1. Struggling To Leave The House
Amber Rachdi grew up in Troutdale, Oregon, where she knew almost everyone in her town. However, most people only knew her because of her size. At just 24-years-old, Rachdi was already 657 pounds, which made it nearly impossible for her to leave her home.
Rachdi knew she needed to change her life, but it was hard when she could barely move. Her family had to help take care of her, and they all feared for her health. Rachdi had a problem, but it wasn't until a severe warning that she really opened her eyes to the reality she faced.
2. Doctor's Grave Warnings
Deep down, Rachdi knew she needed to change her life, and doctors had warned her about her weight several times. They told her she would never make it to 30 if she continued to live life this way. Rachdi had to make a drastic change if she wanted to live.
It was now or never, and Rachdi had to do something. However, due to her size, she was in a lot of pain, which prevented her from moving around a lot. It seemed like losing weight would be impossible if she couldn't start walking around and exercising. She felt nervous, but there had to be something she could do.
3. Taking Matters Into Her Own Hands
Rachdi had seen TLC's My 600-Lb Life and decided to sign herself up for the show. She wanted to get the help she needed, and the show would help her surround herself with the right people to assist Rachdi.
She also began sharing pictures and videos along her weight loss journey not only to keep herself accountable but to help inspire others. It wouldn't be easy, but if she wanted to live, this is what Rachdi had to do.
4. Weight Problems Since Childhood
Rachdi's weight problems began when she was a child. By the time she was five years old, she had weighed 160 lbs, whereas an average five-year-old weighs around 40 lbs. Doctors warned Rachdi's parents about the dangers of being overweight, but that didn't help.
Growing up, Rachdi noticed most of the weight in her lower legs, which made running painful, and she couldn't keep up with the other children. Her parents said that she was also always hungry and never satisfied after a meal. Why didn't they try to make changes early on? You would think the doctors would have stepped in.
5. Not Able To Help Herself
As she put on more weight throughout the years, Rachdi became self-conscious and anxious about her body. She wanted to exercise, but the way her weight was distributed in her legs made it impossible and painful. Rachdi would turn to food when she felt sad and defeated.
It became tremendously challenging to move around independently, so Rachdi had to move in with her parents and boyfriend, Rowdy. Besides moving in with her family, she had to drop out of college because attending classes was too difficult.
6. Turning To Food To Cope With Anxiety
It was a vicious cycle that caused Rachdi to put on so much weight. She would try to be healthier, but every time it didn't go as planned, so Rachdi turned to food as a coping mechanism. At one point, she was eating five large meals per day, and that didn't include all the sweets in between.
Although Rachdi knew it was wrong to use food to cope with her anxiety, she couldn't find other ways to relax. Eating also helped mask what she was really feeling inside, and she continued to push down her feelings of anxiety and failure.
7. Things Were On A Downward Spiral
As she continued to eat and gain weight, Rachdi's life took a drastic turn. She could no longer bathe or shower without assistance, and she couldn't go in most cars because she didn't fit. She had to rely on other people to help her do almost everything.
Rachdi's list of struggles continued to grow, and she needed a motorized scooter to get around because she couldn't walk more than a few feet. It was too painful to walk, which meant she rarely left the house when she was at her peak weight.
8. Family Support Helped Her Make A Change
Rachdi bottled many of her emotions up, but her parents knew she always felt like a failure. When they took her to the doctor, they heard the warnings that she was shortening her lifespan by continuing this lifestyle, and that gave her the push to sign up for My 600-Lb Life.
Although she didn't know how it would help her, Rachdi was running out of time and options before she did irreversible damage to her body. Her parents said they would help her throughout the journey, so she finally signed up for the show.
9. Making The Trip To Save Her Life
Rachdi was determined to see Dr. Nowzaraden because he was one of the few people that could help save her life. The only problem was that she had to fly from Oregon to Houston, Texas, which made her anxiety go through the roof.
Because of her size, Rachdi had to buy two seats to fit on the plane, but it turns out that wouldn't be enough room. To make matters worse, the wheelchair broke, and her dad had to use a luggage cart to push her around the airport. Everyone stared, and Rachdi felt anxious and embarrassed.
10. Were People Enabling Her Bad Behavior?
When Rachdi met with Dr. Nowzaradan, she was in for a rude awakening. Although the people around her wanted the best for Rachdi, Dr. N said they were enabling her unhealthy food choices and lack of exercise.
Rachdi also said she had gained about 200 pounds since she started dating her boyfriend, Rowdy. Her boyfriend said he was always attracted to larger women, but Rachdi's size was starting to get in the way of their love life. Would this affect their relationship in the long-term?
