The world’s former heaviest woman has revealed that she is now a gym regular, who advises other people on losing weight.
Just a few years ago, Catrina Raiford weighed 68-and-a-half-stone and couldn’t move from her bed.
Now, however, after shedding more than 40 stone, she feels better than ever - and has even started dating again.
At one point Raiford, now 40, was completely immobile and bed-bound.
The side of her Florida home had to be bulldozed to get her out, when she developed breathing difficulties and needed to be taken to hospital.
Now, more than a year after first sharing her story, Raiford, who has since moved to Texas, has slimmed down even further to 28 stone – after losing 40 stone 7lbs in total.
Delighted by her progress, she plans to lose even more weight, as she is eager to have 10-stone of sagging skin cut off.
She also wants her breasts reshaping – something surgeons will only do after her excess skin is removed.
“For the first time ever, at the end of December, I worked out for an hour in the gym,” said Raiford. “I took a video of it to inspire other people.”
More than 6,000 people watched the video of her sweating, as she explained her workout.
Now, for four hours a week, she works out on the floor. She also enjoys water aerobics.
“I love it,” she said. “It really gives me confidence.”
Emboldened by her achievements, three months ago Raiford, who left her job in customer services to focus fully on her weight loss, joined a number of dating sites including Black People Meet and Tinder.
She has since been on numerous dates, going to bars and restaurants, but has not yet found ‘the one’.
“I’ve had a lot of fun though,” she said. “I never thought I’d be dating.”
There is a drawback, though, as when men discover how much weight Raiford has lost, all they want to talk about is how she did it.
“They ask me for tips for their sisters, aunts, mums,” she laughed. “Still, it’s amazing to think that a few years ago I couldn’t move and now I am dating.”
Raiford’s weight peaked around 13 years ago. But, after her house had to be bulldozed, in order to take her to hospital, she finally embarked on a strict diet – switching sugary snacks for small portions of lean meat, fruit and vegetables.
“I was in bed for so long that now I’ve lost the weight, I just want to be free,” she said.
Her problems started years before her weight reached 70 stone.
When she was 12, her mum had to start making her clothes, as she had outgrown high street sizes.
By 14, she weighed 32 stone and was admitted to a psychiatric home for eight months, in a bid to tackle her overeating.
But she continued to gain weight and, once back home, she spent her days eating and avoiding people.
Unable to move around easily, Raiford resigned from her telesales job and had to move back in with her mum.
For the next five years she was bed-bound. Her mum would bring her food and a cousin would empty her bed pan.
She’d spend her time on the internet, lying to men about her appearance and having ‘catfish’ relationships.
“It was the worst time of my life,” she said. “I just wanted to die. Each day I’d just eat and go online from morning to night.”
In December 2002, she started having breathing difficulties. Desperate for medical help, the emergency services were called.
After the wall was demolished to free her, Raiford was taken to hospital on the back of a truck.
With the help of specialists, a calorie-restricted diet and very light exercise, she went onto to lose 21 stone naturally in three years, before having a gastric bypass procedure in 2005.
“Being bulldozed out of my house was the worst thing that had ever happened to me,” she said. “But it was also the thing that saved me.
“Now I’m a new woman.”