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This lady lost 178 lbs from gastric bypass surgery, and it completely changed her life

We talk about losing weight and being healthy a lot here on Food Envy; so much so, that it may seem easy to just start a health and fitness journey and end up a fit celebrity promoting weight loss tea in no time at all. The reality, though, is nowhere near that. A lot of hard work and dedication goes into following a fitness plan.

The pictures we see on Instagram of sexy models, celebrities drinking a milkshake and the like are the results of countless days in the gym, knowing when to have a bowl of soup, and when to have chocolate doughnuts (surprisingly, the answer is not all the time). It looks easy, but all of them have struggled with weight loss at some point in their lives. I'm sure I don't have to ask you to imagine not having a team of weight loss professionals to help you lose weight.

Kathleen Golding's weight loss struggle started when she was very young. Now 26, Golding says: “I remember being in the fourth grade and having to get a note from my pediatrician granting me permission to start Weight Watchers.”

At 21, she found herself wrestling with depression and anxiety turned to food as a "coping mechanism", something a lot of people are all too familiar with. By her 22nd birthday, she had gained 100 pounds.

“I was stuck in a constant cycle of daily binging,” says the New Bern, North Carolina resident, whose highest weight was 331 pounds. “I was eating fast food for every meal and enormous quantities each time.”

By August 2015, she was ready to start the process of getting gastric bypass surgery. “The morning [I decided to do it] I turned down an offer from friends to go to an amusement park because I knew couldn’t fit in the ride seats, and the following Monday I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled to discuss diabetes medications," she recalls.

Golding had also been laughed at by strangers earlier that day. “They had pointed to my legs and I knew why — I had stopped shaving my legs because it was difficult to reach my calves, and that was funny to them.”

In preparation for the surgery which she underwent in June 2016, Golding lost 20 pounds. Afterwards, the weight quickly started to "melt off", she recites. “I felt this incredible sense of confidence that I had totally forgotten about. Even after losing only 30 pounds I felt amazing. Both about my appearance and the way my body was able to move.”

Since losing a total of 178 pounds, Golding maintains a weight of 150 to 155 pounds. Kathleen remains proud of her decision to seek medical help. “For some reason, weight loss surgery is seen as ‘cheating’ or being weak, but for me, I found strength in being able to say 'I can’t do this on my own. I want to be healthy, but I need help.'"

She continued: “For a long time, I felt completely hopeless. I felt trapped in my body, and no matter what I did to try and lose the weight, I failed. I went into this surgery with the mentality that this would work for me, and I looked at it as me finally taking back control of my life.”

Now the fast-food-free Golding - who recently got married - says she “loves salads and colorful dishes.” She also has been “hitting the gym hard.” Another source of strength comes from social media. Golding, a photographer and operations manager, has been candid about sharing her stories through photos and videos.

“Between Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, I probably receive about 25 to 50 messages a day from random strangers struggling with their weight and looking for diet and fitness tips, or from people who have been on the fence about bariatric surgery,” Golding says. “I’ve inspired them to take the next steps and move forward with the surgery.”

As for how she’s feeling these days, Kathleen says she is finally at peace with her body. “I have some loose skin and it definitely has its imperfections, but I worked hard for this body,” she says. “I spent so much time hating it but I’ve realized that this is the only body I’ve got and I’m going to take care of it.” I think what we can learn from Kathlene is that no matter how you get to the body you want, you have to be happy during the process. Torturing yourself isn't healthy for anyone.