Catrina Raiford tipped the scales at 955 pounds and was bed-bound for five years, until she had her home bulldozed to free her from her bed after suffering breathing difficulties. From there she began her weight loss journey.
She had always had problems with her weight, following years of sexual abuse as a child, Catrina found comfort in sweet, sugary snacks and secret eating.
By the age of 12, Catrina was so big that her mother had to start making her clothes as shops did not stock sizes large enough to fit her.
Aged 14, and weighing 448lbs, Catrina was admitted to a psychiatric home for eight months to help her deal with her overeating.
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Feeling unable to discuss the abuse with anyone, even this did not help and she continued to gain weight.
Soon she did not leave her home and would spend her days eating and avoiding people.
In 2013, Catrina embarked on a strict diet and had gastric bypass surgery to lose more than 500lbs, reaching 448lbs in 2014, her same weight when she was 14 years old.
But it was Catrina’s resilience after the surgery that keeps her going.
She’s not only doing it for the weight loss, but a successful weight loss surgery involves a complete lifestyle change to avoid bruising, gallstones or even greater weight gain.
But now she’s given her first interview.
“The horrific experience of having rescue workers tear down the wall in my home was not only significant because the workers were there to save my life, it was symbolic of me breaking away from my past.
“The demolition of that wall was the beginning of me breaking away from being a prisoner in my own home, me breaking away from obesity-related medical conditions, breaking away from immobility, and breaking away from the death grip that the fat had held on my life for so many years.
“After leaving the hospital I was admitted to a weight-loss facility, underwent weight-loss surgery, improved my diet and began to exercise regularly. Since that time,