(NEW YORK) -- Olivia was a middle-aged woman, trapped in her parents' basement by her obesity. There she remained house-bound, as relatives brought her food. "I secluded myself from the world," she told ABC News. "I didn't want to be seen by society any more. All I did was either be on the computer, watch TV or eat."
The 47-year-old former computer specialist weighed in at 440 pounds and had been teased most of her life for her weight. At the age of 12, she weighed 180 pounds.
A 2010 flood forced her out of the house and she lost everything she owned. Olivia, who did not want to reveal her last name, said she was so depressed she tried to kill herself by swallowing a handful of painkillers.
She credits her twin sister with saving her life by calling paramedics, and vowed after that catastrophic event to transform her life by losing weight. Her transformational story is part of an eight-part television series, My 600-Pound Life, which continues its second season on TLC Jan. 7.
In the series opener, women like Olivia tell stories of how they became morbidly obese, why they decided to make the change, their traumatic surgery and recovery, and how all those who love them, including their enablers, have coped.
Today, after moving to Texas to live with her brother and have gastric surgery, Olivia weights 256 pounds. But her weight is still disabling: She has lympedema in her legs, which makes walking painful. Still, she is leading a healthier lifestyle and hopes to reach the goal of 180 pounds.
"I feel wonderful," she said. "I feel as if I have been reborn. I can go out and face the world. There is nothing to scare me or bother me. Nothing stops me now."
As for others seeking to lose weight, Olivia said: "Look for help, and if you can't find it, find me and I will try to get you help. Don't be afraid. And never give up. I didn't want to sit at home in my pity chair -- I had to get off and move. I wanted to live."
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