Sarah Knowles, 28, from Georgia, decided to turn her life around after she was left humiliated for being “too fat” for a fairground ride and told she needed to get off.
After years of emotional eating, Sarah weighed nearly 274 pounds (approx. 124 kg) at her heaviest. But after ditching her unhealthy ways and opting for a gastric bypass, she has since lost 154 pounds, reaching her lowest weight of 120 pounds (approx. 54 kg).
Sarah says she now feels a “million dollars” and often has to do a double-take when she catches her reflection in a mirror.
“I have been overweight for my whole life because I am an emotional eater,” Sarah said. “I would eat when I was sad, eat when I was happy and eat when I was stressed. No matter how I felt, I would always turn to eating.”
“The moment that I knew that I needed to do something about my weight was at the fair in 2017,” she recalled.
“I went to ride my all-time favorite fairground ride with my husband, Tyler. When I got on the ride and went to put the barrier down it wouldn’t shut because I was too big. So I was made to get off of the ride because I didn’t fit.”
Sarah said: “It was traumatizing, I was so embarrassed. I had to get off and walk away in front of everyone. There were big grown men on the ride, and yet I was too big for it.
“It was humiliating. This moment really changed my life forever.”
After returning home from the fair, Sarah looked back at pictures that were taken through the day and didn’t recognize the woman in the photographs.
She decided to take action.
“My weight made me feel completely worthless, and I had no energy to play with my two kids at the time, Kolby, now 6, and Makenna, now 5,” Sarah said.
“I isolated myself from everyone, I stopped going out with my friends and became very depressed.
“I knew I wouldn’t be able to lose weight without surgery, so I decided on a gastric bypass to help me and had the procedure done in February 2018.
“I was so excited for my gastric bypass, I knew my life was about to change forever. I was looking forward to being healthy, being able to play with my kids, and be a good wife.
“I couldn’t wait to feel like I wasn’t dying.”
Sarah added: “The first few months after the surgery were rough because of my emotional relationship with food. It felt like I had lost my best friend because I was initially on a liquid diet.
“However, when the weight started coming off, it was amazing and completely changed my mindset. I realized food was my fuel and not for fun.”
“I lost a majority of my weight within the 10 months of my surgery,” she said, adding that within a year she had lost 154 pounds.
After being told by her doctor the goal was to lose 80 percent of her excess weight, Sarah made it clear she set out to lose 100 percent of her excess weight.
She said: “I was told that it was a very unrealistic goal, but that just made me even more determined and I actually achieved it.
“After getting down to my goal weight I was left with excess saggy skin. It made me feel very self-conscious.
“It was like wearing lots of layers of clothing that you couldn’t take off. I always felt really embarrassed about it … I felt like a big bowl of melted ice cream.
“I knew I needed to get the skin removed, however, I had to hold off as I surprisingly fell pregnant with my third child, Mason, now 1. I gave birth to him last January.”
In August 2020, Sarah went under the knife once more for a tummy tuck to combat her loose skin. Since the surgery, Sarah says she is happy, healthy, and thriving.
“I feel better than I have ever felt in my life,” she said. “It was the best decision I have ever made. I have a new lease of life, and I am enjoying every single day.
“Going shopping and buying clothes had always been an issue for me, I could never find anything stylish that would fit me. It was so embarrassing. But now I absolutely love to go shopping … It is so fun.”
“I can’t believe this is my body. When I catch myself in a mirror or a window, I stop and think is that really me?” she said. “I feel incredible. … I am so happy with where I am at, I feel beautiful and healthy.”
Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.