Megan Rachow
Jessica Fecteau
January 02, 2018 09:15 AM

Megan Rachow remembers the exact day she decided it was time for a change.

“I had been living a life of obesity for a few years and was exhausted both physically and mentally,” the 30-year-old physical therapist tells PEOPLE. “I felt like I had gained so much weight that I would never get it back off. I still remember the day that the switch flipped for me — July 19, 2014 — and I decided I was done living like this.”

The Medina, Ohio, resident says until that point she was drinking five or more cans of soda a day, eating large quantities of food and stopping at the drive-thru daily.

“Exercise was out of the question as I could barely walk up the stairs to my apartment,” she says.

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Spurred into action, Rachow says she started small, first cutting out soda and only eating food she cooked at home.

“The weight starting coming off,” she says. “I remember I lost 9 lbs. my first week. After I had lost 100 lbs., I started trying more adventurous exercise. I became fascinated by fitness and seeing what new things I could accomplish with my body. I do things that I never dreamed were possible like running races, lifting heavy weights, and completing a sprint triathlon.”

Rachow, who shared her weight loss journey on both Instagram and Facebook, says she now eats clean foods like salad, quinoa and lots of veggies. She also packs her diet with a lot of high-protein foods like chicken and turkey.

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After losing a total of 170 lbs., Rachow says she hit her goal weight of 155 lbs. but was left with excess skin. In December 2016, she underwent a circumferential body lift and brachioplasty to remove the excess skin from her abdomen and arms. She is now in the process of having excess skin removed from her thighs.

You guys!! Today marks one year since I had my major skin removal surgery of a #circumferentialbodylift and #brachioplasty. I can't believe that much time has passed already. There were times where I doubted if I was making the right decision in having #plasticsurgery physically, mentally, financially, etc. When I reflect on how far I have come in that year, I know I made the right choice! I have changed the way I use my body since then by adding different types of training, not to mention I can now actually properly use my abdominal muscles since they repaired them! I stopped being so self conscious in the gym and stepped outside my comfort zone. I started swimming because I was no longer afraid to be seen in a bathing suit. Heck, I even rocked a 2 piece suit this summer! I developed a love for fashion (my poor wallet 😂) because now I feel comfortable in clothes and don't have to hide extra skin. And most importantly is the way I feel about myself…don't get me wrong, sometimes I still have my days, but I like this body now! In fact, I kind of love it! After everything I put it through, it still carries me through life. The scars are just a representation of my journey. There is no greater feeling than looking in the mirror and being happy with yourself! I had worked so very hard to lose the weight, and that skin made it hard for me to love what I saw. Hands down one of the best decisions of my life 😊🙌🏼 Cheers to a year! Prepare for all the comparison photos today 😂#weightlossjourney #weightlosstransformation #weightloss #weightlossmotivation #extremeweightloss #naturalweightloss #weightlosscommunity #transformation #fromfattofit #from325to155 #halfthegirliusedtobe #halftheirsize #plasticsurgeryafterweightloss #skinremovalsurgery #skinremoval #excessskinremoval #excessskin #surgiversary #progress #happy #beforeandafterweightloss #beforeandafter #thenandnow #armlift #arms

A post shared by Megan 💪🏼💜🐶 (@megankrachow) on

You guys!! Today marks one year since I had my major skin removal surgery of a #circumferentialbodylift and #brachioplasty. I can't believe that much time has passed already. There were times where I doubted if I was making the right decision in having #plasticsurgery physically, mentally, financially, etc. When I reflect on how far I have come in that year, I know I made the right choice! I have changed the way I use my body since then by adding different types of training, not to mention I can now actually properly use my abdominal muscles since they repaired them! I stopped being so self conscious in the gym and stepped outside my comfort zone. I started swimming because I was no longer afraid to be seen in a bathing suit. Heck, I even rocked a 2 piece suit this summer! I developed a love for fashion (my poor wallet 😂) because now I feel comfortable in clothes and don't have to hide extra skin. And most importantly is the way I feel about myself…don't get me wrong, sometimes I still have my days, but I like this body now! In fact, I kind of love it! After everything I put it through, it still carries me through life. The scars are just a representation of my journey. There is no greater feeling than looking in the mirror and being happy with yourself! I had worked so very hard to lose the weight, and that skin made it hard for me to love what I saw. Hands down one of the best decisions of my life 😊🙌🏼 Cheers to a year! Prepare for all the comparison photos today 😂#weightlossjourney #weightlosstransformation #weightloss #weightlossmotivation #extremeweightloss #naturalweightloss #weightlosscommunity #transformation #fromfattofit #from325to155 #halfthegirliusedtobe #halftheirsize #plasticsurgeryafterweightloss #skinremovalsurgery #skinremoval #excessskinremoval #excessskin #surgiversary #progress #happy #beforeandafterweightloss #beforeandafter #thenandnow

A post shared by Megan 💪🏼💜🐶 (@megankrachow) on

“I am now living a life that I love and feel as though I am a completely different person,” she says. “The most important thing I have gained is being comfortable in my own skin.”

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