When Kylie Merola was 18 years old, she weighed over 22 stone (321 pounds). Completely shocked by the number the scales were showing her, she knew she had to make major changes if she wanted to live a healthy life. So, along with eating better, she underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2014, which helped her lose nearly half of her body weight, Caters reports.
But the surgery didn't turn out exactly how Merola had planned. After losing more than 12 stone, she was left with a "six pack" of saggy skin of saggy skin. "My weight loss surgery was just a tool, from there I had to watch what I ate to make sure I consumed all the nutrients I needed and exercised regularly," she said, according to the Daily Mail.
"While I was happy after shedding the weight, no one told me my body would be so disfigured after losing so much weight. My body shape went from huge, solid and fat to being smaller but with hanging flabby skin, it looked like pizza dough and was a flap that hung down from my body."
Merola, who has been overweight since she was five due to polycystic ovary syndrome and hypothyroidism, recently went back under the knife to have an astounding 38 pounds of skin removed. Now, she's ready to show the world her true self, and proudly shows off how hard she's worked to feel self-confident in her first-ever bathing suit.
"When I look at my body now I see a much more proportionate person, I'm much happier than how I was before, sometimes I wake up and think, 'Wow, that's me,'" Merola said. "It's a mental transformation, it's been hard learning to see myself for how I look now but I'm slowly getting there and enjoying every moment of it."
But she knows she still needs to work to maintain her progress. Merola continues to eat right and work out. The now 22-year-old eats egg whites for breakfast, a salad with light dressing or a smoothie for lunch, grilled chicken or steak with asparagus or broccoli for dinner, and Greek yogurt for dessert.