11. Putting In The Work To Change Her Lifestyle
After seeing Dr. N, she knew it was time to change. The doctor gave her an ultimatum because if she didn't change her life now, she wouldn't live much longer. Rachdi also had to prove that she was serious about changing her life so, over the next few months, she lost 17 pounds.
If Rachdi could prove that she was serious and stuck to the new diet, she would qualify for gastric bypass surgery. Her family was on board and flew to Texas to support her on this challenging journey.
12. Dealing With The Trauma From Her Past
Rachdi successfully stuck to the diet provided by Dr. N and had gastric bypass surgery. Although the surgery went smoothly, she was rushed back to the hospital a few days later, after having chest pains. Initially, the doctors thought she had a heart attack.
Despite thinking it was a heart attack, the doctors concluded that Rachdi actually had a panic attack. Everyone around her agreed she needed to see a therapist who could help her with dealing with the trauma of having been overweight for so long. On top of diet and exercise, she needed to work on her mental health.
13. Learning A New Way Of Life
To make sure she was healthy in all aspects of her life, Rachdi started seeing a therapist and taking wellbeing lessons. It was there that she learned how to prepare nourishing foods and why fast food was so bad for her.
Rachdi also began walking for exercise even though it was excruciating at first. Despite the pain, she was determined to keep moving and progress on her journey. It didn't take long before Rachdi also learned to talk about her feelings instead of eating them.
14. Continuing To Work Hard
Rachdi continued to work hard, and the results were paying off. She lost 92 pounds, and the water retention in her legs began to disappear. These two factors made exercising easier, and more weight came off. Finally, she could sign up for a gym to get a well-rounded workout.
Additionally, Rachdi had to buy a whole new wardrobe. She quickly went from a 6X to a 2X, and she loved the results. Now that Rachdi could be more self-sufficient, her parents decided to move back to Oregon and let their daughter be independent.
15. Pushing Herself Hard
Rachdi hit her first major milestone one year after the surgery. She lost a whopping 267 pounds, but the challenge was far from over. Because she lost so much weight, she had a lot of excess skin, which was another discomfort.
Dr. N gave her another challenge once she reached the one-year mark; He said if Rachdi could lose an additional 140 pounds, they would give her the excess skin removal surgery. After working so hard to meet most of her goals, could she push herself further?
16. Reaching Her Ultimate Goal
Although it was a huge challenge, Rachdi did it and lost a total of 420 pounds. She was finally at a place in her life where she loved the person she saw in the mirror, and she had the tools to keep her on the right track.
Rachdi's relationships improved with her friends and family because she was finally happy with herself. She decided to re-enroll in school, get her degree, and start her career. Everything was falling into place in her life, and Rachdi was beyond grateful.
17. Getting Rid Of Toxic Relationships
Everything was going well in Rachdi's life, but significant changes were about to come. Throughout her weight loss, Rachdi and her boyfriend Rowdy went their separate ways for many reasons. Mainly, he was a major enabler when it came to her poor eating habits.
Rachdi said they were still good friends, but the change was too much for him to handle. However, Rachdi posted a picture with an engagement ring on Twitter, which left fans wondering who this mystery man was, and when she met him.
18. Helping Others Online
What made Rachdi so special on My 600-Lb Life was that she gained a large following on social media throughout her journey. She used her platform to spread her story and share positive content with people.
Rachdi not only wants to help other people in her situation, but she wants to inspire everyone to live their best lives and never give up on their goals. Whether it's weight loss or finishing school, she hopes that people will take something positive from her pages.
19. Creating A Community
Rachdi runs a few different social media pages where people can learn about her journey, what it was like to have gastric bypass, and more. She wants everyone to know what it was like to be so large and how she finally reached her goal weight.
She has thousands of followers who praise her accomplishments and turn to her for advice. On top of detailing her journey, she makes sure to remind people that nothing happened overnight, and it was a challenging process.
20. Not Sharing Every Detail
Although Rachdi has shared so much through the TV show and on her social media pages, there is one thing she refuses to tell people. She is happy to answer anyone's questions, but she will not share her diet and exercise plan.
It is not because she is hiding something but because it was personalized to her needs. Rachdi said that what worked for her might not work for other people, and she is not a doctor, so she doesn't want to give information that could negatively affect someone's health.
21. Changing Up Her Look
After shedding 420 pounds, Rachdi has a new lease on life and feels much more confident. Despite focusing on the numbers when she began her journey, she no longer looks at the scale. Instead, she goes by how her clothes fit or how she feels.
After her appearance on TV, Rachdi started to get recognized on the streets, so she decided to change her look to blend in more. She was feeling more confident, but she didn't like being recognized so easily.
22. Her Eating Disorder Made Life Worse
One of the most significant contributors to Rachdi's weight gain was an underlying eating disorder. Although eating disorders are discussed more today, they are still a touchy subject, and only particular EDs are publicized like anorexia and bulimia.
