A mother-of-two who once tipped the scales at 496lbs is finally celebrating losing more than half her body weight after having 18lbs of heavy excess skin removed from her body.
Linda Freeman, 37, from Stratford, Oklahoma, shed 280lbs in just a year and a half by following a healthy diet and exercise routine. Although she should have been proud of her incredible weight loss, she was disgusted by the excess skin that hung from her body.
‘This excess skin is horrible. It’s gross. It’s disgusting. It’s enough to make me give up,’ she explained on Wednesday night’s episode of the TLC series Skin Tight. ‘You try to hide it; you can’t. Nothing I do is going to make this any better.’
Success: Linda Freeman, 37, from Stratford, Oklahoma, went from 216lbs (L) to 198lbs (R) after having 18lbs of excess skin removed from her body
Hard to handle: The mother-of-two called the hanging flesh a ‘punishment worse than death’
Disgusted: ‘My legs are so wrinkled most 80 year old women have nicer ones,’ she said
Linda went on to call the hanging flesh a ‘punishment worse than death.’
Looking back at her childhood, Linda said she developed her unhealthy eating habits at a young age because she would binge on hard candy and snacks whenever she would go hunting with her father.
Linda got pregnant with her oldest daughter Annabell when she was just 18 years old, and she turned to food for comfort after her child’s father left her for the woman he was cheating on her with when she was six months pregnant.
The young mom turned to food for comfort, and she admitted she would eat 5,500 to 6,000 calories per day.
Despite her weight gain, she got married for a second time, and she gave birth to her daughter Bonnie 14 years after she had Annabell. Sadly, Linda learned that her second husband was cheating on her as well.
Throwback: Before her incredible weight loss, Linda weighed 496lbs at her heaviest
Struggle: Linda said she developed unhealthy eating habits at a young age and had always been ‘chubby’
Heartache: Linda got pregnant at age 16, and she turned to food for comfort after her child’s father left her for the woman he was cheating on her with when she was six months pregnant
‘When I decided to end our marriage I weighed 496lbs,’ she recalled.
Linda’s initial weight loss was fueled by heartbreak, and she started by making simple changes. She first cut out soda and pastries, and then she started counting calories.
‘It wasn’t an overnight change, but I was losing weight pretty rapidly,’ she explained.
Although she lost more than half of her body weight, the excess skin that she was left with made her feel fat.
‘My legs are so wrinkled most 80 year old women have nicer ones,’ she griped, noting that the flesh that hung off her stomach was so heavy, it hurt her back.
Eating her feelings: Linda got married again and had another daughter, but her husband also cheated on her. When she finally got divorced, she weighed nearly 500lbs
Changes: Linda’s initial weight loss was fueled by heartbreak, and counting calories helped her lose more than half her body weight
It’s all happening: Houston-based surgeon Dr. Younan Nowzaradan approved Linda for skin removal surgery during their first consultation
Linda tried to hide her excess skin by wearing baggy clothes, but every day she went to work at a correctional facility, she had to be pat down by a stranger who would feel all of her extra flesh.
The skin also affected her personal life. She and her friend Phillip were on the verge of having a romantic relationship, but her excess skin kept her from taking the leap from friendship to something more.
As a last resort, she traveled to Houston, Texas, to meet with weight loss surgeon Dr. Younan Nowzaradan about skin removal surgery.
After the consultation, the doctor said she needed a hernia operation, but she was ultimately approved for surgery.
Getting started: Dr. Nowzaradan performed a 360-degree abdominoplasty for Linda’s first procedure
Look at that: Linda wanted to touch the 12.78lbs of skin the doctor had removed from her body during her first surgery
Thrilled: Linda couldn’t believe how flat her stomach was after the procedure
Linda’s first procedure was a 360-degree abdominoplasty, but when Dr. Nowzaradan went to fix her hernia, he realized she actually had four different hernias.
They were originally fixed with mesh, but none of them held. The surgeon was concerned that one of the old mesh pieces could have perforated her bowl, explaining that a leaky bowl could lead to deadly sepsis.
