Hitting 481 Lbs. at Age 24 Inspired One Woman to Change: 'I Didn't Want to Die!'
Kaylee Bonnett credits her weight gain growing up to her struggle with her sexuality, and is learning to love her body again after losing 170 lbs.
At 481 lbs., Kaylee Bonnett could get through the day — but just barely. She was pre-diabetic with high blood pressure, and couldn’t enjoy vacations with her family.
“I dreaded going on family vacations because of all the activities I wouldn’t be able to participate in,” Bonnett, 24, tells PEOPLE. “And all the nasty looks people would give me when I was out and about! Last summer my family and I went to Disneyland and I had to rent an electric wheelchair because I couldn’t walk the entire time we were there. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.”
And her health problems indicated things would only get worse from there. Bonnett grew up heavy, and attributes most of her weight gain to her struggle with being a lesbian, but now as an out-and-proud married woman, she was afraid she would miss out on a future with her wife.
“The turning point was my health, I didn’t want to die!” she says. “I’m only 24 years old, my wife and I want to have babies and at 481 lbs. there was absolutely no way that would happen. I was ashamed of my body, I didn’t even want my wife to see me naked!”
The San Diego-based Bonnett went to her doctor, who told her that she needed to lose some weight to qualify for weight loss surgery. Determined, she successfully dropped around 75 lbs. ahead of her gastric bypass in October.
Since then, she’s lost an additional 92 lbs., for a total weight loss of 170 lbs., and completely changed her life — and her body image.
“My body image has changed a ton,” she says. “Granted, I still have a ways to go with the weight loss and the loose skin, but I love my body right now! I don’t hate what I see in the mirror and it’s the small things that remind me of how far I’ve come, like my wife being able to put her arms completely around me.”
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Now Bonnett, who shares her weight loss progress on Instagram, focuses on healthy eating and exercise. She took up CrossFit, and recently joined an softball team with her wife.
“Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be playing sports again,” she says.
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And when asked for her favorite body part, Bonnett has to go with her legs.
“Even though I have a lot of loose skin on my legs they are definitely my favorite!” she says. “And really, they should be. They carried me around when I was 481 lbs. They never gave out on me when they probably should have!”