At 23 years old, Jessica Weber has taken her extreme weight-loss transformation viral. As People reports, Weber reached 383 pounds last year and decided to make a change and go down the path toward a healthier lifestyle after having an emotional talk with her mom.
“My mom actually started crying, and told me she thought I’d die before her. It just hit me hard, and I knew I had to start losing weight. It became my motivation!”
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To get her on the right track to eating less and living a healthier lifestyle, Weber underwent vertical sleeve gastrectomy, which is a surgery that removes a large portion of the stomach to help with weight loss. As a result, the amount of food that can be consumed is limited and it incites “full” feelings after eating small amounts of food.
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Candidates for this type of procedure typically include those who have a BMI of 40 or more (normal BMIs are between 18.5 and 25) and are at least 100 pounds over their recommended weight. However, the surgery alone is not a permanent solution for losing weight. It helps train your mind and body to eat less, but it requires a great commitment post-surgery as well (following a healthy diet and exercise plan) to maintain your results and avoid the risk of complications.
Weber did exactly that, and in 15 months, dropped 185 pounds. To keep her weight in check, she sticks to a low-carb, high-fat diet, and according to her Instagram account, logs a pretty intensive fitness regimen.
“I’m not perfect by any means, and I do stray off of it, but that’s what I stick to for the most part,” she told People. “So far it’s been a constant struggle. I have to wake up every day and convince my mind that this is the right thing to do. So many people don’t understand that it’s a mental battle more than physical.”
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One big (and very common) side effect of extreme weight loss is excess skin, which Weber experienced a great deal. “I was always prepared for it, but it is still such a struggle to deal with daily,” she said. “I’ve seen some people lose weight and have it not be such a problem, but I wasn’t that lucky.” To turn a less-than-ideal situation into a positive one, Weber bravely took to social media to share her journey and motivate other people to stay strong along the way throughout their own personal body struggles.
“I wanted to be open about it on Instagram because I wanted people to realize what obesity does,” she said. “That they can make changes, but they’ll also face problems with loose skin in all areas. I want people to not be scared, or feel hidden of what they accomplished after weight loss!”
Although she was nervous and hesitant to post her photos for the world to see, Weber said she’s glad she did and she’s surprised by all the kindness she’s received. “Seeing everyone so positive has been the best feeling. It makes me more open about my journey!”
As far as next steps, Weber is focused on losing her last 38–48 pounds, and then has plans to undergo a tummy tuck, which will get rid of the excess skin and reshape her abdomen.