. She felt ashamed of her body: as a result, she stayed indoors so that people couldn’t stare or point at her. What’s worse, she couldn’t drive because she couldn’t fit inside a vehicle.
Living at home didn’t bring her any joy. She could barely do anything on her own: to take a shower, someone had to be there with her. When she left the house (which she seldom did), it always had to do with food. She would go to the supermarket and peruse the aisles on a motorized scooter. She was sad about her situation, but what could she have done? Little did she know that something was going to happen which would turn her life around in a big way.
Eating Helped Her Anxiety
She has stated that even when she’s stuffed from eating so much food, for some reason if she sees anything which is edible, she has to eat it. She believes that her eating disorder stems from the need to control her issue with anxiety, a sentiment which was echoed by her mother, Patti.
Her eating habit played a huge toll on Amber’s psyche, causing her to almost hate herself. She used to call herself a “nasty monster.” She also believed that food was a way for her to avoid the fear of being a failure at life. This is because when she’s eating, she doesn’t focus on the challenges and struggles she has to go through in life.
Amber was aware of the fact that food was a means to an end for her. Eating was a distraction from the multiple problems she was experiencing in life, including the guilt of having put on so much weight. Every day, she occupied her time by thinking about all the food she could have eaten each day. However, that didn’t bring her much comfort: she felt sick to her stomach. Even though she had her family, she felt lonely: she was desperate for a solution to her problem.
Recognizing that their daughter was going down the wrong path, her parents sought medical help. She knew that her overeating was as a result of a deeply-rooted inferiority complex from which she suffered, one which developed during her childhood. However, when they went to see the doctor, things were about to go topsy turvy. He told the family that should Amber continue eating the way she was, she wouldn’t live to see 30.
The Need For A Change
When Amber heard the news from the doctor, she was completely devastated. The thought of losing her life was something which she did not want to do. Still, the news didn’t come as a complete shock to her: she knew that her life was going down the wrong path and that she needed to make a change quickly in order to turn her health in the right direction. In an effort to make a turnaround, she appeared on TLC’s TV show My 600-lb Life.
This show looked at obese people, channeling their journey as they seek help. Initially, she was skeptical as to whether appearing on the show would do her any good. She was about to find out how much of an impact this show would have had on her life.
Making The First Step
Amber Rachdi understood that she had to do something soon to change her life. Appearing on this television show was the right thing for her to do. She knew that it was time to do something: she was simply existing for so many years. She couldn’t enjoy the simple things in life, such as taking a walk down the street to smell the flowers. She was resolved: in order to begin enjoying life, she had to start losing weight.
However, the road to losing weight wasn’t that clear-cut for Amber. She was advised that she would have to do something which wasn’t typical, to say the least. If she were to do it, she would be risking her very life. Sadly, it had to be done in order for her to begin the journey of losing weight. Everything rode on whether she was going to make that first step.
She decided to make an appearance on the show. Filming began in 2014. As part of the recuperation process, she had to pay a visit to the show’s resident bariatric surgeon, Dr. Younan Nowzaradan. He resided in Houston, Texas. However, her visit would also signal the beginning of a slew of problems which Amber would have had to face.
It was clear from the get-go that her weight would be a major problem, something which would prove to be an issue for her ability to fly to Houston, Texas for her visit with the doctor. This ended up being one of the most challenges experiences for Amber thus far.
Because of her size, for her flight to Houston, Texas, she had no choice but to purchase two ticket seats. She was so big that only two seats could have accommodated her. If you thought that was bad, she even experienced challenges getting to the seats. The rows were too narrow for her body, forcing her to squeeze her way through. As a result, she felt exceedingly embarrassed and anxious for the rest of the flight.
Then, there was the problem of her wheelchair giving up on her. She was just too heavy for it: it broke under her weight. Abe, her dad, managed to get a big luggage cart to wheel her out of the airport. Sadly, this led to further embarrassment and shame on Amber’s part. Her unusually large size made persons snap photos of her at the airport, something which made her feel even more conscious about her already evident weight problem, a feeling which she expressed while being on the show.
Getting To The Bottom Of It All
When Amber went to meet Dr. Nowzaradan, she went with her boyfriend and her parents. His prognosis of her situation was not positive in the least. He stated that the problem didn’t only lay with Amber, but with those who surrounded her. He labeled Abe, Patti, and Rowdy as enablers who allowed Amber to get away with eating so much.
