Nikki Webster works to lose weight after topping out at 649 lbs.
Credit: Courtesy of TLC

At 649 lbs., just taking a shower was a struggle for Nikki Webster.

Every morning she would wake up and immediately become exhausted from walking down the stairs and squeezing herself into the shower stall.

“My weight became debilitating,” Webster, 33, tells PEOPLE.

In this exclusive clip from Wednesday’s premiere of TLC’s My 600-lb Life, Webster talks about the pain she experienced doing everyday activities, which led to her decision to undergo weight loss surgery.

“Growing up I was always struggling with my weight, and I was also always on a diet,” Webster says. “My first diet was when I was seven. And it was usually successful, but then I would always gain it back and more.”

As Webster climbed up to 649 lbs., she knew that every day she was making it harder to live another day past that.

“It hurt too much to have hope for the future because I wasn’t sure how much time I had,” Webster says. “I was so unable to do so many things that it was difficult.”

Which is why Webster traveled eight hours from her home in Little Rock, Arkansas, to Houston for a consultation with Dr. Younan Nowzaradan. There she learned she would have to lose 50 lbs. on a limited diet plan before she could even undergo gastric bypass surgery.

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“When he gave me the diet plan, I thought there’s no way I could do this,” Webster says. “I had zero confidence in myself because it was so strict. I was a little panicked.”

“The thing that was different from the other times I tried to diet was that I knew that I had to do it. It was literally do this or die.”

In three months, Webster was able to drop 130 lbs., and Dr. Nowzaradan agreed to do the surgery.

“I had faith that it would change my life,” she says. “And I didn’t know how or in what way, but I could just feel that things were going to change and only good things were going to happen from there.”

Now Webster says she’s excited, but nervous to see her journey depicted on TV.

“I’ve seen commercials and previews, and it’s hard to watch,” she admits. “I recognize myself, but at the same time I feel so different now, and it makes me sad, the situation I was in. But it makes me joyous to see where I am today.”

“This whole process has been completely life changing,” Webster says. “It’s an unconventional way, but I’m so thankful for it every day, just all of it.

“It’s literally given me my life back. And you can’t ask for anything more than that.”

TLC’s My 600-lb Life premieres Wednesday, January 6 at 9/8c.