Chantelle Fleming of Melbourne, Australia, had always been chubby as a little girl.
As she got older, though, her waistline continued to expand, making her a target for bullies and nasty strangers. She always blamed health issues like thyroid disease, anxiety, and polycystic ovary syndrome, but deep down she knew that her unhealthy relationship with food was at the true heart of the matter.
When Chantelle met and fell in love with her now-husband, Grant Fleming, her bad habits got even worse. She and Grant shared a fondness for fast food, king-sized chocolate bars, and liters of Red Bull. “Eating together was our thing,” Chantelle explained. “We enjoyed it so much we bought a bigger fridge to keep up with our insatiable appetites.”
By the time they walked down the aisle together, both Chantelle and Grant were at their all-time heaviest. Each of them weighed almost 400 pounds.
“For most people, losing weight is an uphill battle. But when you’re 26 years old and weigh 396 pounds, the journey ahead can feel overwhelming before it’s even begun,” Chantelle said.
It wasn’t long, though, until Chantelle’s weight reached a critical breaking point.
She started falling asleep at her desk at work, and even while driving her car. Her sleep apnea worsened and she’d sometimes wake up gasping for air at night. Her body was failing quickly, thanks to the hundreds of pounds of excess weight.
When she went to the doctor, she received the bleak, but necessary news that would result in Chantelle finally turning her life around. “My doctor was quite harsh and gave me the tough love I needed to hear. She told me the only solution was to lose weight or die. She specified that I should start planning my funeral rather than a milestone 30th birthday three years away.”
Grant and Chantelle knew that they had to stop binging and start focusing on their health. Grant vowed to work alongside his wife to address his own weight and food issues, which enabled Chantelle to throw herself into the endeavor with a partner by her side.
The couple each underwent grueling gastric bypass surgeries, and Chantelle suffered from life-threatening complications. “Eventually, I pulled through and began my new life with Grant,” she said. “Combined we have lost nearly 400 pounds together.”
“I am now 223 pounds lighter, weighing 172 pounds, and Grant dropped 176 pounds, and now tops the scales at 220 pounds. I have gone from a size 28/30 to a size 10/12.”
Grant and Chantelle now eat a healthy diet of nutritious foods, and they are passionate about exercising both together and apart. Chantelle had to have further surgery to remove 13 pounds of excess skin, but now she’s feeling trim and in charge!
“I wasted the first 17 years of my life being severely obese, depressed, and unhealthy, but now I’m excited about my future,” she said. “I’ve extended my life, I have given myself more time, and I’m looking forward to spending the next 60 years being healthy and happy with Grant, my family and making a difference in my community.”
Chantelle says the secret of making a lasting change is to “acknowledge and accept that real change takes time and patience. The first step is acknowledging. Take that first step and don’t look back.”
Chantelle and Grant, you are an inspiration to us all! Please share this story to encourage someone you know to take that first step towards healthy living today.