Amber even suggested that Rowdy had something to do with her weight gain. She said that since she had started dating him, she ended up gaining a whopping 200lbs, something with which Rowdy had no issue. He did say that he had an affinity for heavier women. However, Amber’s weight impeded their ability to be intimate with each other, something which greatly unnerved him, obviously. It also hurt him to see her develop various skin infections because of the multiple folds in her skin.
It Was Time To Let The Truth Out
Amber’s visit to the doctor was a very emotional one. In tears, she stated how she tried to overcome her eating disorder, but that every time she made an attempt, she failed miserably. Consequently, she felt like she had failed at life, and was of the opinion that she would never lose weight. She also spoke at length about the relationship she had with her mom and dad.
She felt that her mom felt pity for her and the situation in which she ended up in. Her father, on the other hand, was a bit more vocal with his feelings toward his daughter’s size. She claimed that she has caught him ‘fat shaming’ her. It goes without saying that this was something which bothered her deeply.
Getting Over The First Hump
Amber was informed by the doctor that he could perform bypass surgery. However, in order for that to happen, she would have had to lose 20 lbs. Then, and only then, would he be willing to do the surgery. He had his doubts about performing the surgery, but she encouraged him.
Even the doctor had doubts that she would lose the weight, especially considering that she had made multiple attempts to lose weight in the past, all of which were unsuccessful. However, she was confident that she could do it this time. She knew that in order to make a positive impact on her life and on the world, she would have had to lose all the excess weight. Her mind was made up: she was up for the challenge!
The Journey Begins
When Amber’s parents got wind of the news that her daughter may possibly undergo bypass surgery, they moved to Texas in order to give their daughter the support that she needed at such a trying time. In order to start the journey towards losing weight, Amber began making changes in her diet. She started cooking healthy meals consisting of lots of vegetables and chicken.
It wasn’t easy for Amber. She recalled that the first night of her journey was like hell. She cooked herself a healthy meal while her boyfriend Rowdy chowed down on some fast food right before her very eyes. Still, she was determined to lose weight. She was able to lose 17 pounds over a three-month period. Although her loss took a little longer than expected, her doctor was nonetheless proud that she had managed to lose weight. With that, he complied with Amber’s wishes: he was going to do the bypass surgery.
The Moment Of Truth
Essentially, the surgery which Amber was going to have done to her was supposed to help her shed fat faster. Gastric bypass surgery reduces the size of the stomach, making it smaller so that the patient doesn’t feel the need to eat so much. That said, it did come with its risks, some of which frightened Amber to the core.
On the show, she cried like a baby. She felt that she didn’t deserve the life that she had. Ever since she was born, her life had gone through challenge after challenge. She also admitted that sometimes she felt as if she could never lose the weight which she had. She felt like she was losing the race of life.
Thankfully, the surgery was a success, and with that, Amber began the journey to recovery. That said, the journey wasn’t over for Amber: the worst was yet to come, and one, very soon. It had barely been a few days since she was discharged from the hospital that Amber had to be rushed back: she complained of chest pains.
Initially, Dr. Nowzaradan expressed concerns that Amber might have been having a heart attack. Apparently, the pains were not related to a cardiovascular problem: she was simply having an anxiety attack. It seemed as if the more she tried, the harder it got for poor Amber. However, she wasn’t about to give up just yet.
Putting Her Mind To It
As the weeks turned to months, Amber found it increasingly difficult to stick to her strict regime of dieting. Her emotions often got to her. It seemed as if she was stuck in an emotional abyss of sadness and struggle. She eventually sought the assistance of a therapist who could have helped her best her chronic anxiety problem. In addition to seeing a therapist, she also started doing some gentle exercises, including walking. For her, considering that she lacked experience in walking, it wasn’t an easy task. Still, she kept pushing forward as she knew it was the key to her success.
She really tried to stick to a healthy diet. She eliminated fatty foods from her diet and took a very healthy approach to life. She also cooked a lot and had strictly healthy snacks. Eventually, she lost the urge to binge eat for she had found a purpose to live.
Letting Her Feelings Be Known
After she did bypass surgery, Amber decided to let her feelings be known on the surgery. Using Facebook as a medium, she elected to do a Question and Answer session. In this session, she did understate how important it was to remember that surgery was not the solution to losing weight. Therefore, anyone thinking that they could gorge themselves out and turn to bypass surgery to save them would think twice.
