Ashley Bratcher From “My 600-Lb Life” Can Finally Take Care Of Son After Her Incredible Weight Loss
Jan 12, 2022 by apost team
The TLC reality series “My 600-lb Life” follows the story of people struggling with their weight and the hardships they face due to being categorized as morbidly obese. Each episode follows a year in the life of one of these individuals and documents their attempts to lose weight on their journey toward health, happiness, and recovery. Some of these individuals are later featured in update episodes where viewers are given a chance to see just how far they have come in their health journey and what their current weight is. Others go on to share their story in publicized interviews and in personal blogs.
The popular television series first began airing in 2012 and has showcased the weight loss journey of dozens of participants over the years. The series focuses on the trials and successes that each patient goes through as they diet, exercise, and often undergo weight-loss surgery. By no means is it an easy feat, but with the help of professionals and the support of their friends and families, many participants of “My 600-lb Life” go on to share their success stories with the world later on.
Ashley Dunn Bratcher appeared on the series in 2016 and quickly became a fan favorite. Dunn Bratcher weighed 725 pounds when she first began her path to weight loss. Her guiding motivation throughout the process was her then-5-year-old son named Patrick. Through hard work and determination, the mother managed to lose an astonishing amount of weight and looks absolutely incredible today. Read on to find out more about Dunn Bratcher’s journey.
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“My 600-lb Life” has helped change the lives of many of the people who choose to go on the show in hopes of losing weight and figure out how to have a healthy relationship with food. Since several of the show’s participants have past trauma or currently live with people enabling their unhealthy behaviors and lifestyle, the concept of simply just dieting and exercising is not so easily attainable. Fortunately, fans of the show have been able to witness plenty of success stories over the years, with each participant proving their dedication and hard work on their inspiring journey to a better version of themselves.
Dunn Bratcher was seen as a fan favorite on the popular reality series “My 600-lb Life,” first gaining popularity because of her devotion to her son. She then proved just how hard she was willing to work to overcome her past trauma, work on her relationship with food and embark on a journey to long-lasting health and happiness.
The mother was 27 years old when she was told by her doctor that she was likely to pass away by the age of 30 if she did not lose the weight. Dunn Bratcher took this to heart because she did not want to abandon her son as she had personally been abandoned as a child. On the show, she shared that her childhood had been traumatic, and her mother was a drug addict that eventually left her children when Dunn Bratcher and her siblings had still been quite young.
Coping With Her Emotions
This childhood experience caused Dunn Bratcher to turn to food and desserts to help work through her emotions and ultimately to mask her pain. Thankfully, Dunn Bratcher’s father intervened and gained custody of Dunn Bratcher and her siblings, with all of them moving into his home together, according to Looper. However, Dunn Bratcher did not know how to process her trauma yet, and her mental, emotional and physical health continued to deteriorate, resulting in her weighing about 400 pounds by the time she graduated high school.
The TLC UK YouTube channel wrote: “Ashley had an unstable childhood, resulting in her comfort eating and massive weight gain. Now, she struggles to move, and relies on her 5-year-old to help her with everything.” Looper reported that Jacob, Dunn Bratcher’s husband, worked as a truck driver, meaning he usually wasn’t home as much as the woman needed him to be.
Because of her size, it was very hard for Dunn Bratcher to move around, and she could only stand for five minutes at a time. For this reason, she began to rely on her son to help her around the house, and he would complete the tasks his mother wasn’t able to do, like the laundry, for example. It was sad to see her son Patrick have to take on so much responsibility being so incredibly young, but Dunn Bratcher was determined to change for him. She needed to succeed to get control of her life and allow her son to live like a normal child.
Pregnancy And Weight Gain
While it’s common for women to gain weight during pregnancy and even after childbirth, it’s still important for mothers to focus on their health. According to a study from the Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America in 2009, childbearing years for many women can result in substantial weight gain that can even lead to obesity. In fact, 45 percent of women are overweight or obese at the start of their pregnancy, and 43 percent of pregnant women gain more weight than what is recommended during this time.
According to The List, Dunn Bratcher actually lost 95 pounds after she gave birth to Patrick as she was inspired to lose the weight and get healthy to be the best mom she possibly could be. However, she was still dealing with her personal struggles, and the pounds piled back on.
As an obese person, Dunn Bratcher faced many challenges surrounding her health. She felt pain from just standing and walking even short distances only amplified the pain. On top of that, it was incredibly tiring to carry her 725-pound body to and from rooms to do any kind of task. Daily tasks and everyday life were a struggle for the mom, resulting in her heavy reliance on her son’s help.
While appearing on the reality series, Dunn Bratcher showed that she was willing to put in the hard work necessary to turn her life around. She had to learn how to handle food properly and tackle the difficult task of maneuvering her body daily.
