By Rafaela Kuznec
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Videographer / director: Istvan Lettang
Producer: Nathalie Bonney, Rafaela Kuznec, Ruby Coote
Editor: Pete Ansell
With a lot of past attempts to lose weight that proved unsuccessful, Meghan See, from Virginia, admits that she became addicted to food until 2017 and at her heaviest, she weighed 420lbs.
The 30-year-old told Barcroft TV: “I've always been a larger girl.
“In elementary school, I weighed over 200lbs and high school I weighed over 300lbs.
“I grew up eating to celebrate, I grew up eating when I was sad, I grew up eating when I was angry - it just became part of my life.
“I have tried to lose weight many, many times.
“Twice, I lost 100lbs and then gained it back because I didn't really address the root cause of the problem.
“I had a food addiction, probably developed from emotional eating, and just turning to food as a trigger.”
Meghan was losing her mobility and suffered crippling arthritis pains.
She remembered: “It was really painful for me to even get out of bed.
“I had to buy an adjustable bed just because I couldn't lay flat anymore.
“It hurt just to put my shoes on.
“I kept having arthritis flare-ups in my back that left me pretty much crippled over in pain all day long.
“I would sit at my desk with a 10s patch and a heating pad just to be able to get through the workday because I was in so much pain.”
Meghan had hit her lowest point – she stopped enjoying life and kept turning to food for comfort.
The young woman said: “I wasn't actually living life.
“I wasn't participating in life anymore, I was more in love with food than with life.
“I was just trying to survive so I could take care of my daughter.
“I couldn't go to amusement parks and ride rides, I couldn't fit in restaurant booths, I couldn't do a lot of things that most people take for granted on a daily basis.”
Meghan’s sister, Amanda K. See, speaking of the dark times in Meghan’s life, said: “Meghan has always been a very inspirational person her whole life.
“She's been very unique and outgoing, and I've always looked up to her.
“So when she wasn't living her best life, it really hurt.
“I knew that she just wanted to be the best mama she could, and her family was really worried about her health.”
Meghan added: “You want to be the best mum you can be, but when you're in pain, you don't have the patience.
“Little things would frustrate me and get me overly upset.
“You feel like the world is out to get you and people are trying to get in your way and make it harder on you.
“It was very challenging for me mentally to admit that I didn't have control of myself.
“I wanted better for myself but I didn't know how to make changes.”
Meghan decided it was time to commit to a healthier lifestyle, she recalls the moment that changed her life: “Back in 2017 I went on a holiday train ride with my family and I did not fit into the seats on the train very well.
“I kind of had to sit on the edge and it was really painful.
“I was tired of just being in pain and I just was not happy with myself.
“I went to go out to eat with my sister and I kept trying to get her to eat a cookie and she kept telling me she didn't want a cookie and I was like, ‘Who doesn't want a cookie?’
“And I thought to myself: ‘I don't have that willpower to say no to food and I want that’.
“That night I decided that I wanted to start making changes to better myself.”
Meghan cut out fast food and soda from her diet.
She switched to healthy high protein meals with lots of fruit and veggies.
“I started small - I took one small change at a time,” she said.
“A lot of times that was removing processed foods a little bit at a time.
“I just tried to make myself have 10 minutes of physical activity a day: cleaning or walking my dogs with my daughter, and then I gradually over time kept adding to that and building up to where I am now."
Small changes in her lifestyle brought big results – she lost an incredible 240lbs in just 17 months and became unrecognisable to many friends and family.
She now weighs 180lbs and is currently training for a half marathon.
Meghan said: “I just try to eat a lot of whole foods and then everything else in moderation.
“I work out every day.
“I made a promise to myself when I started that I was going to do 10 minutes of physical activity every day no matter what.
“It just keeps me in that routine of making sure I'm putting myself first and making time for myself every day.”
Meghan said that her family was her biggest support throughout her journey and added: “My daughter, she likes to call herself my first coach.
“My sister started to lose weight for me to show me that it was possible and now she's lost 100lbs and has a whole new lifestyle for herself.
“I don't think I could have a more supportive family than what I have right now.”
After seeing the changes in her sister, Amanda said: “I'm very proud of Megan's transformation.
“She's so more upbeat, outgoing.
“Her positivity is contagious.
“Meghan has always been a beautiful person inside and out, but now I feel like her exterior really reflects how she looks on the inside too.”
Sharing her journey on social media has helped Meghan to inspire others to live a healthier lifestyle.
“Starting out I knew I was going to get where I am today,” Meghan said.
“I didn’t think I would get here as fast as I did but I enjoyed all the changes I made, so it went by really quickly.
“I am very proud of the changes I’ve made, things I’ve done, I know that I am really blessed to be where I am today.
“If you don't think you can change then you won't change, believe in yourself because I know if I can change then anyone can.”