Standing out from the crowd
Amber Rachdi has lived in Troutdale, Oregon, all her life, and has grown up to know most of the people in her local neighborhood. However, it’s not her personality or skills that got Amber noticed. No, it was her size. She weighed 657 pounds by the time she was 24 years old. Amber was virtually housebound and knew that something had to change. Now, it was time to sign up for My 600-lb Life to get the help she so desperately needed.
A tainted warning
Unfortunately, her size being an issue was nothing new to Amber. Doctors had already told the youngster that if she didn’t turn her life around, then chances are she would lose her life before her 30s. Something had to give. Although Amber felt as though she would never be strong enough to change her lifestyle, she knew it was now or never to save her health. The problem was Amber had always been this size and was in a lot of pain. Changing would be almost impossible.
Transforming a lifestyle
As soon as Amber got the chance, she signed her name up to My 600-lb Life. At least now she could be surrounded by people willing to help her on her journey to change. To top it off, the star also began to release videos and snaps of her time losing 420 pounds. All of a sudden, it was as if Amber had transformed into an entirely new person. It wasn’t a straightforward journey. Amber was about to come into a lot of personal demons determined to hold her back.
Brewing since childhood
It seems as if Amber’s relationship with food all stems from her childhood years. In fact, the youngster weighed a whopping 160 pounds by the time she was just five years old. Most other children her age usually weigh around 40 pounds. It wasn’t long before Amber noticed most of the weight was gathering in her lower legs. This made running particularly hard, and Amber struggled to join in with the other kids. To top it off, the youngster used to complain she was never full from food.
A downward spiral
Putting on more and more weight meant Amber soon became anxious about her body. This only got worse as she continued to age. Amber wanted to exercise to lose the weight, but the fat deposits in her legs made it almost impossible. She soon turned to food for comfort. Amber’s size meant it was a tremendous task for her to get around. All these issues soon saw the youngster dropping out of college and moving in with her parents and boyfriend, Rowdy.
A huge daily menu
As Amber continued to get larger, so did her portions. Now, she was eating five huge meals a day. These didn’t even count for all the sweet treats and desserts that somehow made their way into the home. Amber knew it was wrong, but continued to turn to food as a way to calm her anxiety. Apparently, the only way she could de-stress was to eat whatever was placed in front of her. This urge to eat also helped Amber to mask her emotions of feeling like a failure.
Getting worse and worse
Unfortunately, her growing size just meant Amber’s list of struggles got longer and longer. No longer could the youngster bath or shower on her own. Now, Amber needed help for even the most basic of tasks around the home. As if that wasn’t enough, Amber couldn’t learn to drive or ride in most cars as she was too large to fit, but walking was just as tricky as Amber could only manage a few feet before being in too much pain. She solely relied on a motorized scooter to leave the house.
A helping hand
Although Amber tried to keep her emotions to herself, her parents knew their daughter had always felt like a failure. They would often take Amber to the doctors, and were even there when she was warned about her current lifestyle shortening her lifespan. Thankfully, Amber’s mom and dad were the perfect support she needed to sign up for My 600-lb Life. Amber had no idea if the show would even be able to help, but she had to try. She was running out of options.
Making the trip
Amber was desperate to get a meeting with Dr. Nowzaradan, the man who could save her life, but there was an issue: she had to fly from Oregon to Houston. Amber knew she would have to buy two seats to fit on the plane. Little did she know that she would barely be able to fit in the row at all. To top it off, Amber’s wheelchair broke, and her dad was forced to wheel her around on a luggage cart – all in front of a crowd of people.
Fighting off the enablers
As soon as Amber made it to the doctor’s office, she was in for some surprising news. Dr. Now believed the youngster was surrounded by enablers who were all encouraging her poor food choices and lack of exercise. Amber eventually admitted she had gained around 200 pounds since she started to date Rowdy. Rowdy admitted he had always been attracted to larger women, but now he was frustrated that Amber’s size was starting to get in the way of their love life.
Changing her ways
It was time to change. Amber was given an ultimatum that meant she would have to put all her hard work and dedication to good use if she wanted to make it through the next few months; she was about to turn her entire life around. Amber spent the next three months losing 17 pounds to prove she wanted to change. If she could stick to her new diet, Amber would qualify for gastric bypass surgery. Her parents even flew to Texas to support their daughter.
