By Liana Jacob
MEET the incredible woman who lost eleven stone in just fifteen months after undergoing weight loss surgery which reduced her stomach to the size of a BANANA to become a plus size superstar now taking the modelling world by storm.
Rochelle Monique Murrell (35), a plus size model, from Washington DC, USA, has suffered with low self-esteem issues due to being overweight while growing up.
This paired with injuring her knee during various strenuous exercises in the summer of 2014 with a personal trainer caused her to let herself go and reach her peak weight of 27st 2Ibs with a UK dress size 30.
On March 17, 2016, she decided to make a dramatic change in her lifestyle and body to pursue her dream of becoming the next successful plus size model.
She booked herself in for a vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG), the process of removing a large portion of the stomach; reducing it to the size of a banana, in order to limit the amount of food intake.
VSG can reduce the stomach’s volume by up to 75 percent and is usually performed using keyhole surgery.
With the results of the surgery and changing her diet of fast food to low carbohydrate high fats and going from no exercises to working out three to five times a week, Rochelle’s body shrunk to 15st 9Ibs with a toned UK dress size of 18.
She is now a successful plus size model and an international superstar.
“I was a people-person, but suffered from low self-esteem due to my weight. I believe my lack of confidence paired with my knee injury led to my heaviest weight,” Rochelle said.
“I couldn’t work out because of the injury, so I just let myself go. I wasn’t happy with myself; where I was in life and how things were going.
“I felt like a monster; I was so ashamed that I had let myself get that big.
“I wanted to live. I wanted to be a successful plus size model and live my dream. I’ve always been in love with fashion and I just started to take pictures.
“I would reach out to different companies and photographers. I would also walk into fashion shows for church and other organisations.
“I had VSG and I also eat a low carb diet while working out three to five times a week. I’m no longer a prisoner in my body. I have a whole new confidence in myself. I’m full of energy and ready to take on the world.
“Modelling is liberating. It makes me feel powerful and sexy. I am a work in progress, but I absolutely love the skin I’m in. I’m very proud of myself.”
With her new outlook on life, Rochelle has completely turned around her exercising and diet routine.
“I stopped eating processed food and a lot of carbs; like bread and pasta. I stay as active as possible; I walk, exercise three to five times a week, I also like to hike and take a spin class,” she said.
While she is achieving her dream of becoming a model, it wasn’t easy to shake off the insecure voices in her head.
“Changing my mindset was very hard and knowing that the cravings were only temporary and I didn’t need to give in,” she said.
“Now people say things like ‘you look so good’, ‘I barely recognised you’, and my personal favourite is ‘you’ve lost a whole person’.
“Make the decision and start your journey. No matter the route you take. Stay consistent and do not let your feelings outweigh your goals.”
For more information visit: https://www.instagram.com/theerochellemonique/