How one woman realised childhood dream of becoming a softball coach after losing 364lbs in seven years
By DAISY DUMAS
Last updated at 12:07 PM on 24th February 2012
The TLC series finale last night saw Ashley lose an astonishing 364lbs from her huge frame, and credited much of her motivation to a love of softball.
'I used to play softball when I was young. I played every summer,' she told cameras, but she was forced to drop the sport as she piled on pounds as a teenager.
The show documented her seven-year journey from an almost certainly shortened life to something she could never have imagined just years before: A healthier, more mobile and independent existence, free from the grip of over-eating and vast weight gain.
At the outset, a doctor had warned her mother that if she doesn't lose weight, she would die. Gastric band surgery - with just a five per cent chance of lasting success - was her best chance of survival.
When she had dropped to 500lbs, still worryingly overweight, she made a decision to go back to her favourite game.
This time round, she would play softball as a coach, to help prevent children from falling into a life of self-abuse, as she did. 'If only I felt like I got enough weight off and everything, I said I want to coach. So I did.'
Having relied on a mobility scooter and her parents for leading as relatively a normal lifestyle as possible, Ashley's life has turned around.
Her damaging relationship with her mother was a very personal obstacle to overcome so publicly - but was far from being the only roadblock along the way.
At one point, Ashley's doctor consults her father, explaining that despite the very serious surgery, the young woman still has an overeating problem. 'She eats 3,000 calories a day,' he says.
She is seen exercising, throwing the ball, swinging the bat and warming up with star jumps, putting her gastric and multiple skin removal surgeries behind her.
'It was exciting to lose the weight,' she explained. 'I didn't realise when I started this journey that I would change so much.'
The newly transformed Ashley, with seven years of hard work behind her, plans to open a childcare centre.
My 600-lb Life, saw the group of four adults, each member of which started out at over 600 pounds, attempting to lose an astonishing one ton between them.
The story took an amazing seven years to document. In 2004, cameras started rolling to film the overweight Americans as they each underwent a life-changing gastric bypass operation.
They were some of the heaviest patients ever operated on for the revolutionary surgery.
Another of the show's stories was that of Melissa Morris, who lost a staggering 500lbs. On a recent appearance on ABC News' Good Morning America, she proudly displayed a skirt she had worn on the day of her operation.
Looking happy and healthy - if a little shell-shocked by the experience - the mother held up the garment, arms outstretched. It is made from a vast, 12-foot-length of fabric.
The shocking series documented the highs and lows of dealing with addiction and dependence - and the transformation from being utterly dependent to gaining a modicum of normality and a sense of self worth.