Taking a step back
Although Amber was able to have the surgery, she was rushed to the hospital just a few days later. She was suffering from chest pains, and doctors thought she was having a heart attack. However, it turned out Amber was having an anxiety attack. Everyone knew she needed to see a therapist to help cope with the trauma of so many years being overweight. This was the next biggest step if Amber ever stood a chance at recovering from all the stress.
Looking for alternatives
As well as therapy, Amber also enrolled in wellbeing lessons where she learned how to prepare healthy food rather than opting for the takeouts she had enjoyed for so long. Plus, Amber even took up walking. At first, it was extremely painful for Amber even to move. However, she was determined to keep going; she had to keep moving. It wasn’t long before Amber learned how to use words as a comfort rather than eating. It was at this time that Amber took to social media to share her experiences.
Continuing to work hard
As Amber continued to work hard, the weight continued to fall off. Now, she was 92 pounds lighter. Plus, the water retention in her legs that had always caused such an issue was starting to disappear. She could finally sign up to the gym! As if that wasn’t enough, Amber wardrobe was drastically changing. She had gone from having to buy 6X clothing to 2X. Amber’s parents knew they could finally move home to Oregon and let their daughter continue her journey.
A final push
Just one year after her surgery, Amber had lost a whopping 267 pounds. However, she was about to face another hurdle. All that extra weight meant she had been left with a lot of excess skin. Dr. Now had some good news as he told Amber if she could lose 140 pounds more that he would give her the skin removal surgery. This was the final push she needed to make it to her ultimate goal, but after coming so far, would she be able to keep it up?
Reaching her goal
At last, Amber had done it. She had lost 420 pounds. It was as if everything had finally fallen into place as Amber had the confidence she had been searching for all these years. To top it off, she now felt closer to her friends and family than she ever had in the past. Amber was determined to do all the things she had missed out on over the years. One of the first things on the list was to enroll back at college and finally get her degree, as well as get herself a job.
Changes all around
There were more changes still to come. Amber had grown quite the following online and was ready to share her next biggest news in June 2016: she was engaged! However, Rowdy was nowhere to be seen. It turned out that Amber and Rowdy had split throughout her weight loss journey. Although Rowdy had been there to support his girlfriend, it seemed as though the change was too much to handle. Thankfully, Amber admits they are still close to one another.
Spreading the word
Amber wanted to help others that could be in her position, so what better way to spread her story than to take to social media? Now, she has a huge online following as thousands of people have gathered from all around the world to hear what she has to say. However, Amber doesn’t want to just help others in her situation; she also wants to inspire people that worry they will never be able to lose weight. She believes if she could lose 420 pounds then everyone else can work towards their own goals.
Now, Amber runs multiple question and answer pages where she is happy to discuss just about anything with her fans. Here, she hopes to cover everything from being so large in the first place to all her weight loss, including the process of having gastric bypass surgery. Amber now has thousands of followers and hopes they will come together to support one another as well as learn all about how tough it can be to shift so much weight.
Leaving out information
Although Amber is happy to answer anyone’s questions, she doesn’t want to share her diet or exercise plan. This isn’t because Amber doesn’t want to help, but she knows that her nutrition and exercise goals were tailored to meet her needs; they might not be what someone else is looking for. Amber also admits she is not a doctor and doesn’t want to be responsible for someone else’s health. Instead, she focuses on how she coped with it all.
Celebrating her victory
Amber now admits she can enjoy a life filled with confidence thanks to her new weight. However, she no longer focuses on the number on the scales. Instead, Amber looks for non-scale victories such as being able to fit into different clothes and feeling healthier all around. Her story got her plenty of attention, and now she is even recognized on the streets. She admits it depends on the color of her hair, and blonde locks seem to help her blend in.
An eating disorder
Although eating disorders are getting more attention these days, they are still somewhat of a taboo in our society. Amber had a serious eating disorder, which, unlike the more well-known disorders such as anorexia, caused her to gain large amounts of weight. She didn’t just eat to satisfy her body physically – a great deal of her eating came from an emotional place. Eating helped her with her anxiety and her fear of failure. It made her feel calm and relaxed, so she did it frequently.
One of the things that set Amber apart from other stars of My 600-lb Life is that she didn’t make excuses or try to dodge blame for her weight. Amber recognized that her boyfriend and parents were enablers but she still took full responsibility for her condition. She also refrained from self-pity and denial, accepting exactly how dangerous her weight was, and taking accountability to undergo a drastic transformation. She said that she felt that she was pitied by her mother but knew that she was just worried about her.
