For most people, losing weight is an uphill battle. But when you’re 26 years old and weigh 397 pounds, the journey ahead can feel overwhelming before it’s even begun.
For Chantelle Fleming, she didn’t let those odds stop her from becoming the best version of herself. When describing her childhood years, the Australian woman says she had always been a chubby kid. As an adult, she says she sank into a deep depression and had other health problems like polycystic ovary syndrome, thyroid issues, insulin resistance, and anxiety. Food became her only source of happiness, and as a result, her weight spiraled out of control.
“I’d tried every diet under the sun, but they never worked. I always found my way back to food,” she said.
On Tuesdays we transform 🦋 I look back on the changes we have both made, physically, mentally and emotionally and I couldn't be prouder. There is no one else on this planet who understands me like you do. Tomorrow is a very special day for us and we get to spend it together like always being the idiots we are. You have completed me, you filled in the missing puzzle piece.. you helped find my voice and most importantly you helped me realise my self worth. I'm incredibly lucky to have you on this journey with me! 177kg lost between us both... and we still ain't done yet 💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻 . 💕 . 💕 . 💕 . #gastricsleevecrew #wls #vsg #vsgfamily #vsginstacrew #transformationtuesday #aussiewlsbabes #transformation #excessskin #extremeweightlossstory #wlscouple #wlscommunity #sleeve #notfinishedyet #wlsgoal #gastricsleevesuccess
After meeting her now-husband Grant, she fell into blissful romance...and her bad habits. “Grant had always had an issue with food as well, so together we were a terrible combo,” she said. “It escalated when we moved in together. We’d order takeout meals twice a day and snacked on family size bars of chocolate and greasy pastries."
“Eating together was our thing. We enjoyed it so much we bought a bigger fridge to keep up with our insatiable appetites,” Chantelle continued.
When they got married, the couple were both at their heaviest, with Chantelle tipping the scales at 397 pounds. “One day I was sat at my desk at work and I nodded off. I was so shocked, I went to see my doctor, hoping she’d give me some anti-inflammatories to ease my discomfort,” the 29-year-old said. “But she told me the only solution was to lose weight or die."
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It was this scary news that threw the pair into a complete life overhaul. Making a pact with her husband that they would lose weight together, they had a renewed confidence and determination.
Fleming and Grant decided to get gastric-sleeve surgery and had to undergo an eight-week shake diet in the lead-up. Following the surgery, Fleming had complications, and doctors were unsure she’d survive. Eventually, she pulled through and began her new life with her husband. Combined, Chantelle and Grant lost 400 pounds together — in a year.
Chantelle is now 214 pounds lighter, weighing 183 pounds, and Grant, 34, dropped 176 pounds, now topping the scales at 220 pounds.
The happy couple has said goodbye to binge eating for good and consumes healthy foods. “We lost weight incredibly fast and learnt all about food and nutrition in the process,” Chantelle said. They’ve now started a podcast called "Changing Our Weighs" in a bid to help others and shine the light on stereotypes of overweight people.
I believe that we are who we choose to be. Nobody is going to come and save you. You've got to save yourelf. Nobody is going to give you anything. You've got to go out and fight for it. Nobody knows what you want except you, and nobody will be as sorry as you if you dont get it. So dont give up on your dreams. Took me 2 years to finally see that light I had been looking for... if I can do it... you can too! Happy #transformationtuesday ✌🏻 . 💕 . 💕 . 💕 . #gastricsleevecrew #transformationtuesday #transformation #weightlossinspiration #weightlossstory #weightlossinspiration #vsgfam #vsgfamily #NSV#gastricsleevesuccess #vsg #foodattitude #vsgcommunity #vsginstacrew #cosmeditourcompetition #cosmeditour #extremeweightloss #aussiewlsbabes #transformation
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For Chantelle, however, losing all that weight was only half the battle. As a result of dropping so much so fast, she’s now left with 13 pounds of excess skin — something she says is a reminder of her old life.
“My stomach hangs down so low I have to tuck it into my undies, and I’m desperate to have surgery to remove it,” she said. “I’ve come so far, but having all the ugly excess skin is a constant reminder of what I used to be like.”
She is scheduled to go under the knife in February next year and has set up a GoFundMe page in a bid to cover the cost for surgery.
This post was written by Jacqui King. For more, check out our sister site Now To Love.