Before and after. Stephanie Cotton /

By Liana Jacob

MEET the single mum-of-four who booked in for weight loss surgery and lost over ELEVEN STONE in twenty-two months following her diabetes diagnosis and has been left with incredibly stretched excess skin.

Urologic surgery nurse and single mum, Stephanie Cotten, from Oceanside California, USA, spent years of her life binging on junk food, consuming over 3,000 calories a day without having a filter.

Stephanie before and after. Stephanie Cotton /

This unhealthy lifestyle led to her putting on 22st 12Ibs with a UK dress size 30, leaving her in constant pain and after finding out she had type one diabetes, fearing for her health, she decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery in 2005.

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass may be done for people with severe obesity; where the stomach is split in two to create a pouch out of the smaller section of the stomach, attaching it to the small intestine, bypassing the large portion of the stomach and all of the duodenum.

This saw her shed to an astonishing weight of 11st 9Ibs and a UK dress size eight to 10, now consuming only around 1,200 calories a day.

Before and after. Stephanie Cotton /

“I was in constant pain, so I was miserable; my body was so heavy. I had diabetes, high blood pressure and constant joint pain.

“I hated looking at what I had done to myself in the mirror, so I would avoid the mirror as much as possible. I was depressed.

“Being diagnosed with diabetes was the ultimate decision maker for me, both of my grandfathers passed away from things that could have been prevented. One from a heart attack and the other from complications with diabetes.

Before and after. Stephanie Cotton /

“Binge eating led me to my heaviest weight. I could sit and eat large amounts despite being full, I would keep eating. I have four kids and I didn’t want to leave them without a mother.”

She now goes to the gym six days a week and runs during her lunch break, while eating food with high protein, low carbohydrates, and drinks lots of water.

“I work out six times a week most days twice a day. I eat a low carb high protein diet; making sure I get things that are beneficial to my health.

Loose skin. Stephanie Cotton /

“Losing the weight has completely changed my life. I can do so much more; I can run, dance, work out, play with my kids, and enjoy life without the weight of my body holding me back.

“The symptoms of diabetes have reduced for me and I don’t have hypertension anymore and I am living now when before I was just existing. I love myself and I’m proud of how far I have come.

“I will forever remain humble because I won’t ever forget where I have been.”

While the journey was successful, Stephanie has struggled with the excess skin that was left behind on her body, which she is having removed.

Loose skin. Stephanie Cotton /

“The hardest thing so far has been my loose skin. It’s hard to bust your butt daily in the gym and your efforts are slightly hidden with skin, which is why I’m having excess skin removal in December,” she said.

“I always get people saying, ‘wow you’re half the person you used to be’ or ‘wow you’re so tiny’ that’s a word I’m definitely not used to hearing.

“Take this day by day. Embrace each day and live by your truth. Be honest with yourself about what you want to achieve and set reasonable goals to achieve them. It’s not a race to the finish line.”

Before and after. Stephanie Cotton /

Diabetes can cause serious long-term health problems and is the most common cause of vision loss and blindness in people of working age.

People with type one diabetes will need to look after their health carefully including; eating a healthy, balanced diet, losing weight, if they’re overweight and maintaining a healthy weight among other health-related lifestyle habits.

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