By Sarah Francis
A formerly obese mum has planned FIVE operations to remove excess skin after losing 180lbs (12.8st) – thanks to therapy.
Wendy Epperly-Miller, 36, struggled with her weight her whole life, following bouts of yo-yo dieting.
When she tipped the scales at 430lbs (30.7st), doctors recommended weight loss surgery but the mum of two decided to take a different approach.
Instead, Wendy began counselling to change the way viewed food, and in six months she had lost 50lbs (3.5st).
Now the super slimmer hopes to complete her transformation by having an estimated 30lbs of excess skin removed.
The brave stay at home mum shared candid images to show the damage of her weight in the hopes her story will ‘save another’s life.’
Wendy from in Loves Park, Illinois, USA, said: “I’m an emotional eating.
“I ate a lot of processed food, junk food like pizza and chips.
“I was extremely miserable. I was depressed and cried all the time. I couldn’t do it anymore.
“Once I started to go to therapy everything changed – it was like a miracle.
“Now I just feel so alive, I can play with my kids again.”
After years of overeating, the mum of twin girls had reached her heaviest by 2014.
Ditching her failed fad diets, in 2015, she started therapy to get to the root of the problem.
Wendy said: “We went through all the hidden emotions that led me to be heavy. I had a good childhood but I was emotional dependent on food.
“I knew that I had to lose weight and I knew how but at the same time I was still eating crap and I didn’t know why. I just could not get past my mind block.
“With therapy, I was able to finally view food as something I need to live and nourish my body as opposed to just living to eat.”
Wendy quit sugar and switched to a high protein diet and six months later, after losing 50lbs, she joined her first gym.
She said: “The first time I went to the gym it was awful, I couldn’t breathe and I hated it but now I am obsessed.
“Now, it is an amazing addiction.”
The inspiring mum goes three or four times a week, for up to three hours at a time.
She added: “Losing the weight has changed my life.
“I was having high blood pressure but now that’s improved.
“And I can chase my kids around, which they can’t believe.”
For Wendy, the next step is to rid herself of her sagging skin – a constant reminder of her past.
She said: “With the excess skin there have been many times that I have gotten a rash under my folds which burns and hurts.
“Going to the gym is so hard with all that skin hanging there making my workouts difficult as my skin slaps against my body or gets in the way.
“It’s like I worked so hard to lose this weight because I am trapped with all this skin.
“I am very self-conscious. It’s stopping me as I still feel depressed when I look in the mirror.
“I need five different surgeries. I need my lowest roll removed, a 360 all the way around my body, arms, legs and breasts done.”
Wendy posted candid photos to show the damage her weight caused on her fundraising page here.
She added: “I did hesitate at first to post the pictures.
“I was so scared that I would be judged for the way I look since I have been heavy my whole life.
“I have always self sabotaged myself so this put me in a very vulnerable position.
“I finally decided to do it because if I can save even just one life by telling and showing my story then it is worth it 100% and I feel now that it was the best decision and it feels great.”