A morbidly obese woman who was left bed-bound by her 700lbs frame learned to walk again after losing more than half her body weight.
Liz Evans, 35, from Freeport, Texas, turned to food to cope with her emotions after she was molested by a family friend as a child and her father’s drug addiction led to the breakdown of her parent’s marriage.
Her weight continued to spiral out of control and she developed lymphedema growths that made it too painful to stand.
At the start of Wednesday night’s episode of the TLC reality series My 600lb Life, Liz tipped the scales at 721lbs. After a gruelling year-long programme, which saw her admitted to hospital and given rehab to help her learn how to walk, Liz had lost 353lbs and was able to take a few steps with the help of a therapist.
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Liz Evans was left bed-bound after her weight ballooned to 712lbs. She was admitted to hospital on TLC reality series My 600lb Life and eventually lost more than 350lbs in a year
Following her weight loss, Liz was able to take a few steps with the help of a therapist. Doctors were hopeful that the positive steps would encourage her to continue losing weight
By the end of the year-long program, Liz had gone from 712lbs, left, to 368lbs, right
The positive end to the story suggested Liz, who now weighs 368lbs, will continue on her weight-loss journey.
Liz was a normal size when she was child, but she was born with curved bone in her leg that resulted in one leg being shorter than the other.
Growing up, other kids teased her for walking with a limp. Despite multiple surgeries, doctors couldn’t fully fix the issue and she wasn’t able to be as active as she wanted to be. However, she insisted she was happy at the start of her childhood.
‘Some of my best memories as a child was going places with my dad,’ she explained. ‘We could be going to the corner store. I just wanted to be with him. Despite my setback, I remember my early childhood as very happy, but that changed when I was six because I was molested by someone that my family knew.’
Liz recalls feeling so alone and scared because she didn’t know what to do or who she should tell, admitting that she ‘just felt ashamed.’
Liz Evans, from Freeport, Texas, was left bed-bound after her weight ballooned to more than 712lbs. The 35-year-old relied on the help of her mother and aunt to be cleaned, pictured
Liz had developed lymphedema growths on her legs that made it too painful to stand
Liz was admitted to hospital after contacting the show’s Dr Younan Nowzaradan, who arranged for an ambulance service to take her to the hospital in Houston
Liz needed to learn how to stand on her own in order to qualify for surgery to have her lymphedema removed
After a month at a rehab facility, Liz could sit up and get to the edge of the bed but couldn’t stand up
‘I don’t know if my mom would have believed me,’ she said. ‘I didn’t want to tell my dad because we were so close, and I didn’t want to make him see me any different. I kind of pushed that out of my mind because I didn’t want to think about it.’
Liz tried to pretend that it never happened, but that became more difficult when she got older and things at home got even worse.
‘My dad developed a bad drug addiction so my parents got divorced. He let that addiction supersede his wife and his child,’ she said.
‘After that, my life was never quite the same. I was about 10 years old then, and that’s when I remember taking all that pain and starting to run to food.’
Liz dropped out of school after her freshman year of high school because she didn’t fit in, and she continued to pack on the pounds.
Before dropping the pounds, Liz explained that her size had meant she was too big to fit into a car to her father’s funeral two years ago.
After time in rehab Liz eventually qualified for surgery to remove the lymphedema on her leg
However once she returned home she fell back into bad habits and put on the weight again
After being re-admitted to hospital Liz lost more weight and eventually qualified for surgery
By the end of the show Liz had lost more than half her body weight and was down to 368lbs
She also feared that if she didn’t turn her life around, her mother and aunt would have to put her into a nursing home because they can no longer care for her.
Liz, who was born with one leg shorter than the other, was admitted to hospital after contacting the show’s Dr Younan Nowzaradan, who arranged for an ambulance service to take her to the hospital in Houston.
Once there she was weighed and was shocked to discover she was 721lbs. She was immediately admitted and put in a 1200 calorie a day diet.
She lost 146lbs in just two months while in the hospital so Dr Nowzaradan sent her to rehab in a bid to try and get her walking again. But she struggled to even stand and by month five her health was declining despite her weight dropping to 506lbs.
Speaking during her stint in rehab, Liz said: ‘It’s been really hard on me. They have been doing exercises with me, but I haven’t been able to stand just yet.
‘I have been able to start to sit up and get to the edge of the bed, which I feel is good progress because that has been more than I have been able to do in a long time.
Although she was a normal size as a young child, she was born with one leg shorter than the other that caused her to walk with a limp
Liz adored her father and loved spending time with him, but he became a drug addict when she got older, causing her parents to get divorced
Emotional wounds: When Liz was six years old, she was molested by someone her family knew
‘But I know I need to stand to get my lymphedema surgery, so I’m trying every time to do it.’
‘It’s just so hard, because physical therapy is excruciating,’ she continued. ‘It’s like your legs are awakening the muscles, and coming back alive because I’ve been laid up so long.’
Tests revealed she had an enlarged heart but after taking medication she cleared to have surgery to remove the lymphedema on her leg.
Liz started turning to food for comfort after her parents divorce at the age of 10
Quitting: Liz continued to pack on the pounds, and she eventually dropped out of school during her freshman year
Liz underwent surgery to correct her uneven legs but was never able to fully fix the issue
She returned home but soon fell back into habits and put on 50lbs after bingeing on pizza and fast food.
Once again she was admitted to hospital to be monitored and lost 60lbs, taking her weight down to 448lbs – enough to be approved for weight-loss surgery.
After the surgery she also began to see a psychotherapist and soon she had shed another 52lbs.
By the end of the 12 months she had shed a staggering 353lbs, taking her down to 368lbs and with the help of a therapist was able to stand and take a few steps.