Describing herself as someone who grew up a chubby kid, her “antidepressant” soon became a full-blown addiction.
The woman, from Cranbourne East in Melbourne’s south east, was drinking four or five cans of soft drink per day and eating takeaway at most meals.
When she was 26, she weighed 180kg, had to wear a breathing machine at night, and couldn’t tie her own shoes.
A doctor told her at that point that she would die before the age of 30 if she didn’t change her ways.
She decided she needed a radical change and made a pact with her husband Grant to lose the weight together.
Ms Fleming said the pair decided to get weight loss surgery, but it wasn’t easy, as they had to go on a gruelling eight-week milkshake diet beforehand.
After, she had complications and spent time in intensive care where doctors weren’t sure if she would survive.
“For a number of years I was severely depressed and I was always a large child so when I hit puberty my weight spiralled out of control,” she said.
“I developed a major addiction to food and it just got worse and worse because it was like my antidepressant.
“The first week (of the milkshake diet) I should have been in a padded cell,” she said.
“Then I really just had to reprogram my brain; people think surgery does everything and you don’t lift a finger, but that’s incorrect.”
Ms Fleming, now 29, is 97kg lighter and Grant, 34, is 80kg lighter.
They have protein water and boiled eggs for breakfast and other meals; usually portion-controlled stews, boiled chicken, vegetables and healthy curries.
They plan their meals for the rest of the week on Sundays.
Chantelle joined a gridiron team and is enjoying her new life but for all the hard work and pain she has endured she is still left with kilograms of loose skin — something that feels like a slap in the face.
“Grant is lucky, his skin has bounced back but mine is quite hideous and I cannot really show my whole story yet — I have been told there is nothing else I can do because the elasticity is just not there.”
One of the perils of being overweight is hateful comments from strangers, she said.
The Flemings have started a podcast — Changing our Weighs — to kill stereotypes about overweight people, weight loss surgery and other difficult subjects.
Ms Fleming is working on getting her excess skin removed but to do it privately in Australia will cost close to $28,000 and the public waiting list is years long.
She is hoping to travel to Thailand, where the surgery will cost $10,000, and has paid the deposit but needs another $5,500 to go to reach her goal before her January deadline.
To help Chantelle achieve her surgery goal visit gofundme.com/Chantellevsg.
To follow her on Instagram visit @ChantelleVSG.
Originally published as Woman loses almost 100kg after death scare...Read more