I'm Sick of Being Big
updated 06/22/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 06/22/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Davis arrives at Wellspring on Sept. 1: "I'm in a new country. I don't know anyone here. But everyone liked my accent, so I was like, 'Phew!' That works well because I talk a lot. I may seem comfortable with myself on the outside, but trust me, I'm not. I put on a brave face. I'm a genuinely happy person ... but I'd be much happier if I was skinny." After just seven weeks at Wellspring, Davis has not only lost 62 lbs., she no longer has diabetes. "I'm not a freak anymore! I actually didn't think my diabetes would ever change here. I've tried loads of diets, and they were all rubbish. I never expected to lose this much that fast. It motivates me. My class has told me how much skinnier I look. But I don't notice it. I don't like mirrors that much. The only mirror I like is my makeup mirror!"
By December, Davis has lost more than 100 lbs. But as she prepares to return to Wales for the holidays, anxiety sets in: "I panicked at first. I was like, 'Uh, I can't do it.' I was worried I was going to relapse and just eat what I used to. Here it's controlled for me. There I only know to go to fattening food places. But it was just like everything else I've had to face in my life: a challenge. Smells of certain foods like fish and chips were tempting—but I didn't hesitate. I just ran!" Thanks to her willpower, Davis lost 3 lbs. during her trip—and gained a new wardrobe, including two size 28 black skirts. "I didn't want to go out in skirts before, because I was too fat. I was used to wearing sweatpants. But I'm happy because I can finally see that I've lost weight. I've shrunken. My legs are skinnier and so are my arms. My favorite part of my body is my face because it looks skinnier and ... it's pretty. I have more interest in makeup now. I'm makeup mad!"
"I've slimmed down a lot. I'm really happy I've achieved that. But you always get that feeling that you're still big. So sometimes I'll get paranoid and check my body in a mirror. My confidence level has gone up. Back home I was shy. I would be on the sidelines. Not here! Now it's like I can do anything—I'm going white-water rafting! In the beginning of the year they made me go on the easiest hike and I was like, 'I'm not doing that again.' But now I like hiking." On April 1 Davis celebrated her 16th birthday, a benchmark she wasn't sure she would live to see. "I thought I wasn't going to make it to 20. I didn't see a future. Not a positive one, anyway. I just didn't. Now I see my life going somewhere. I can do stuff I want: I can go to college; I can have someone special; I can have kids. I want to do, like, 1,500 things at once. Being here has given me my life back."
After dropping 202 lbs. and trimming her waist from 69 to 38 inches, Davis is ready to return to Wales. "I'm happy because I managed to change my appearance, my attitude and my view on life. Of course in every person there's some part that's worried that you're going to gain again, but I'm confident I can keep it off. And if I do gain, it doesn't mean I'm going to keep gaining weight the rest of my life. It just means I gained one day. I'm not finished losing all my weight. My goal is to be 150 to 160 lbs. This is not going to be the end. This is the beginning of my new life."