Rachdi struggled with binge eating, which caused her to use food to deal with her emotions. Instead of having the proper tools to manage her anxiety, she would eat, which started a vicious cycle rather than getting to the root problem.
23. She Had No Excuses
Unlike many people who appear on My 600-Lb Life, Rachdi didn't try to make excuses about why she gained the weight. She knew it was her fault and admitted that she had a problem. Her journey was so successful because she took responsibility right from the start.
Additionally, Rachdi didn't pity herself or deny how unhealthy she was; from the start of her journey, Rachdi knew that she needed to change or wouldn't live much longer. The only person that pitied her was Rachdi's mother, but she was just a concerned parent.
24. She Wasn't Truly Living Until She Changed Her Life
When Rachdi decided to apply for the show, she was beyond ready to change her life. At a young age, she wasn't really living; she was just surviving. Rachdi couldn't do things like other people her age, and it made her so upset.
In your twenties, life is supposed to be about adventure and finding yourself, but for Rachdi, it was a daily struggle to do things like grocery shop or even shower. She got to the point where she could no longer continue this lifestyle.
25. The Man Who Turned Her Life Around
So who was the doctor that helped change her life? Dr. Younan Nowzaradan is known for helping many patients on My 600-Lb Life. The surgeon gives a "no-nonsense" approach to weight loss, which attributes to the success of his patients.
Dr. N makes sure his patients know that surgery is not a quick fix, and they have to follow a strict diet plan before considering performing procedures. Rachdi was so grateful to have his help and support throughout her weight loss experience.
26. She Always Had A Vision Of Who She Wanted To Be
Even before Rachdi began losing weight, she had a vision of who she wanted to be one day, but she didn't know if it was possible. She felt so down about herself, and she just needed help to get started, but it took a long time to get to that point.
In one of her early interviews for the show, she said, "I wish I could be self-sufficient and successful and show the world I am made of so much more, but as long as I am big, as long as I am obese, I will never be able to be that person."
27. There Wasn't A Quick Fix
While gastric bypass played a significant role in her weight loss journey, it wasn't a quick fix. Rachdi even made a shocking revelation about the procedure. She said she didn't believe it would be a successful procedure in the long-term.
In order to achieve long-term success, Rachdi knew that surgery was not a permanent fix. While it can help people in individual cases, there still needs to be diet and lifestyle changes for its effects to work.
28. Her Lifestyle Got A Complete Makeover
Throughout the majority of her weight loss, Rachdi made numerous changes to her lifestyle. She incorporated exercise into her routine and started eating healthy, fresh meals. She stopped getting takeout and began making her meals at home according to her diet plan.
Rachdi was also no longer confined to her house, so she enrolled in college classes and got a job. Therapy greatly helped her mental health, and it was like her life did a 360. Although keeping the weight off was going to be challenging, Rachdi was determined.
29. It Takes Dedication And Motivation To Continue
Rachdi's story is nothing short of inspirational; however, it didn't happen overnight. With her social media platform, she shares her experience to help other people stay motivated but reminds followers that this is not easy and takes a lot of work.
Also, once she reached her goal weight, it didn't mean the fight was over. For the rest of her life, she will have to continue to work to maintain the weight she lost and practice managing her anxiety. Once she reached her goal, Rachdi said it takes a lot of self-control to continue.
30. Sustainable Progress
After a significant weight loss like Rachdi's, it takes a lot to maintain all of that work. She inspires her followers by continuing to practice all the things she learned on the show, and she lost weight even when the cameras stopped rolling.
Between working out and eating healthy, Rachdi is living a completely different life than when she was over 600 pounds. She now has control over her life and can do anything she wants to. Rachdi has never felt better or more confident than now.
31. She Gets Recognized More Often
After appearing on My 600-Lb Life, Rachdi was somewhat of a celebrity for the show's fans. Within weeks, she gained thousands of followers and inspired others with her fantastic transformation. She stayed positive through most of the experience, which most people wouldn't have been able to do.
Rachdi is open and honest about her weight loss and has never tried to sugar coat it. She knows that losing weight is challenging for many people, and she just wants to help people stay motivated even on their toughest days. However, there is one thing she wants everyone to keep in mind...
32. "I Am Not A Doctor"
Although she is available to inspire and motivate people on social media, she reminds people that she is most certainly not a doctor. People message her with questions and continuously ask for advice, but she says that each person's journey is unique.
Although Rachdi wants to help whoever she can, she would never advise about diet or exercise routines because she is not an expert. She says that her plan was perfect for her, but it might not work for others. If you are looking for diet or exercise advice, it would be best to speak with a doctor first.