For Amber, the most important lesson that she learned from the experience was that in order to lose weight, one needed to be focused and determined. It was not going to happen unless you keep your eye on the prize: discipline was key. After this session, she got a lot of support from both family and friends who were proud of her decision to speak out.
Before Amber knew it, seven months had passed since she had done bypass surgery. How quickly time flies! By that time, she had managed to lose 92 lbs. What’s more, she also lost the bulk of the fluid which had built up in her legs. Realizing that the journey was yielding results, she was motivated to keep on her path to losing weight.
Having lost fluid in her legs, Amber was finally able to do things on her own. She could exercise and no longer needed someone’s assistance to make meals. Another huge plus to her losing so much weight was the fact that she could actually drive a vehicle now: she could have fit behind the wheel of a car!
The Real Training Starts Now
Now that Amber could stand without feeling too much pain in her legs, it was time to make the next step on her journey: time to hit the gym! She signed up at a local gym and began to do daily workouts. She really got a kick out of doing all the intense workouts and loved the rush of adrenaline in her body. At first, it was very hard for her, but she understood that she would have had to take small steps before she was able to do more intense workouts.
Initially, she had her insecurities about working out. She didn’t like the idea of exercising in front of people for fear of being ridiculed at the gym. However, she quickly got over those fears and began to feel comfortable in her own body. What’s more, she was losing weight at a very fast pace, therefore, people couldn’t stare at her for much longer.
Determination and Hard Work
By this time, nine months had passed since Amber had had her surgery. During that time, she lost a whopping 145 lbs. Sometimes, she would get discouraged about her chances of losing weight. However, she knew she couldn’t go back to her previous life. She would look at pictures of herself (such as the one below) and she knew that she had to keep pushing. It had been years since she went shopping for clothes: but times had changed, and so had her body!
Although she was still big, she could now shop for smaller sizes. For her, one of the most satisfying moments was being able to shop and try on clothes in a store, something she had not done in years. She was proud of how far she had come since she started her diet: she was eating healthier and exercising.
Excited about how much progress she was making, Amber stayed steadfast on her healthy way of living. Her parents had gone back to live in Oregon since they were satisfied that she was on the right path. It was just her and her boyfriend Rowdy. Everyone was happy with Amber and her new life.
After Amber lost some more weight, it was time for her to go on her second date with Rowdy to the zoo. She was finally able to enjoy the finer things in life. She was no longer confined to the seat of a wheelchair. She could walk about and go on dates! This definitely encouraged her to keep working hard at the gym and to keep following her strict diet.
As was agreed to, after a year of working hard at the gym and dieting extensively, Amber revisited Dr. Nowzaradan for a checkup to see how well she had faired. She was a bit nervous when she stepped on the scale: she didn’t know what to expect. She was so proud when she saw the results.
When Amber started out, she weighed 390 lbs. One year later, she had managed to shed 123 lbs! Absolutely incredible! That’s nearly half of her starting weight! Dr. Nowzaradan was so impressed with Amber’s progress that he gave her another challenge, one that would grant her another special gift if she were successful.
What was the gift which Dr. Nowzaradan promised Amber Rachdi? He let her know that if she were to drop down to 250 lbs, he would reward her by operating on her to remove the excess skin off her body. Needless to say, this was something which would have had to have been done anyway: she had a lot of excess skin.
Amber wasn’t deterred by this: she knew that she could have done it. If she had lost so many pounds, what was stopping her from losing even more? She was determined: she knew she could do it. With that, she set on her accomplishing the challenge.
Keeping Her Mind Focused
Amber was sure that she was going to fulfill her goals. Over time, she managed to lose 400lbs. While it may have taken her years to get to that point, it was hard work and determination which allowed Amber to achieve her goal. It was a huge jump for her, especially considering that at one point, she felt like a complete failure. Not anymore!
As time went on, Amber continued losing weight. At one point, she lost so much weight that people who knew her from before had difficulty recognizing her. Knowing that she could achieve anything once she put her mind to it, she decided to go back to college. She completed school and began the search for a job. But those weren’t the only things on the horizon for Amber: she began contemplating marriage and having children as well.
Making A Difference
In order to give back, Amber decided to create several profiles across social media in order to give her an outlet to share her story with the masses. Her hope was that others who may have been suffering from depression, anxiety, or any other psychological issue would be able to find the strength within themselves and realize that they’re beautiful. For her, loving herself was the greatest gift of all.
In the process, many were inspired and reached out to her, expressing their happiness that she decided to share her story. However, with the good, comes the bad. There were those who posted several negative messages on her profile. They tried to bring her down, but she hit them back with positivity. She wasn’t about to let anyone steal her shine, including her boyfriend, Rowdy.
Time To Say Goodbye
Amber had done the seemingly impossible: she managed to shed 400 lbs and her life looked spectacular. She was, however, about to shed another aspect of her life which was a bit more personal: her boyfriend of several years, Rowdy. She ended things with him. In June of 2016, she let the world know that she was about to have a major shift in her life. She posted a photo of herself showing an engagement ring which was given to her by another man!
She did, however, let people know that there was no problem between her and Randy. She stated that she had a lot of respect for him, especially as a supportive friend. After all, he was the one who accompanied her to the gym: he was there with her every step of the way.
Taking Over Instagram
In an effort to continue sensitizing the public on her incredible weight-loss journey, she created a profile on Instagram. She felt that posting photos of herself would allow people to not only recognize her transition but to also recognize that it was possible to lose weight if you are determined to do so.
Looking back, Amber remembers when she was at an all-time low. She knew that she could have been a positive influence on others and that sharing her story would have made a positive impact on someone’s life somewhere in the world.
Like any addict, someone who is addicted to food does experience cravings, especially during the recovery process. Amber understands all too well that the journey is never complete. To help her stay on the right path, she works with a therapist to keep her anxiety in check.
She has active accounts across social media platforms. She strives to let people know that it’s never too late to turn their lives around. At one point, she thought that she had gotten to the point of no return. She remembers the time when she couldn’t even fit into a vehicle. Now, those times are far behind her. She has transformed into a new person. She still keeps up with her Question and Answer sessions on Facebook and posts regularly on Twitter and Instagram.
Seeing Her Inner Beauty Flourish
Amber was a new person and she loved it! She continued her healthy lifestyle: she never let up from the gym, nor did she venture outside of her healthy diet. She was determined not to revert to her former self. She had seen the fruits of her labor manifest, and she was proud of the person she had become.
She finally felt comfortable in her skin: she was able to take pictures of herself and post them on social media without feeling embarrassed. What’s more, she could wear what she wanted without ever feeling ashamed to show her body. She was in love with the skin she was in, and no one could have told her otherwise.
Having The Right Attitude
On her final episode of the show, Amber let the world know that she was a positive person who was happy to have made a turnaround in her life. She is no longer confined to a room, or to a motorized scooter. She has the freedom to walk around and enjoy life as one should. She also overcame her anxiety which caused her overeating habit. No longer did she feel the need to eat any and everything which came before her.
She wasn’t the only person who was happy about her dramatic change in appearance and lifestyle. Her family and friends were so elated that she was able to accomplish her goal. She managed to inspire a generation of people to believe in their dreams and make the most out of life. In a sense, she became an emblem of hope for all those who struggled with insecurities and weight loss: she let them know that if she could do it, so could they!
Talking About Bypass Surgery
Apart from being a huge inspiration for weight-loss, Amber has also been one of the leading spokespersons when it comes to bypass surgery. Considering that she was someone who benefited heavily from it, people were curious to know what were her thoughts on it. She said some interesting comments.
In one of her Question and Answer sessions on Facebook, she said that it was by no means something which someone should rely on in order to lose weight. She acknowledged that the surgery did have benefits especially when it came to its impact on the body’s ability to process food. However, she felt that the main benefit was that it gave the person time to train his or her body to think differently. At the end of the day, the person still needs discipline and focus to lose the weight and keep it off.
Being Confident In Herself
One of the major factors which contributed to Amber’s success was the fact that she was confident in herself. At first, she struggled with it, but after seeing the progress she was making, she began feeling more confident in her skin. Now that she looks different, she feels on top of the world. She is very proud of the body she has today.
For Amber, posting photos on her Instagram is a way to constantly remind her of how far she’s come when it comes to her looks. She often remembers her dark days, but now, her days are bright and shiny. What’s more, she’s making a positive impact on people through the world, and that’s extremely important.
