LIFESTYLE
19/10/2015 06:35 BST

Former 'World's Fattest Woman', Catrina Raidford, Loses 36 Stone After Being Bedridden For Five Years

The former world’s fattest woman who at her heaviest weighed half a tonne has lost more than 36 stone – and now weighs 32 stone.

Twelve years ago Catrina Raiford, 38, weighed more than 68 stone. Bed-bound for five years, she dubbed herself "The Half Tonne Woman".

When medical professionals bulldozed the side of her home to free her from her bed after she suffered breathing difficulties, she embarked on a strict diet and lost more than 36 stone.

She only ate small portions of lean meat, fruit and vegetables. Now she hopes to lose even more weight – and the ten stone of excess skin she has been left with.

catrina raidford

Raiford, who has never been in the press before, said: "I’m so much happier now and feel so confident.

"I was in bed for so long that now I’ve lost the weight I just want to be free. I love running around, going to the gym three or four times a week and keeping fit."

Raiford told how she was desperate to be rid of the 10 stone of excess skin that is weighing her down and exacerbating medical complications.

Speaking from her hospital bed in Tampa, Florida, USA, where she lives, she said: "I’ve just been diagnosed with cellulitis (an infection of the skin) after injuring my leg at the gym.

"Doctors say that I need to lose weight to stop injuring myself and having complications, but this heavy skin makes it so hard."

catrina raidford pool

Following years of sexual abuse as a child, Raiford found comfort in sweet, sugary snacks and secret eating.

By the age of 12, she was so big that her mum had to start making her clothes as shops did not stock sizes large enough.

Aged 14, and weighing 32 stone, Raiford was admitted to a psychiatric home for eight months to help her deal with her overeating.

Feeling unable to discuss the abuse with anyone, even this did not help and she continued to gain weight. Soon she did not leave her home.

She would spend her days eating and avoiding people. She was unable to move around easily, lost her job and had to move back in with her mum.

Five years followed where she was bed-bound. Her mum would bring her food and a cousin would empty a bed pan for her.

She’d spend long days on the internet lying to men about her appearance and having ‘catfish’ relationships - when people create fictional relationships and chat online using the fake persona they have created.

"It was the worst time of my life," she said. "I just wanted to die. Each day I’d just eat and go online from morning to night."

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In December 2003, she started having breathing difficulty. Desperate for medical help, emergency services were called. A wall of her home had to be bulldozed to get her out and a mortified Raiford was transported to hospital on the back of a flatbed truck.

"It was the worst thing that had ever happened to me," she said. "But it was the thing that saved me."

With the help of specialists, a calorie restricted diet and very light exercise, she went onto lose 21 stone naturally before having a gastric bypass procedure. She has now lost more than 36 stone in total and feels like a new woman.

However, her dramatic weight loss has left her with 10 stone of excess skin across her legs, stomach and arms.

She said "Last year I bought my first bikini ever. I’m really happy with myself. I don’t want my excesses skin removed for my looks. I just need the operation to help finish the process I’ve started and improve my health."

She has launched a GoFundMe page for donations towards the $10,000 (£6,500) surgery to remove the skin.

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