A plus-size model is flaunting her figure in stunning photo shoots after losing a staggering 155 pounds thanks to life-changing surgery.
Rochelle Monique Murrell, 35, from Washington DC, went under the knife to have her stomach reduced to the size of a banana.
She began piling on the weight after an injury to her knee and weighed 338lbs (27st 2Ibs), which left the model feeling like a ‘monster’.
After dropping from a US size 26 (UK 30) to a US size 14 (UK 18), Rochelle is now working as a plus size model and feels ‘liberated’ when showing off her trimmed down figure in sexy pictures.
Transformation: Plus-size model Rochelle Monique Murrell, 35, from Washington DC, has lost 155 pounds and weighed over 338lbs (27 stone) at her heaviest (pictured before and after)
In March 2016 Rochelle decided to make a dramatic change in her lifestyle and body to pursue her dream of becoming the next successful plus size model.
She booked herself in for a vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG), the process of removing a large portion of the stomach; reducing it to the size of a banana, in order to limit the amount of food intake.
VSG can reduce the stomach’s volume by up to 75 percent and is usually performed using keyhole surgery.
Rochelle swapped a diet laden with fast food to one low in carbohydrates, and began exercising three to five times a week. In less than a year she saw her weight drop to 216lbs (15st 9Ibs).
Rochelle was a US size 26 (UK 30) and says she felt like a ‘monster’ at her heaviest
Rochelle lost 216lbs (15st 9Ibs) after the surgery shrunk her stomach to the size of a banana
Rochelle’s self-esteem had suffered when she was at her heaviest, saying she felt ‘ashamed’ of the way she looked.
‘I was a people-person, but suffered from low self-esteem due to my weight. I believe my lack of confidence paired with my knee injury led to my heaviest weight,’ Rochelle said.
‘I couldn’t work out because of the injury, so I just let myself go. I wasn’t happy with myself; where I was in life and how things were going.
‘I felt like a monster; I was so ashamed that I had let myself get that big.
She blames a knee injury she sustained her low self esteem for gaining all the weight, and started her weight loss journey in March last year. Pictured left before and right today
Rochelle has 38,000 Instagram followers and documented her weight loss journey on social media
‘I wanted to live. I wanted to be a successful plus size model and live my dream. I’ve always been in love with fashion and I just started to take pictures.
‘I would reach out to different companies and photographers. I would also walk into fashion shows for church and other organisations.’
Rochelle says being a plus size model is ‘liberating’ and makes her feel ‘powerful and sexy’.
‘I had VSG and I also eat a low carb diet while working out three to five times a week. I’m no longer a prisoner in my body. I have a whole new confidence in myself. I’m full of energy and ready to take on the world,’ she said.
After the surgery Rochelle changed her diet and stopped eating processed food and carbs
Rochelle still suffered from low self-esteem after losing the weight but managed to keep it off
‘Modelling is liberating. It makes me feel powerful and sexy. I am a work in progress, but I absolutely love the skin I’m in. I’m very proud of myself.’
With her new outlook on life, Rochelle has completely turned around her exercising and diet routine.
‘I stopped eating processed food and a lot of carbs; like bread and pasta. I stay as active as possible; I walk, exercise three to five times a week, I also like to hike and take a spin class,’ she said.
While she is achieving her dream of becoming a model, it wasn’t easy to shake off the insecure voices in her head.
She advises other people at the start of their weight loss journey to stay consistent
‘Changing my mindset was very hard and knowing that the cravings were only temporary and I didn’t need to give in,’ she said.
‘Now people say things like ”you look so good”, ”I barely recognised you”, and my personal favourite is ”you’ve lost a whole person”.
‘Make the decision and start your journey. No matter the route you take. Stay consistent and do not let your feelings outweigh your goals.’