- Ceara Dowell struggled with her weight for many years.
- When she embarked on a weight loss journey and was left with loose skin.
- For Ceara, the most significant challenge about losing weight has been dealing with loose skin, which she says made her feel trapped in a skin suit.
- After skin removal surgery, Ceara is now happy in her skin. Here's her story.
IT recruiter Ceara Dowell (31) from Minnesota, USA, was a keen actor throughout her childhood. Sadly, she was groomed and sexually abused as a teenager, so she turned to food to find comfort. "I think I unconsciously began amassing a physical shield to protect myself," Ceara says.
Her weight led to her classmates teasing her.
Ceara Dowell lost over 90kg and after skin removal surgery is happy with her new body. All photos courtesy Mediadrumworld.com/ @ceara.dowe/ Magazine Features
"I remember asking a boy to be my boyfriend on the bus and he turned me down loudly and in front of everyone. I asked him why and I'll never forget his reply, 'Because you're fat, you're ugly, and I just plain don't like you'," she remembers.
"Most of the time, however, people honestly didn't insult me to my face. It was much more common for me to learn they were discussing me behind my back. It often came in the form of concern, like a relative blindsiding me with an intervention or people telling me they were so worried about the weight I had gained. I grew resentful, almost like I was going to stay fat on purpose just to spite them."
In 2015, the sudden death of her grandmother, Linda, led Ceara's life to spiral further out of control. Getting drunk at breakfast and on her lunch breaks, Ceara knew she had to make drastic changes to avoid an early death.
"I kept gaining weight. I struggled to even fit into a public bathroom stall. And then, at four-am on the morning of July 2, 2015, I had an epiphany. I realised I was dying. That if I didn't change everything, right then, that very minute, I would die. I decided right then and there that I was leaving my ex-husband, that I was leaving my whole life behind, to save it," she shares.
Having been in a toxic relationship after marrying young, Ceara decided to leave her ex-husband, believing that it was the only way to break free from her unhappy life.
"I was struggling so much with depression and alcoholism and hid it all behind being the stereotypical 'fat, funny, best friend' trope. There were very few people who knew my real story, and even fewer who knew how hard I was fighting for my survival at that point," she says.
She began living with her aunt and uncle to start anew.
She then cut out alcohol and started swimming a few times per week.
This led her to lose 18kg over the first few months, but soon her weight plateaued. It wasn't until 2018 when Ceara switched to the keto diet, which is high in fat and low in carbohydrates, and started visiting the gym four times per week and doing an hour of yoga each day ,that her weight loss continued.
"I learned that I love to move my body. It was painful and hard at first, but then it became its own 'addiction' for me. I just wanted more and more. I spent countless hours at the gym; I learned to lift weights, to run, and took spin classes," Ceara says.
Since making this change, Ceara has lost an additional 76kg. She now weighs 63,5kg.
After losing so much weight, Ceara was left with rolls of excess skin, something she admits she wasn't prepared for. At one point, she even considered giving up on her weight loss journey after looking in the mirror and feeling like a 'snowman on a hot day'. Ceara felt that despite her huge progress, her body didn't look good.
She crowdfunded enough money to undergo a seven-hour surgery to remove the skin. Since her surgery, Ceara feels more confident in herself and finally has a belly button.
"After two years of saving up every penny we had and even crowdfunding, I underwent skin removal surgery on my stomach and breasts. There is a long road ahead in regard to other surgeries I would like to have to remove skin from elsewhere and who knows if we will check off every box on the bucket list, but I didn't come this far to give up now," she says.
Ceara has also met the love of her life, Cornelius (34) and in December 2020, the couple got married.
For Ceara, the most significant change in her life has been how weight loss has affected her mental health. For the first time in her life, Ceara feels a level of respect towards herself that she never has before.
Do you have a weight-loss story you want to share with us? Tell us here
Credit: Mediadrumworld.com/ @ceara.dowe/ Magazine Features
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