'I had friends with waists smaller than my thigh': How morbidly obese woman challenged inner demons to lose 157lbs
17:12 GMT, 17 July 2012
After a year-long regime of extreme exercise and dieting, it is time for one woman to start enjoying her twenties.
A year ago, at age 27, Nyla from Houston, Texas, weighed 435lb and was about 300lb overweight.
With the help from television coach Chris Powell, she participated in ABC's Extreme Make Over: Weight Loss Edition and lost a whopping 157lbs – she now weighs 278lbs.
Before and after: Nyla shed an impressive 157lbs with help from ABC show Extreme Make Over: Weightloss Edition
'I never thought that at 27, I would
look like this,' Nyla said at the start of the transformation. 'I don't
feel like I'm in my twenties.'
Mr Powell surprised Nyla after she finished a roughly 5,000-calorie, 10lb plate of crawfish.
'I have friends who have waists smaller than my thigh,' she said, as she measured herself at the start of the 86-minute episode, which screened on Sunday night.
Since her transformation, Nyla can walk stairs, goes for walks in her neighborhood and can cross her legs.
Fighting her demons: Nyla struggles to lose weight during a year-long transformation
An impossible task: Nyla and coach Chris Powell struggle during the first work out of her one year challenge to transform her life
But Nyla was off to a rocky start and lost
less than 100lbs in the first six months of the challenge, which hasn't
happened before in the history of the show, according to Mr Powell.
'You don't get this large by just liking
food. This is a manifestation of issues that I am
trying to deal with'
Unable to complete the work outs Mr Powell made her do, Nyla grew increasingly frustrated.
'Two minutes into the work out,' Nyla said, 'I was in full tantrum mode.'
Unwilling to listen to Mr Powell and not giving up fast foods such as pizza and ramen noodles, she didn't meet her first two goals.
'She was committing suicide the slow way,' Mr Powell said.
A crippling fear of failure also complicated her progress. Nyla admitted: 'I just can't take another failure.'
Seeking solace in food: During her year-long transformation, Nyla struggled to keep up with a 1500 calorie a day diet
Besides a physical transformation, Nyla experienced a psychological one as well.
'I got to save myself, from myself,' she said.
'You don't get this large by just liking food,' she said. 'This is a manifestation of issues that I am trying to deal with.'
One of those issues was the trauma of being abandoned by her father at a young age and never knowing who he was.
Working out: Nyla trains with her coach in an effort to lose weight on Extreme Make Over: Weight Loss Edition
The show hired a private investigator to track him down, and found that Nyla's father committed suicide in 2010 at age 53.
Nyla's turning point was meeting her father's side of the family, after which she was determined to keep going.
'I care more about this than I have cared about anything,' she said. But, she admitted, 'I never thought it'd be this hard.'
Six months into the challenge, Nyla – who loves to dance – was rewarded with a private dance class with an instructor from Dancing With The Stars.
Transformed: TV coach Chris Powell shows off Nyla to her family and friends, after she has just lost 157lbs
Since participating in the television show, Nyla has kept going and became a dance instructor at her local gym, shedding more pounds.
And what about boys
'I'm still single,' she said. But, she added, 'there's a dreamy guy at the gym.'
At the final weigh in, Nyla was rewarded for her hard work with a $50,000 gift certificate to help her buy the vegetables and healthy meats she needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle.