A 392-pound mother who drank nearly a gallon of soda every day has lost more than half her body weight — but now she has excess skin that “flaps around.”
Chessie Passmore, 36, said her comfort eating following the birth of her children contributed to a “weight rollercoaster” of failed fad diets.
“My biggest downfall was fizzy pop, pasta and bread. I’d drink 12 cans per day,” she told Jam Press. “I had knee issues and I could barely walk around.”
Michigan-based Passmore — who has amassed nearly 250,0000 followers and 3 million “likes” documenting her 238-pound weight loss journey on TikTok under the #perfectpassmore — said she’s been saddled with cruel nicknames since middle school. The teasing sparked mental health health issues and emotional distress that only prompted her to balloon further throughout her teens.
“I got bullied really badly and it was depressing. In my yearbook, my picture was under ‘Who has the biggest appetite?’” the now hot-pink-haired influencer recalled. “I used to get called ‘Cheesy Chessie’ and ‘lard’ and from there I covered my feelings with food.”
She was bullied growing up for her weight, being called horrible names which only led to a larger problem.Kennedy News/@mrschessiemay“I don’t expect someone to pay for my flaws — because I did this for myself, but everyone’s been so helping and supportive.”Chessie Passmore, on potential backlash from her GoFundMe to pay for excess skin removalBy the time she had kids in 2006, she vowed to lose weight so she could chase down her kids Dawson and Keliegh, 15.
But the trendy weight loss gimmicks failed, and she said her addiction to breads, junk foods and pop made her skyrocket to a size 28 — and doctors warned she’d need a knee replacement surgery as young as 40.
“I’m disgusted with myself,” she said. “I never realized how much harm I was doing to my body and myself. I never really cared about what I was putting into my body. I was working and just living in the moment.”
Her final attempt at regaining normalcy and saving her health was to get a gastric band — and it worked. She shrunk all the way down to a size 8.
Passmore, who used to work as a stock exchange worker, quit soda four months before surgery, vowing to never take a sip again.
After years of living in a body she hated, she was desperate for change to be able to keep up with her kids.Kennedy News/@mrschessiemayAs she approached 400 pounds, she realized her lifestyle needed to change.Kennedy News/@mrschessiemayHer gastric band limits the size of her stomach, which lowers her tolerance of the unhealthy foods she once loved. But she knew she could still eat junk food even with the band, so she used it as a tool to completely change her lifestyle.
Before her significant weight loss, she ate McDonald’s cheeseburgers, candy, soda and fries — but after turning her life around, she gets her nutrients from protein shakes, fruit, granola and grilled chicken.
But losing the weight wasn’t the end of her struggles. Now, she has folds of excess skin that droop off her body, which only limits her mobility more and causes pain.
“My stomach is still there but it’s just not filled with fat anymore. It just hangs in a different way and has nowhere to go,” she said. “I was struggling to walk when I had the weight but now I’m struggling to walk because I have excess skin, so the problem is still there. I feel like I have to hide it.”
She eventually got a gastric band as a last-ditch effort to save her health.Kennedy News/@mrschessiemayIf her stomach isn’t tucked into her body, it hurts, she said, and she gets rashes underneath the skin folds. The excess skin on her arms is also a “hindrance,” she continued, because it “flaps around.”
Passmore, who loves to swim, wants to get back into the water and live a “normal life,” but to do that, she needs surgery.
While her husband, 39-year-old engineer Justin who she calls her “backbone,” has always said Passmore is beautiful, he changed jobs to secure the health insurance necessary to cover some of the operations.
The surgery to remove the “lower fold” of skin on her stomach is covered by her insurance, but the other half of the operation will cost her $7,200. Operations on her arms could cost anywhere between $10,000 to $15,0000, and for her legs it would be $20,000.
“People are asking if I say I love my body then why am I getting it fixed, but I can get it fixed and love it more,” she said.
Chessie Passmore lost more than half her body weight, but now the excess skin plagues her.Kennedy News/@mrschessiemayShe wants to remove her excess skin, but doesn’t have enough money for the costly surgeries.Kennedy News/@mrschessiemayWhile her first skin removal surgery is slated for November, she couldn’t pay for it all on her own. She harnessed the power of TikTok to share her story and received money from her nearly 350,000 followers using GoFundMe.
“I’m appreciative of anything that’s donated, even if it’s a dollar,” she said. “I never expected this but one of my friends said, ‘You took a chance on yourself so let us take a chance on you now’.”
Generous donors raised $6,000 so far, but it isn’t enough to cover all three surgeries she’ll need.
“This feels like a dark side to weight loss that nobody talks about,” commented TikTok user Connor Shin under one of Passmore’s videos.
“I genuinely don’t understand how skin can expand so much but doesn’t retract,” chimed in another.
One user added, “I hope you will be able to reach your goal to have your surgery, proud of how hard you have worked!”
Passmore is grateful for the donations made by her loyal TikTok followers, who are invested in her journey to happiness.Kennedy News/@mrschessiemayPassmore, flooded by encouragement and donations, is overwhelmed at how well her story was received, despite a few critics in her comments section. Some people, she said, advised her to “apply for credit cards,” but she could never pay them off.
“I don’t expect someone to pay for my flaws,” she said. “Because I did this for myself, but everyone’s been so helping and supportive.”
Chessie’s diet before
Lunch: Large McDonald’s cheeseburger meal with CokeDinner: chicken tenders with fries, burgers, spaghetti, Subway-style sandwichesSnacks: crisps, cakes, cookies, candy barsDrinks: 12 cans of fizzy pop a dayChessie’s diet now
Breakfast: protein drinkLunch: granola, salami, or turkey meat with cheeseDinner: spaghetti sauce and meat, grilled chicken with onionsSnacks: strawberry, banana, appleDrinks: water