Setting The Example
As we know, Amber was seeing a therapist in order to help her control her anxiety problems. However, her story touched so many people on social media that she, in a sense, turned into a source of comfort for persons struggling with the same problem. So many people would reach out to her to let her know all the weight-loss problems they were having. That would break her heart, especially because she knows how difficult it was to lose weight herself.
She would caution them that she was not qualified to advise people on how to lose weight. She had no formal education or training in the area of weight-loss, nor was she adequately educated in the area of dieting and nutrition. She suggested that they contact a nutritionist or a doctor for medical advice on how they should go about losing weight. She also encouraged them to get an accountability buddy: in other words, someone who would ensure that they stick to their plan.
The Real Deal
People who have reasonably popular Instagram accounts tend to take advantage of their following to promote products on behalf of others in exchange for financial compensation. Amber wasn’t one of those persons! For her, that was not why she created the profile.
She would often blast these gimmicky supplements advertised by some people trying to scam people of a quick buck. As far as she was concerned, the traditional method never failed. People should work hard by doing a combination of dieting and going to the gym. In doing so, they are bound to see results.
Do What Works For You
Amber is often asked about what type of diet she would recommend to persons trying to lose weight. While she may offer general tips, Amber has repeatedly stated that there is no one standard diet which will work for everyone. What worked for her might not necessarily work for someone else. Similarly, what may work for one person may not work for the next, and so on and so forth.
Apart from the fact that she’s not qualified to offer guidance when it comes to dieting and meal-planning, she doesn’t know a person’s specific needs and goals. She understands that these are integral aspects of someone’s life, therefore, she would hate to know that she recommended someone to follow a particular lifestyle only for it to turn into a complete failure.
Being A Source Of Inspiration
Amber’s miraculous journey from obesity to fitness freak has been met by praise and admiration from people throughout the world. Many view her as a source of inspiration. Some have even contacted her to give talks throughout the world. In 2017, she stated that she was involved in a teleconference with some students in Vietnam who were studying weight loss. They wanted to get her personal take on her experience and her journey.
All in all, documenting her journey to successful healthy living has been well received. Also, she’s thankful that she decided to appear on the television program. For her, it was instrumental in taking the first few steps towards her dramatic lifestyle change.
Life Today For Amber Rachdi
Because of her strong following on social media platforms, Amber has turned into somewhat of a celebrity. She has stated that she has been recognized in public on occasion, although that is dependent on the color of her hair! She’s often changing her hair color.
For Amber, her weight-loss has allowed her the freedom to live her life the way she wants to. She’s seizing every opportunity given to her and is doing all she can to make up for the time she lost when she was unable to enjoy the finer things in this world.
Bearing in mind that she’s well known on social media, Amber is contacted by a lot of people through the world. While some of them always send her positive messages, others use their platforms to cyberbully her.
Amber has shared situations where people have said hurtful and mean things to her. On one such instance, she was contacted by someone she did not know. At first, the stranger was pleasant. However, when she did not respond to the message, the person instantly turned sour, suggesting that her sudden rise to fame had made her forget where she once was in life. Still, Amber pushes past the negativity and keeps focused, always.
Becoming Her Own Chef
For Amber, it was absolutely essential for her to change her diet around. Before, she ate horribly: fried foods, fast food, and every type of junk food you could imagine. She knew that if she had to make any sort of progress, she would have had to change her eating habits completely. With that, she started cooking from home, making her own dishes which she grew to love!
Cooking for herself brought her a thrill and joy. Although it was tiring at times, for Amber, it was always rewarding to be able to eat a healthy meal. What’s more, knowing that she was eating her own creation gave her a lot of satisfaction. No longer did she have to go out to buy food: she was quite capable of preparing meals on her own now!
Amber And Her Facebook Life
One of the social media accounts which Amber enjoys using is Facebook. It allows her to be able to reach out to fans by way of her Question and Answer sessions. Through this platform, she can educate persons on her weight-loss journey, and, what’s more, she can encourage people to follow their dreams.
One thing is for sure, Amber is very happy that she turned her life around when she did. She’s also happy that her parents decided to seek medical attention for her, for if not, she might not be here today. She is happy with her life and happy in her skin. For her, she found her true joy and essence, and she has no intention of letting it go.