Rachele Dodard, a 5-foot, 3-inch-tall 34-year-old pediatric occupational therapist in Miami used to weigh 250 pounds and wore size 24 clothes. Now the aneurysm survivor fluctuates between 128 and 135 pounds (“whatever feels right to me”) and wears between a size 4 and 6.
Keep clicking to find out how she dropped the weight, saved her health, and why she’s looking forward to visiting amusement parks again.
A vegetarian since she was 11, Dodard did begin eating fish again at 27. Still, she wasn’t eating very well. Now she eats six times a day (but strongly monitors her portion control), makes sure she gets lots of fruits and veggies and drinks plenty of water.
Doctors blamed Dodard’s emergency brain surgery on her excessive weight and said she needed to lose at least 100 pounds to save her life. She was pre-diabetic and was told to schedule gastric bypass surgery but Dodard refused. She was determined to lose the weight without going under the knife.
Photo by Corbis
Before losing 100 pounds, Dodard would never have been able to climb on top of her fridge to paint her ceiling. She recently renovated her kitchen and was able to do all the handiwork herself!
In her pursuit to lose the extra pounds without surgery, Dodard Googled weight loss programs and found Medifast. Medifast is a medically approved weight loss program designed by physicians from John Hopkins University.
Dodard’s physician told her she was morbidly obese. Her own research informed her that being severely overweight could cause extra stress on her heart. She overcame certain death through her resilient willpower.
Dodard greatly enjoys her work in the field of pediatric occupational therapy. She might have been forced to give her fulfilling career up if she didn’t shed those excess pounds as her doctor instructed.
Dodard has maintained her weight loss for more than two years. She admits to munching on snacks occasionally but usually opts for trail mix that she makes herself. This helps her to avoid snacks loaded with artificial flavors and additives.
Dodard was forced to give up many of the activities she enjoyed because of her weight. She loved midnight canoeing and visiting amusement parks but fitting into certain rides at most theme parks became difficult when she was heavier.
Prior to her weight loss, Dodard was considering moving because she could no longer fit in her attic. Here, she sits Indian style on top of her fridge to paint as part of an extensive home renovation project.