"Consistency is the most important part of all this and if you don't have it then it's really difficult to be successful," Nikki Webster tells PEOPLE


It’s been a long road for four stars of the TLC hit show My 600-Lb. Life — but it’s only just beginning.

Opening up in this week’s issue of People Magazine, Chad Dean, Ashley Dunn Bratcher, Christina Phillips and Nikki Webster reveal just how hard it is to keep off the weight after undergoing gastric bypass surgery on the show.

For Dean, it’s more mental than anything and that includes realizing that he isn’t 700 lbs. anymore.

“You have to be mentally prepared for it, because it is a life-changing situation. If you don’t change it, it’s not going to work for you,” he says. “The biggest change for me is to realize that I’m not that person any more — I’m 295 pounds now. I can fit in a chair at the doctor’s office, I can fit in a small vehicle, but in my mind I still feel like I can’t.”

Credit: Courtesy TLC

“The way I see it, I lived the first 40 years of my life the way I wanted to live and you see where that got me,” Dean adds. “So, I’m going to dedicate my life to living the way I’m supposed to live, which is the dieting and eating right, watching what you eat and so forth.”

Credit: Courtesy Shutters of Grace Photography

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Dunn Bratcher, who once weighed 725 lbs., admits that she has had a few breakdowns along the way.

“This whole journey has been not only a physical rollercoaster, it’s been very a much an emotional rollercoaster,” she says. “I’ve done fairly decent, but yes, I’ve had moments where I’ve broken down. Whoever says weight-loss surgery is the easy way out is crazy because this has really been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.”

Credit: Courtesy TLC

“This surgery is just a tool. It does not change your mindset,” Dunn Bratcher continues. “But what I’ve found that helps me is when I do get that craving, I try to think about that and think about what I’m feeling. If it’s true hunger, then, you know, I’ll eat something. But if I’m feeling angry, happy, sad, I try to revert my mind to something else. I go for a walk. I play with my dogs. I might journal. It’s a learning experience.”

Credit: Courtesy TLC
  • For more on the success stories of My 600-lb. Life, pick up this week’s issue of People Magazine — on stands Friday.

For Phillips, it’s adjusting to a whole new lifestyle that she found trying in the beginning.

“I have definitely had moments of weakness where I’m just like, ‘What’s the point?’ It’s been hard. Then I remind myself, look how far I’ve already come. I can’t give up now,” she says. “It’s a new lifestyle. You have to put the work into it. It’s not just an easy fix. You have to be willing to do everything that it takes.”

Credit: Courtesy TLC

“I wake up at 6:30 AM and start working out. I walk every day,” Phillips adds. “I go to the gym four times a week. I don’t have a specific plan right now, but I’m trying to focus on strength training, because I lost a lot of muscle mass when I lost weight. I stay away from anything that has a lot of sugar in it. I eat a low carb, high protein diet.”

Credit: Courtesy TLC

As for Webster, it’s about breaking the bad habits and being consistent with a healthier lifestyle.

“I think the hardest thing is not necessarily food, it’s just those habits. When I would get in my car I felt like I had to go get a soda. It’s just those routines,” she says. “In the morning on my way to work, I would get breakfast. It’s breaking those habits that have been instilled in me for so many years and just giving those up and trying something else is just — that’s probably been the most difficult.”

Credit: Courtesy TLC

“Consistency is the most important part of all this and if you don’t have it then it’s really difficult to be successful,” Webster adds. “While I’ve been able to be consistent, it’s still difficult. Consistency and balance. Balancing my work, which is demanding, and balancing the social lifestyle that I have now. Then balancing family and also putting myself and my health first — making sure that I plan what I eat, if I’m exercising, those types of things. That’s the most difficult part of it all: balancing and being consistent.”

Credit: Courtesy TLC

Season finale of My 600-lb Life: Where Are They Now? season 3 airs Wednesday May 31 at 8 pm ET on TLC.