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Obese California mother lost 154lbs in 22 months

A single mother of four who booked in for weight loss surgery and lost more than 154 pounds in 22 months following her diabetes diagnosis has proudly revealed the severely sagging excess skin she has been left with, while insisting that this doesn’t change how much she loves her new body.

Urologic surgery nurse and single mother Stephanie Cotton, from Oceanside California, spent years of her life binging on junk food, consuming more than 3,000 calories a day.

This lifestyle led to her putting on 320 pounds while reaching a US dress size 26. Stephanie wrestled with constant pain and, after finding out she had type one diabetes, she decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery in 2005.

Transformation: Nurse and single mother Stephanie Cotton, from Oceanside California, went from a US dress size 26 (left) to a size four to six (right) after having gastric surgery

Consequences: While the journey was successful, Stephanie has struggled with the excess skin that has been left on her body. She plans on having it removed at the end of the year

Consequences: While the journey was successful, Stephanie has struggled with the excess skin that has been left on her body. She plans on having it removed at the end of the year

Reasons: Stephanie's family history, along with her type one diabetes diagnosis, prompted her to opt for the procedure and to get a roux-en-Y bypass

Reasons: Stephanie’s family history, along with her type one diabetes diagnosis, prompted her to opt for the procedure and to get a roux-en-Y bypass

‘I was in constant pain, so I was miserable; my body was so heavy. I had diabetes, high blood pressure and constant joint pain,’ Stephanie said of her life before the surgery.

‘I hated looking at what I had done to myself in the mirror, so I would avoid the mirror as much as possible. I was depressed.’ 

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass may be done for people with severe obesity. During the procedure, the stomach is split in two to create a pouch out of the smaller section of the stomach, attaching it to the small intestine, thus bypassing the large portion of the stomach and all of the duodenum (the first portion of the small intestine).

Stephanie’s family history, along with her diabetes diagnosis, prompted her to opt for the procedure.

Diabetes can cause serious long-term health problems and is the most common cause of vision loss and blindness in people of working age. Type one diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the body’s immune system destroys cells in the pancreas by mistake. It is different from type two diabetes, for which being overweight is one of the main risk factors.

People with type one diabetes will need to look after their health carefully, which can include eating a healthy, balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight, among other health-related lifestyle habits.

Procedure: 'It's hard to bust your butt daily in the gym and your efforts are slightly hidden with skin, which is why I'm having excess skin removal in December,' she said

Procedure: ‘It’s hard to bust your butt daily in the gym and your efforts are slightly hidden with skin, which is why I’m having excess skin removal in December,’ she said

Habits: The mother of four now goes to the gym six days a week and runs during her lunch break, while eating food high in protein and low in carbohydrates

Habits: The mother of four now goes to the gym six days a week and runs during her lunch break, while eating food high in protein and low in carbohydrates

‘Being diagnosed with diabetes was the ultimate decision maker for me. Both of my grandfathers passed away from things that could have been prevented—one from a heart attack and the other from complications with diabetes,’ she said.

‘Binge eating led me to my heaviest weight. I could sit and eat large amounts despite being full, I would keep eating. I have four kids and I didn’t want to leave them without a mother.’

The surgery led to Stephanie shedding an astonishing 163 pounds, reaching a size four to six. After the procedure, she reduced her daily caloric intake to around 1,200 calories a day.

The mother-of-four now goes to the gym six days a week and runs during her lunch break, while eating food high in protein and low in carbohydrates. She also make sure to drink lots of water. 

‘Losing the weight has completely changed my life. I can do so much more; I can run, dance, work out, play with my kids, and enjoy life without the weight of my body holding me back,’ she said. 

New life: 'The symptoms of diabetes have reduced for me and I don't have hypertension anymore, and I am living now when before I was just existing,' the mom said

New life: ‘The symptoms of diabetes have reduced for me and I don’t have hypertension anymore, and I am living now when before I was just existing,’ the mom said

Words of advice: To others wanting to embark on a weight loss journey, Stephanie recommended patience, adding: 'It's not a race to the finish line'

Words of advice: To others wanting to embark on a weight loss journey, Stephanie recommended patience, adding: ‘It’s not a race to the finish line’

‘The symptoms of diabetes have reduced for me and I don’t have hypertension anymore, and I am living now when before I was just existing. I love myself and I’m proud of how far I have come.

‘I will forever remain humble because I won’t ever forget where I have been.’

While the journey was successful, Stephanie has struggled with the excess skin that has been left on her body. She plans on having it removed at the end of the year.

‘The hardest thing so far has been my loose skin. It’s hard to bust your butt daily in the gym and your efforts are slightly hidden with skin, which is why I’m having excess skin removal in December,’ she said.

‘I always get people saying, “Wow you’re half the person you used to be” or “wow you’re so tiny.” That’s a word I’m definitely not used to hearing.’

To others wanting to embark on a weight loss journey, Stephanie recommended patience. 

‘Take this day by day. Embrace each day and live by your truth,’ she said. ‘Be honest with yourself about what you want to achieve and set reasonable goals to achieve them. It’s not a race to the finish line.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk