SUCCESS STORY / Amber Middlebrooks, 27: From 565 pounds to 265 pounds
Former weight: 565 pounds
Current weight: 265 pounds
Pounds lost: 300 pounds
Height: 5 feet 7 inches
Age: 27 years
How long she’s kept it off: Started in January 2016, lost 50 pounds in preparation for gastric bypass surgery with Piedmont Bariatrics in December 2016. “You you feel like a family member, not a patient,” said Middlebrooks,who reached her current weight in early November.
Personal life: “I just recently completed my master’s in business administration in entrepreneurship,” Middlebrooks said. “I work from home for a major retail company as a customer service representative.” She lives in Atlanta. She’s chronicled her weight loss on YouTube and Instagram as amberbypass.
Turning point: “In November 2015, I was 25 at the time … I had just finished eating, I started to feel different. … My heart was beating superfast, and my body all over had a tingling sensation,” Middlebrooks said. She went to an emergency room. “I was having a stroke. … The doctor came in … she took off her doctor coat and had a heart to heart with me: ‘Amber you are so young. You are 25, and this weight is not good for you.’ … That was my wake-up moment,” she said. “I can’t do this to my brother. He already lost his mom, and I ended up getting custody of my brother when our mother died. … We lost my mom in 2013 by a heart attack. … After that, I had a lot of emotional eating. … I have been morbidly obese my whole life.” The same day she left the ER, she got online and found an insurance plan that covered gastric bypass. She had surgery in December with Piedmont Bariatrics.
Diet plan: Breakfast is turkey sausage and eggs. Lunch is a salad, and dinner is protein and vegetables. She has protein shakes with meals and between meals.
Exercise routine: “I do get up and walk an hour before work and after work,” she said. “I walk an hour or two, three to four times per week.”
Biggest challenge: “Adjusting to my new body. … Emotionally, I still feel like the 565-pound person. I constantly have to remind myself that I can do this and I can do that. I look in the mirror and I still see her. When people recognize me, I am not used to this much attention. It is a rebirth for me.”
How life has changed: “Life has changed in the best way possible. I feel like I have a second chance at life. It is the rebirth of Amber. I am getting out in the world. I am learning to care about Amber and take care of myself first. I have to do a reality check: ‘Amber you lost 300 pounds!’ That’s where I am at now, taking it day by day and soaking it all in. To have a second chance at life, and who would have thought I would be here back in 2015 saying I enjoy life?”