Weight Loss Surgery
Dunn Bratcher managed to conquer the odds and stuck through all the ups and downs her health journey brought her. After changing her diet, incorporating exercise, and focusing on her recovery, Dunn Bratcher finally found a sense of hope and was able to get her weight down low enough to allow her to undergo gastric bypass surgery. Afterward, she was able to lose an astonishing 255 pounds.
The entire weight-loss process was a challenge for Dunn Bratcher for more than one reason. “This whole journey has been not only a physical rollercoaster, it’s been very much an emotional rollercoaster,” she told People in 2017. “I’ve done fairly decently, 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.”
Unfortunately, there is still a stigma about how people who get gastric bypass surgery actually cheat to lose weight, despite people having to prove they are dedicated to a healthy weight loss journey and be pre-approved by a doctor beforehand.
Fortunately, all of those breakdowns that Dunn Bratcher had did not stop her from reaching her goal, though, and now she is finally able to take care of her son again. The mother has continued to work on her unhealthy relationship with food as well. This, plus the addition of the gastric bypass surgery, has continued to lead her on the path to having long-lasting results in her weight loss journey.
Continuing Her Journey
“This surgery is just a tool,” Dunn Bratcher said. “It does not change your mindset. 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.” The mother spoke more about recognizing real hunger signals as opposed to just eating out of boredom or helping cope with her emotions. Dunn Bratcher continued, “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.”
Like so many other participants of the reality series, Dunn Bratcher shared her inspiring journey on the TLC television network once again, returning to the series since she was first featured during Season 4 of “My 600-lb Life.” In 2017, the mother appeared on a follow-up episode of the show called “My 600-lb Life: Where Are They Now?” The update episode showcased what life has been like for the mom and showed just how far she had come with both her weight loss journey and personal, emotional journey.
In the episode, Dunn Bratcher talked about how much life has changed for both herself and for her son. A short clip of the episode was featured on the TLC YouTube channel. “I’ve come so far in this past year,” Dunn Bratcher said. “I could do so much more and I’m a lot more active than I’ve ever been.”
Tackling A New Problem
She was finally able to get up and walk on her own, even up and down the steps outside her home. While the changes may seem mundane to some, they were monumental for this mother. Dunn Bratcher finally felt like she was able to be a mother, and her son was able to take on the role as just her son, not her caretaker. She even took Patrick shopping for school supplies, an outing she cherished as it was something she wouldn’t have been able to do six months prior.
However, she still faced insecurities and worried about what would happen if she relapsed in her recovery. Dunn Bratcher revealed that she was scared that if she stopped being so active, that she would end up going back to her old ways and losing all the progress she had made. She also still struggled with the way she looked.
The TLC YouTube channel wrote in its video’s description: “Ashley is more mobile and independent than ever before and it’s freed her young son, Patrick, from the burden of being his mom’s caretaker. However, now Ashley is struggling with her excess skin.”
After losing so much weight, it’s common for people to have loose skin since their bodies were so much larger before their weight loss journey. This can add to another level of insecurity, which is why many people choose to have surgery to help manage their excess skin. Dunn Bratcher ended up having follow-up surgery to remove her excess skin, with the procedure going extremely well.
Her Life Today
Nowadays, after losing 350 pounds, it seems like Dunn Bratcher finally has her life and health back, and she can get back to focusing on what matters most to her: family. The mother married her high school sweetheart in 2009, and they have been together ever since. “We’ve been through so much these last 10 years,” she wrote in a Facebook post in 2019, in honor of the couple’s 10-year wedding anniversary. “It’s crazy but I wouldn’t want to face it all next to anyone else.”
In June 2021, Dunn Bratcher shared another photo of herself and Jacob on Facebook as they celebrated yet another anniversary. She captioned the sweet photo: “12 years down!! Here’s to many more.”
The world was first introduced to Dunn Bratcher’s son when he was just five years old, and today, he is twelve, soon to be thirteen years old. She celebrated Patrick’s birthday with a heartwarming Facebook post on Oct. 29, 2019. “10 years ago today at 8:20 a.m. an 8-pound, 2-ounce baby boy was born that has changed our world,” she wrote. “Patrick Henry, you are the best part of your dad and I. Each day makes me even prouder to call you mine.” She continued, “I can’t wait to see the man you’re growing into.”
From the way she has spoken about her journey and how she speaks about her current mentality, it seems like Dunn Bratcher has a good handle on her recovery and is on her way to finding happiness forever. We’re excited to see what the future holds for this mother!
What do you think about this stunning weight-loss transformation? Are you inspired by the changes Ashley Dunn Bratcher made? Let us know, and be sure to pass this along to your family and friends, too.