An obese wife who was warned she was on a ‘fast track to early death’ has lost 90kg to win a body transformation championship.
Veronica Colbert, 33, from Brisbane, Australia, was shocked by the perilous prognosis three-years-ago after suffering with breathing difficulties and dizziness.
Months previously, while weighing over 150kg, she was asked by a doctor if she had considered weight loss surgery, during an appointment for an unrelated issue.
Remember the shocking words, she opted for a gastric sleeve having tried countless diets, fads and exercise without success in the past.
Thanks to carefully considering her food intake, working out and small weight loss goals, she hit her target but was left with mounds of saggy excess skin.
She initially considered it ‘a badge of honour’, but over time it became a ‘sad reminder’ of the damage she had inflicted upon her body.
Five months ago, she had surgery to remove 5kg of skin, ridding her of the ‘large arm flaps’, ‘saggy egg breasts’ and ‘wrinkled thighs’.
She continued to slim down to 59kg and last month was awarded first place in a competition for the Inaugural Queensland Transformation Championships.
“It felt amazing,” Veronica, a procurement professional, said. “I didn’t realise at first that I had won, and I was so shocked.
“There was so many deserving and inspirational people that were also competing.”
Veronica explained the competition was specifically for people “who had transformed their lives through better health and fitness”.
However, she always thought she “would be the over weight and unhealthy person”.
“At 150kg I never thought I would ever be in a position where I would be winning a transformation competition,” she said. “In fact, I thought I would never be able to lose weight. I felt like I was a lost cause.”
Her transformation has been so drastic, Veronica admitted people find it difficult to believe it’s her in photos.
“Most people find it hard to believe it is me when they see pictures,” she said. “I find that hard to take as in my eyes I was just taking back my life and prolonging my life.”
Veronica’s weight gain took place over a decade, when she piled on a massive 100kg leaving her with a 36.6 BMI – the highest level of obesity.
Her cravings for sugary foods and drinks worsened in 2008, which she believes was due to underlying health problems.
Veronica’s weight-loss wake-up call, arrived after doctors made judgements about her size and asked whether she had considered weight loss surgery.
But she was initially “offended” by the suggestion as she wasn’t even visiting the doctor because of her weight.
“Fast forward to a few months after that and I was told I was having issues with my heart,” she said. “I had a leaky valve that was causing me to be breathless and have dizzy spells.
Veronicas was told by doctors at the age of 31 she was on “the fast track for an early death”.
“It was at this time that I knew I had to find a permanent solution, so I remembered the comment the doctor had said about weight loss surgery and started researching it,” she said.
Veronica went under the knife in 2016 for a gastric sleeve and was able to drop down to a healthy weight by September the following year.
But her success was overshadowed by her remaining excess skin.
Eventually Veronica had an extended tummy tuck, arm lift, breast lift and bra-line lift in March, to rid her of 5kg of loose and hanging flab.
Since her transformation she says people are inspired by her online and in public she struggles with the attention she now gets from strangers.
“I get more attention and in turn I find it difficult to accept compliments,” she admitted. “When I was 150kg people used to say to me that I would look so much prettier if I lost weight.
“Beauty is not measured in kilograms. It is measured by your heart.
“I am so much healthier now than I ever was. My quality of life is greater, my life span has grown, and my confidence has been boosted so very much.”
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