33. Inspiring Others To Make A Change
When you read through Rachdi's social media post, you can see that she has become such a positive light for people. Many people comment on how she has inspired them through their struggles with eating disorders or weight.
After seeing how drastically Rachdi changed her life, people realize that nothing is impossible; you just have to work for it. If people want to make a change, Rachdi is a great source of inspiration and positivity no matter what you are going through.
34. Getting Her Confidence Back
Before she actively changed her life, Rachdi's self-confidence was low, and her weight made her anxious. However, since her drastic transformation, she loves how she looks and feels on the inside and out. Each day she celebrates her small victories as all of us should do.
Through her Instagram, Rachdi lets fans see her smiling selfies and gym photos that remind everyone of how far she has come. Through all of this positivity, something magical happened that has changed her life forever.
35. Finding Healthy Love
When the world was first introduced to Rachdi, she was with a man who loved her but enabled a lifestyle that could have killed her. Through this transformation, she realized that she deserves better and moved on from her previous boyfriend. In time, she found a new love.
Unlike her previous relationship, it is much healthier. Her now-husband encourages her to stay motivated and loves her unconditionally. Although nothing is perfect, Rachdi does seem much happier with her new life.
36. Looking Ahead To A Bright Future
Over the past five years, since Rachdi began her transformation, she has come a long way. Today she has a life that she only thought was possible in her dreams when she was at her lowest point. We are in awe of how different she looks and how much happier she seems.
Amber hopes to continue inspiring others while working on herself. She is beyond happy with her progress, and her main message is that it is never too late to take life by the reigns and make a change. However, she wasn't the only one struggling.
37. Amber Wasn't The Only One Struggling
Just like Rachdi, Melissa Morris was well over 600 pounds when she appeared on My 600-Lb Life. When the world was introduced to her, Morris weighed 673 pounds and could barely move around her home without the help of a scooter.
Sadly, Morris was confined to her home, and her husband became more of a caretaker than a partner. Despite how much he helped her with day-to-day needs, he was also enabling her poor eating habits. However, someone else close to her would give Morris a shocking wake up call.
38. Changes Needed To Be Made
Morris desperately wanted to get her life back, but it wasn't until a heartbreaking interaction with her mom that she decided to change. Her mom recently had surgery and was recovering when she offered to cook for Morris.
At that moment, Morris hit her breaking point. Even though her mom just had surgery, she was still trying to meet Morris's need to eat. After this interaction, she was determined to turn her life around and lose weight.
39. Finding The Right Help
In 2004, Morris agreed to appear on My 600-Lb Life with the hope that they could help her lose the weight. She knew it would be a long and challenging journey, but Morris wanted to be independent again.
The show arranged for Morris to get a gastric band that would restrict the amount of food she consumed. Additionally, she was put on a strict diet and exercise program because the band couldn't solve her problem if she didn't put in the extra work.
40. The Results The Shocked Everyone
The show followed Morris's seven-year weight loss journey, and her transformation shocked us. Between her new diet and exercise plan, as well as the gastric band, Morris looked incredible and reclaimed her life after being dependant on people for so long.
By the end of her inspirational journey, Morris lost a total of 500 pounds. Everyone who watched was in disbelief of how amazing she looked and the new glow Morris had because of the positive changes. However, none of this would have been possible without putting in work.
41. Improved Quality Of Life
Throughout her life, Morris always wanted to be a mom, but she wasn't able to get pregnant because of her health issues. After changing her life, Morris's dreams finally came true, and she was finally able to have children.
After years of struggling, this transformation changed her life in more ways than she could have expected. Today, Morris has three beautiful children, but there was an unexpected struggle when she finally had children.
42. Falling Back Into Her Old Ways
Although Morris could not have been happier about her pregnancies, she feared that it would cause her to regain all the weight. With each pregnancy, she put on weight, but that was only normal. It was when she continued to gain weight after she gave birth that concerned her family.
Despite wanting children for most of her adult life, Morris suffered from postpartum depression and turned to food to cope. When she stepped on the scale one day, she realized she gained back 100 pounds.
43. Not Giving Up On Her Journey
Although she had gained some weight back, Morris was determined to stick to the healthy lifestyle she had learned through her journey and get back on track. She worked so hard to reach her goals the first time around, and nothing was going to stop her.
Morris returned to her dieting and began exercising more frequently. Because she had already done the hard work, it was easier to get back into the swing of things. In no time, Morris lost a lot of the weight she had gained and felt so much more confident.
44. Everything Takes Work
Today, Morris is continuing to work towards her goal weight of 180, but more importantly, she is enjoying everything this journey brought her. Not only did she get her life back, but she got three beautiful children, which she never thought would be possible.
Morris understands that her journey will always take commitment and time, but it is worth it so that she can be around for her children's lives. Even when things get complicated, she has the support system to motivate and encourage her.