Surviving, not living
When Amber signed up for My 600-lb Life, she was ready to make a huge change. At the young age of 22-years-old, Amber was just surviving, not truly living. She couldn’t do many of the normal things that young adults do, and struggled with everyday activities, only leaving her home to go to the grocery store. Life was not a fun adventure but a daily struggle, and Amber knew that she could no longer continue on such a path.
Dr. Younan Nowzaradan
Amber and many of the other stars of My 600-lb Life have Dr. Younan Nowzaradan to thank in part for their weight loss transformation. The Iranian surgeon is known for his “no-nonsense” approach to weight loss, which is one of the things that makes his procedures so successful. He tells patients that surgery is not a quick fix for their obesity problems, and often refuses to even perform the procedures unless they follow a strict diet plan and make larger lifestyle changes.
Who she wanted to be
At the beginning of Amber’s journey, she was worried and skeptical about becoming the person she wanted to be. She expressed how bad she felt about herself and her quality of life, and her clear view of what she needed to change helped her along the way. “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,” she said.
Not a simple solution
Gastric bypass surgery definitely played a role in Amber’s weight loss, however she has surprising things to say about it. When she was asked if she believes in the long term success of the procedure, she answered that she does not. You see, Amber knows that in order to achieve long-term success with weight loss, surgery is not a simple solution. It can help people in individual cases but it needs to be accompanied with diet and lifestyle changes in order to work.
Speaking of lifestyle changes, Amber has made many. She continued working out at the gym regularly and eating healthy meals, many prepared at home. She was no longer confined to her house and was even able to enroll in college and get a job. Therapy has also helped her a great deal, and as she learned to deal with her anxiety, she was better able to manage her eating habits. Keeping the weight off is not an easy process, but Amber is determined to maintain her new way of life.
No quick fix
The incredible transformation that Amber has undergone is awe inspiring, but it was not a quick process, nor was it easy. Now that Amber is recognized and active on social media, she uses her experience to encourage other people, but makes sure to remind them that there is no quick fix to issues such as obesity or eating disorders. It takes dedication and motivation to make the changes to begin with, and then even more perseverance and self control to maintain them.
Many people who succeed in losing a great deal of weight struggle to maintain their new body in the years that follow. One of the reasons that Amber is such an inspiration is that she was able to continue to lose weight after her initial weight loss and then maintain her new figure and lifestyle. From working out to eating healthy, Amber is living a completely different life from the one she was living just a few years ago.
Sharing her story
Following her episode of My 600-lb Life, Amber become something of a celebrity. She gained thousands of followers who were inspired by her transformation and positivity. She continues to talk about her story and share her words of encouragement with fans on her Facebook page as well as her Instagram. Amber is very open about her weight loss and her social media pages are a good outlet for her to continue to share her progress with people who want to keep up to date on her life.
Not a doctor
Despite the fact that many people come to her for advice, Amber reminds them that she is not a doctor, and that losing weight is a very individual process. Different people need different strategies, and what worked for Amber might not work for other people. She does not give people medical advice, reminding them instead that if they want to improve their lives they should seek out doctors and experts to help them build a program that will work for them.
If you read the comments on Amber’s social media pages, it is very clear that she has been an inspiration to many others who struggle with eating disorders and their weight. When they see Amber, they realize that it truly is possible to change their lives for the better, and become the people they want to be. Amber’s story truly is inspiring, and hopefully will help other people undergo the same type of emotional and physical changes in order to live the life they want.
Amber’s self confidence has gotten a huge boost since her transformation. She now feels great about her appearance and enjoys her small victories each day. She knows that not everything depends on the numbers on the scale, and celebrates her non-scale victories, or NSVs, regularly. Amber’s selfies and gym pictures show a very different woman than the one who first signed up for My 600-lb Life. She remains positive about her experience losing weight as well as about being an inspiration to people around the world.
A happy life
One of the things that Amber has learned to do since her weight loss is to cook at home. She lives with her husband and her dogs and points out the good things in life on her social media pages. She interacts with fans and keeps in touch with other stars from My 600-lb Life. While life is not perfect for anyone, Amber is always posting pictures of her with a smile on her face, and she seems upbeat and happy with her new life.
Hope for the future
Since Amber began her incredible weight loss journey in 2015, she has certainly come a long way. She now has the type of life she only dreamed of when she was struggling with obesity and writes positively about her future. She is proud of her progress and knows that she is an inspiration to others who are in the same situation that she was just a few years ago. According to Amber, it’s never too late to turn your life around.