A morbidly obese woman who weighed over 199kgs and was so big her boyfriend couldn’t get his arms around her, has now lost enough weight that she can finally hug with her partner.
Charlene Crawford, 28, from Caroline Springs, Victoria, lost 93kgs over 12 months after realising her weight was affecting her eight-year relationship with partner Luke, 31.
She’d battled with the bulge her whole life, and was a size 28 when the pair met online in 2008.
As their relationship developed, she ballooned to a size 36 thanks to a love of junk food and health issues - like migraines and PCOS- that hindered her weight-loss efforts.
At her heaviest, she was so overweight she struggled to do every day things couples do, including hugs and it was taking its toll on their relationship.
Since losing the weight after having a gastric sleeve surgery, the couple are regularly enjoying cuddles and have recently got engaged.
She said: “Being able to feel Luke’s arms around me is like a dream come true.
“Ever since we first met I’ve been too big for us to cuddle. Being a size 36 at my biggest, his arms couldn’t get around my waist.
“Since having the surgery and losing 93kgs, I’m now a size 16 and he can easily get his arms around me.
“It’s amazing to share such a basic connection together and reminds me of exactly how far I’ve come.”
Charlene, who used to live on a diet of junk food, has struggled with her weight all her life and says she couldn’t have lost the weight without having surgery.
She said: “Ever since I can remember I’ve loved junk food.
“From the age of five, I started getting migraines and I used food to help me cope.
“As I got older, I was often bedridden by my migraines and started eating junk morning, noon and night."
But while initially Charlene’s size didn’t affect the loved-up pair, when her weight started preventing them from leaving the house or even showing each other affection, it started to take its toll.
It was after her holiday to the Sunshine State that Charlene finally decided she needed to take action.
After consulting with her doctor, Charlene was referred to a specialist who recommended having a gastric sleeve operation.
Charlene recalls:"I knew this was the only way I’d ever beat my food addiction.
“I could easily eat Macca’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner and I hated that about myself."
After having part of her stomach removed, Charlene completely changed her diet and began to notice a change straight away.
She said: “I was losing weight so fast to begin with, averaging about 6kgs a week.
“I couldn’t eat my favourite foods anymore and I was worried about the uncertain life that lay ahead of me.
“But I remembered I was heading to an early grave and stuck with it."
Now Charlene has lost 93kgs and is continuing on her path to a healthier life through a new diet and lots of exercise.
She said: “I’m really happy with how much weight I’ve lost and having my life back.
“The first time Luke was able to get his arms around me, we both started crying and even took a photo in a mirror to capture the moment. It was so special.
“My migraines have also completely vanished.”
As size 16 Charlene looks forward to her new life, she cant wait to make the most out of the small things she missed out on before.
She said: “Before I couldn’t wrap a towel around myself or sit in chairs that had arms, but now life seems full of possibilities.
“Luke and I have recently got engaged now too, and the thought of buying a dress no longer fills me with fear.
“I can’t wait to walk down the aisle and into his arms. It never would have been possible when I was 199kgs.”
Extra reporting by Caters News.