A woman who lost nearly half her body weight after being fat-shamed by her own family has revealed the severe discomfort she suffers after being left with excess skin and a ‘disfigured’ body.
Amanda Eltaher, 29, from New York, was brought up in an Italian household that loved their food and found herself indulging in hearty meals regularly.
At her peak weight, the SEO strategist weighed 243.6lbs (17st 4lb) and was constantly berated by her family for her size, who told her she was fat and would never find love if she didn’t lose weight.
Amanda Eltaher (pictured left, before weight loss, and right, after), 29, from New York, went from from 243lbs (17 stone 4lbs) to 126lbs (9 stone 1lb) following surgery
Amanda’s family’s comments made her feel ‘worthless’ and she admits to often wishing she ‘didn’t exist anymore’.
Despite trying various weight loss methods, Amanda struggled to lose weight and was eventually told by doctors that she had a high risk of developing diabetes.
The news motivated Amanda to undergo a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, which removes 80 per cent of the stomach and limits the amount of food a person can eat to only 4oz.
The surgery helped her reduce her weight to 126lbs (9st 1Ib) but she is now left with excess skin that has made her feel extremely self-conscious and in constant discomfort.
Amanda underwent a vertical sleeve gastrectomy which helped her reduce her weight but left her with excess skin (pictured) that has made her feel self-conscious and in constant discomfort
She now plans to get surgery to remove her loose skin (pictured) to fully feel the benefit of her slimmer figure
Describing the reasons behind her weight gain at a young age, Amanda said: ‘Severe depression and PTSD that stemmed from physical and verbal/emotional abuse in the home from a young age was a big factor.
‘It made me hate myself and feel like I was worthless. I felt like my only goal in life was to lose weight in order for people to like me.
‘I often wished that I didn’t exist anymore. I was depressed and never understood what people meant when they said that you have to learn how to love yourself; the concept of loving myself was so foreign to me.’
Reflecting on the horrible remarks made by her relatives, she continued: ‘My family would make all sorts of comments from “you’re never going to find a man or husband if you don’t lose weight” to “stop being lazy”.
‘They would also say, “you’ll never have a career if you don’t lose weight”, “no one will ever have kids with you if you don’t lose weight”, “you would be so beautiful if you would just lose the weight”.’
Amanda pictured during her vertical sleeve gastrectomy weight loss surgery, which removed 80 per cent of her stomach
Amanda began her weight loss journey through therapy, admitting: ‘I did not want my lifelong struggle with my weight to be what I was known for.
‘I wanted to be healthy, I wanted to have a family, and I just wanted to be happy and learn how to love myself.
‘I tried every meal plan, exercise regimen, multiple attempts at Weight Watchers, with no success. It wasn’t until I was borderline PCOS and pre-diabetic that I decided I needed to do something extreme.’
She added: ‘My weight loss surgery was extremely hard. I went into it thinking it was the easy way out, but to be honest diet and exercise would have been easier.’
Yet while her weight loss has vastly improved her health and she is no long at risk for PCOS and diabetes, her excess skin leaves her in constant pain.
She now plans to get surgery to remove her loose skin to fully feel the benefit of her slimmer figure and feel confident enough to date, and has set up a Go Fund Me to help raise the money for the procedure.
Amanda, pictured showing her extra skin, has set up a Go Fund Me to help raise the money for the procedure, which will remove the excess
‘Through years of therapy, I finally can say that I love myself,’ Amanda confessed. ‘I finally understand what it means to love myself.
‘I no longer feel worthless, I’m happy, and I am making the most of my life. Shopping is enjoyable for the first time in my life.’
Speaking about her discomfort around her loose skin, Amanda said: ‘Having the excess skin removed is important to me because despite my weight loss, my body still looks the same, just smaller.
‘The loose skin makes me feel extremely insecure about myself and it causes me a lot of pain in my day to day life. At five-foot-two, I never realised how tiny my frame was until the weight came off.
‘With gravity pulling on my skin constantly; compression garments have become a staple in my wardrobe. My skin is often sore, sweaty, and develops rashes because of how much skin I have been left with.’
She added: ‘My body is totally – in my opinion – disfigured and I am in major need of reconstruction.’
Speaking about her discomfort around her loose skin (pictured), Amanda said: ‘Having the excess skin removed is important to me because despite my weight loss, my body still looks the same’
Amanda candidly explained that the extra skin (pictured) makes it hard for her to date ‘because people are still very judgemental even in 2019’
Amanda candidly explained that the extra skin makes it hard for her to date ‘because people are still very judgemental even in 2019’.
‘Even if I were to meet a man, I would be very deterred from being intimate with him because of the skin,’ she explained.
‘Having the skin removed would mean the world to me. I would no longer be in pain, which is my biggest concern, and I would finally feel like a normal woman, something that I have no idea what it feels like.’
Offering advice to those struggling with weight loss, she said: ‘I would say explore all of your options.
‘Don’t listen to what friends and family say. At the end of the day this is your life, not theirs and the only person who matters is you.
‘Your happiness is the only thing that matters when it comes to your personal struggles, whether it be weight loss or otherwise.’
For confidential support call the National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255. For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, or see samaritans.org for details.