THE WORLD’S former fattest woman has revealed how she’s looking for her one and only after losing a whopping 50st in weight.
Catrina Raiford, 47, may now be a fitness inspiration for many, attracting a number of glances from admiring Romeos – but a few years ago, she looked totally unrecognisable.
Although she now looks better than ever, Catrina was once the heaviest woman in the worldCredit: Catrina Raiford
It’s been a while and she’s since shed 50st in weightCredit: Catrina Raiford
To reach hospital, Catrina had to be bulldozed out of her Florida homeCredit: Catrina Raiford
At her biggest, Catrina, who is five-foot-two, topped the scales at 68.5st, making her the heaviest woman in the world.
In fact, she had become so obese, the now 47-year-old, from Florida, the USA, was as heavy ”as a pygmy sperm whale or a polar bear”.
”I ended up bed-bound and had to be bulldozed out of my house. A crane lifted me onto a flatbed truck to take me to hospital.”
Since then, Catrina has managed to shed an impressive 48st – which is the equivalent of three baby elephants.
Chatting to Fabulous earlier this summer, the fitness lover revealed she fits in size 10/12 garments and has plans to remove the loose excess skin – something she wants to donate to burns victims.
“I’m trying to raise the money for the final part of my weight-loss transformation,” she says. “I’m talking to burn units who are considering helping me pay for part of the skin removal surgery in return for me donating the swathes of skin that will be removed.
“If my admission of being the former fattest woman in the world doesn’t shock people, the plan to donate my loose skin to help burns victims and burns research certainly does!”
Sharing her inspiring story, Catrina revealed she’d always been a bigger kid and found herself addicted to junk food before she was ten.
“I was addicted to food stuffing myself with sweets, plus high-calorie cakes like donuts and chocolate cakes.
“Eating was something I could control. It was an addiction that made me able to cope with life. It made me feel good and was a crutch.
It was the worst time of my life, I just wanted to die. Each day I’d just eat and go online from morning to night.”
“Despite the therapy I couldn’t talk about my addiction and the treatment didn’t help,” she said.
Back at school, too, the situation wasn’t much better, as she was at the centre of bullying and teasing duo to her body size.
“I become tough – I would cry in secret and put up a brave front in public.”
At 21, the weight had skyrocketed to a whopping 45st and she was forced to quit her job in customer service.
“I couldn’t walk properly; my legs couldn’t carry my weight and I was in constant pain. I refused to see a GP despite desperate pleas from my mum, who I still lived with,” she explained.
“Within months of leaving work I was bed-bound, passing the days chatting to guys online. I’d take headshot selfies so they couldn’t see my body, and hide the fact I couldn’t wash myself, dress myself, or even use the toilet.
“My cousin, Katurah, now 43, who I called my ‘guardian angel’ would come and help wash me.
“When I needed to go to the toilet I would lie on my side in the bed to go and use special pads to soak up the waste.
”My cousin would then help clean me. That’s the grim reality of being so large.
“It was the worst time of my life, I just wanted to die. Each day I’d just eat and go online from morning to night.”
Before embarking on her weightloss journey, Catrina’s daily food intake would consist of a whole box of sugary cereal for breakfast, a fatty pizza, Chinese and Mexican takeaways – all of which was topped off with two or three litres of fizzy drinks.
“Mum would come home and cook a dinner of brisket, creamy mashed potato and greens and I’d eat that as well.”
At one point Catrina was completely immobile and bed-bound – and one day, when she had serious breathing difficulties, her Florida home had to be bulldozed to get her out.
“My mum called an ambulance and after I was stabilised and fire crews had to cut down a wall.
“The team then used a crane to hoist me out of my bedroom and strap me onto a truck to take me to the local hospital.”
Catrina was taken to hospital strapped on the back of a flat-bed truck – something she recalls as the ”worst day” of her life.
”It was humiliating but I used that humiliation to change my life. My worst day was also my best day.
“I realised I needed change.
I could breath more easily, I could move. It was liberating.”
“I weighed so much they had to strap two super-sized hospital beds together when I finally got to the ward.”
Wanting to drastically change – and live – Catrina decided to reach out for help and called a local TV station that then got her into a specialist weight-loss centre based in Ohio.
“I had to lose 25st before I could have bariatric surgery, which took three years of being on a portion-controlled diet and working with occupational therapists every day.
“For the first three months I threw food at people and refused to eat because I wanted different food.
“Then once I started working with therapists, I learnt to understand my food addiction and how to control it.”
The weight slowly began to come off pound by pound and Catrina was even able to perform some exercises, such as lifting weights in her bed.
“I could breath more easily, I could move. It was liberating.”
But although she felt better both mentally and, of course, physically, it hasn’t been an easy ride – as Catrina was left with piles of excess skin she couldn’t wait to get rid of.
“Despite the weight loss I still feel overweight because of the loose skin. I work daily at keeping positive,” said Catrina, who was told a surgery would cost her an eye-wayering £40k.
Speaking of her love life, Catrina revealed she’d met her husband Aboriginal, 35, a former steel mill worker, online and the two tied the knot in 2013.
Unfortunately, they grew apart and divorced, and Aboriginal passed away last year – a loss that was made even harder after her mum died in 2021.
But Catrina, who is determined to become an inspirational speaker at some point, remains full of hope – and cannot wait to find true love once again.
“I’d love to find Mr Right and make up for all those years I lost. I just want to be normal again and inspire other people.”
Catrina before the impressive weightloss journeyCredit: Catrina Raiford