Fortunately, the doctor was able to repair her hernias while removing 12.78lbs of excess skin from her stomach.
When Linda checked out the results in the mirror a few days later, she was in shock over how flat her waist was, noting that it was the smallest that it had ever been.
For her second surgery, Dr. Nowzaradan removed excess skin from her arms, armpits, and side of her chest, and he also gave her a thigh lift.
Recovered: The mother-of-two proudly showed off her body after her second skin removal surgery
Looking good: For the first time since her weight loss, Linda was proud of her body
Look of love: The skin removal surgery gave Linda the confidence to start a romantic relationship with her friend Phillip
Linda had a total of 18lbs of skin removed, bringing her total weight loss to 298lbs. She proudly donned a strapless dress while showing off her new body to her family and friends.
The transformation also gave her the confidence to pursue a romantic relationship with Phillip, and the two couldn’t be happier.
‘Getting my extra skin removed, it wasn’t just for me. It was also for my daughters,’ she explained at the end of the episode. ‘
When I was at my heaviest — and even with the skin — we didn’t go out. But since I’ve had these surgeries, I have getting out a lot more.’
Angel Ortiz, 30, from Selma, North Carolina, also had her excess skin surgically removed on last night’s episode of Skin Tight.
Then and wow: Angel Ortiz, 30, from Selma, North Carolina, went from 168lbs to 158lbs after having 10lbs of excess skin removed
Heavy: Before the surgery, the skin that hung from Angel’s stomach caused her back pain
Daily effort: ‘I feel like a stuffed sausage,’ she said of the compression garments she wore
Like Linda, Angel had difficulty celebrating her 182lb weight loss because she couldn’t stand the sight of her excess skin.
‘My excess skin looks terrible. It’s saggy and it’s watery and it feels soft and squishy,’ she explained. ‘I just want to be rid of it once and for all.’
In order to keep her flesh from smelling or getting rashes, Angel had to rub it with lotion before covering it with compression garments.
‘I feel like a stuffed sausage,’ she admitted. ‘I don’t want to be reminded every day for the rest of my life that I used to weight 350lbs.
Angel always struggled with her weight, and she tipped the scales at 170lbs when she was a teen.
Looking back: Angel said she had always struggled with her weight
Tragedy: She ate her feelings after the death of her mother (pictured)
Embarrassed: Angel hit her breaking point when she was asked to be in her sister’s wedding and had to get a different dress than the other bridesmaids because of her size
Weight loss winner: Angel had gastric bypass surgery and lost 180lbs
She got pregnant at age 16, and by the time she was eight months along, she weighed 240lbs.
Shortly after her daughter Hailey was born, Angel learned that she was pregnant with her son.
Her weight increase only got worse when her mother died of diabetes and high cholesterol. The heartbreak of losing her mom caused her weight to skyrocket to 350lbs.
Angel’s husband Steven admitted that he was often away for work, and his wife was left to turn to food for comfort.
She hit her breaking point when she was asked to be in her sister’s wedding, but she had to get a different dress than the other bridesmaids because of her size.
Consulation: Dr. John LoMonaco was able to do one surgery divided into three stages: buttock lift and hip lift, tummy tuck, and breast lift
Beautiful: Angel happily showed off her new figure in a figure-hugging teal dress after she recovered from the procedure
Feeling good: Angel said having her excess skin removed gave her the confidence she needed
Angel had gastric bypass surgery, and while she lost 180lbs, she was plagued with excess skin, which was both painful and unsightly.
She made the decision to meet with surgeon Dr. John LoMonaco, who warned her that she would have a ‘very visible scar’ on her stomach before he approved her for skin removal surgery.
He was able to do one surgery divided into three stages: buttock lift and hip lift, tummy tuck, and breast lift.
Angel had a total of 10lbs of skin removed, taking her total weight loss to 192lbs. She happily showed off her new figure in a figure-hugging teal dress while seeing her husband for the first time since her recovery.
‘When I look at myself, I see a warrior, someone who has been through so much,’ she said. ‘Now I have confidence to add to that, and it makes me feel really good.’