Makeup Artist Who Shared 194-Lb. Weight Loss on Social Media Gets Skin Surgery

"I can't wait for [my loose skin] to be gone, but it's not something I'm ashamed of or embarrassed of," Simone Anderson tells PEOPLE

Photo: Courtesy Simone Anderson

Over the past 12 months, Simone Anderson has been documenting her “Journey to Health” on social media as she went from 373 lbs. to 179 lbs.

Her stunning weight-loss transformation came after the realization that at 23 years old, she was struggling to do everyday things.

“Honestly, bringing the bin in the house up the driveway was hard,” the New Zealand resident tells PEOPLE. “Walking up the stairs to the kitchen I’d get tired.”

Although Anderson, now 24, wasn’t able to weigh herself on a household scale, she finally worked up the courage to step on scale at the jewelry factory where she was working at the time.

“I was confronted by that number and I knew I had to make a change,” she says. “I wasn’t going to be alive by 30 if I didn’t.”

Anderson changed her diet from takeout and fast food “at least five or six times a week” to whole foods like meat, nuts, vegetables and fruit. She also began working out, and currently exercises one to two hours each day, mixing up basketball, water polo, netball, personal training sessions, boot camp and running. She’s also training for a half marathon.

“When people ask me how I got to where I am today, it definitely comes down to exercise,” she says. “As much as I do it, you don’t want to go and eat s— afterwards because you know you’ve worked hard and how much effort you’ve put in!”

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Now the freelance makeup artist is facing the next step in her weight-loss journey. After dropping nearly 200 lbs., Anderson has been left with loose skin all over her torso – something she has bravely shown on social media.

“I promised from day one that what I was sharing with people would be the honest journey, and it would be the ups, the downs, the goods and the bads,” she says. “I needed to show that yes, I do have loose skin, and it’s actually a side effect of something I am proud of. Obviously, I can’t wait for it to be gone, but it’s not something I’m ashamed of or embarrassed of.”

Anderson traveled to Arizona to have her procedures done by renowned Scottsdale plastic surgeon, Dr. Remus Repta, who will be performing a breast lift to remove to loose breast skin, breast augmentation to replenish the volume she’s lost as the result of weight loss, a full tummy tuck, and a bra-line back lift, which Repta describes as “a tummy tuck for the back.”

“The plastic surgery is just taking care of some things that she won’t be able to take care of on her own,” Repta tells PEOPLE. “No amount of diet or exercise is going to get rid of that loose skin. It’s going to be a challenging surgery, but I think it’s going to turn out great.”

Although the whole procedure will take eight hours and can take six months or more to be fully healed, Anderson feels nothing but excitement.

“I haven’t had one burst of nervousness yet,” she says. “Obviously I know I’m never going to have a perfect stomach, but [I’m looking forward to] the fact that when I’m exercising I won’t need to tuck my loose skin into my pants, and know that I can put on a top like everyone else and not stress out about loose skin coming out. I will definitely feel more confident when it’s gone.”

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