By Kate Harrold
THIS WOMAN turned to SEX to feel accepted after she was told ‘big girls are good in bed’ – now she’s lost HALF her body weight in a bid to find real love.
Bariatric life coach, Cambria Harris (29) from Riverside, California, USA, struggled with her weight growing up. Cambria was home-schooled from the age of nine and found herself turning to food to cope with the isolation.
With celebrity hotspots like Los Angeles so close by, women who carried weight in Cambria’s hometown were seen as failures. People would tell her she ‘could be so pretty’ if she wasn’t prohibited by her 22st 7lb weight and UK 28 dress size.
Dating wasn’t an option for Cambria who very much struggled to find a genuine connection. Instead, boys would leer that ‘big girls are the best in bed’ and so Cambria sought to find acceptance through a string of fleeting sexual encounters and alcohol.
However, things started looking up for Cambria when she met her then-boyfriend Austin. The pair instantly clicked but just as Cambria began to fall, Austin confessed that her weight ‘was an issue’ and she needed to change if she wanted to save the relationship.
Change didn’t come soon enough and the relationship abruptly ended. Completely devastated, Cambria decided that she would no longer let anyone hurt her because of her weight.
Around a year later, Cambria met with doctors and opted to undergo vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgery. The procedure took place on June 6, 2016 and reduced the size of Cambria’s stomach by 90 per cent.
As such, Cambria lowered her calorie intake to 1,000 a day from 2,500 and in just over two years, managed to reach her goal weight of 11st 13lb. She now wears a UK size 12 and exercises four times a week at the gym and completes a two-mile run every morning.
Having a gastric sleeve has by no means been easy for Cambria who initially struggled with acid reflux, dehydration, bladder infections and kidney issues. Hormone imbalances lead to exhaustion but as Cambria’s body recovered, so too did her dating life.
Cambria has stopped shying away from dating apps – no longer feeling like her true self is hidden behind her weight clothing brands have even reached out to Cambria to ask if she’d like to model.
Sharing her story to social media has been a huge confidence boost and other women have reached out to Cambria to thank her for inspiring them to kick start their own wellness journeys.
“I was home-schooled from the age of nine and became very depressed early on in life. I developed a dependence on food to cure my loneliness,” Cambria said.
“I felt worthless – as if I was watching my life slowly fade day by day. People would say ‘you’d be so pretty if you controlled your weight’ but I couldn’t.
“Men would say ‘big girls are best in bed.’ I heard this all of the time so that’s what I became. I fell into a promiscuous lifestyle in a bid to try and feel beautiful and accepted even if it was through sexual favours.
“Sometimes, I’d turn to alcohol to numb the pain.
“I started online dating and I finally met someone. We clicked on so many levels and I had never felt that way about anyone.
“It was all going so well but after a few months, he told me that my weight was an issue to him and that I needed to change that if I wanted the relationship to continue.
“The change obviously didn’t come fast enough and he broke up with me. I was devastated and decided then I would never give anyone else the chance to hurt me because of my weight.
“I went to a medical consultation and later underwent a vertical sleeve gastrectomy. It reduced the size of my stomach by ninety per cent allowing the body to use its stored energy – losing excess weight over time.
“There were a few setbacks. I became dehydrated and had kidney issues due to severe bladder infections but this surgery completely rewires your body.
“My hormones were so up and down. I had terrible acid reflux and no energy but things settled eventually.”
Previously, Cambria’s typical daily diet included items such as a burrito for breakfast, a frozen entrée for lunch, and a drive-through fast food meal for dinner.
Now, Cambria eats things such as a vitamin smoothie for breakfast, a stir fry for lunch, and a veggie bowl for dinner.
“I feel like a completely different person and I never thought I could feel this way,” Cambria said.
“People are actually kind to me. I can walk into a clothing store now and an associate greets me and asks if I need assistance.
“I feel empowered that I made a change for good in my life. I feel like I have full control of my destiny.
“Now I’m told that I can model professionally and have been asked by several clothing brands to collaborate.
“I wasn’t dating before my weight loss. I was just seeking acceptance. Now the game has changed and I can step out and let people see the real me – not just my weight.
“Don’t be afraid of failure. No one has any say over how you venture out on this journey. Put together a dream board and fly.”