How one woman realised childhood dream of becoming a softball coach after losing 364lbs in seven years
My 600-Lb Life charted the lives of four morbidly obese adults as they battled to confront their weight and shed pounds.
The TLC series finale last night saw Ashley lose an astonishing 364lbs from her huge frame, and credited much of her motivation to a love of softball.
'I used to play softball when I was young. I played every summer,' she told cameras, but she was forced to drop the sport as she piled on pounds as a teenager.
Then and now: Ashley lost 364lbs over seven years. She shed the vast amount of weight after gastric ban surgery and now coaches softball and has plans to open a childcare centre
The show documented her seven-year journey from an almost certainly shortened life to something she could never have imagined just years before: A healthier, more mobile and independent existence, free from the grip of over-eating and vast weight gain.
At the outset, a doctor had warned her mother that if she doesn't lose weight, she would die. Gastric band surgery – with just a five per cent chance of lasting success – was her best chance of survival.
A new woman: Ashley was told she may die if she did not undergo the surgery
When she had dropped to 500lbs, still worryingly overweight, she made a decision to go back to her favourite game.
This time round, she would play softball as a coach, to help prevent children from falling into a life of self-abuse, as she did. 'If only I felt like I got enough weight off and everything, I said I want to coach. So I did.'
Having relied on a mobility scooter
and her parents for leading as relatively a normal lifestyle as
possible, Ashley's life has turned around.
damaging relationship with her mother was a very personal obstacle to
overcome so publicly – but was far from being the only roadblock along
Taking a swing: Ashley had loved playing softball as a child but was forced to stop playing as her weight ballooned
At one point, Ashley's doctor consults her father, explaining that despite the very serious surgery, the young woman still has an overeating problem. 'She eats 3,000 calories a day,' he says.
She is seen exercising, throwing the ball, swinging the bat and warming up with star jumps, putting her gastric and multiple skin removal surgeries behind her.
'It was exciting to lose the weight,' she explained. 'I didn't realise when I started this journey that I would change so much.'
On the move again: Now a softball coach, Ashley's days of mobility scooters and severe difficulty at taking even just a few steps are over. She dreams of opening a childcare centre
Star jumps: Exercise is something that just a few years ago Ashley never believed she would do again. When she started shedding pounds, the idea of taking up softball once again gave her the motivation she needed
The newly transformed Ashley, with seven years of hard work behind her, plans to open a childcare centre.
My 600-lb Life, saw the group of four
adults, each member of which started out at over 600 pounds, attempting
to lose an astonishing one ton between them.
The story took an amazing seven years
to document. In 2004, cameras started rolling to film the overweight
Americans as they each underwent a life-changing gastric bypass
They were some of the heaviest patients ever operated on for the revolutionary surgery.
The old days: Ashley weighed over 600lbs and used a mobility scooter to stock up her food supplies. Even after surgery, she was over-eating, taking in 3,000 calories a day
Another of the show's stories was that of Melissa Morris, who lost a staggering 500lbs. On a recent appearance on ABC News' Good Morning America, she proudly displayed a skirt she had worn on the day of her operation.
Looking happy and healthy – if a little
shell-shocked by the experience – the mother held up the garment, arms outstretched. It is made from a vast, 12-foot-length of fabric.
The shocking series documented the highs and lows of dealing with addiction and dependence – and the transformation from being utterly dependent to gaining a modicum of normality and a sense of self worth.