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203-Pound Woman Loses Weight, But Not in Her Legs For a Truly Shocking Reason You Should Be on the Lookout For

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Everyone was so proud of Emily Bartley when she began to slim down. Weighing 203 pounds at only 15 years of age was taking its toll on her.

But after she lost about 30 pounds from eating clean and exercising, she noticed something was amiss about the way she was losing weight.

“After I lost the weight, it was obvious that my legs were much bigger than the rest of me,” Bartley said.

No one had any explanation for this mystifying problem, until Bartley’s mother stumbled upon an article with a term she’d never heard before–lipedema. Lipedema is a chronic disease of the fat tissue that causes the excess deposit and expansion of fat cells in an unusual way.

Unlike “normal” fat accompanying obesity, lipedema cannot be lost through healthy eating and working out. It has to be surgically removed.

At first, Bartley was embarrassed by her diagnosis and didn’t want to tell anyone.

“After about a month from being diagnosed, though, I started to realize how few people actually knew what it was and acknowledged it as a real disease,” she said.

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And it’s a real disease that almost exclusively affects women–nearly 11 percent of women in the United States. Some of them go their whole lives without knowing they have it, which can potentially leave them unable to walk. So that’s why Bartley’s raising awareness of it.

Now at her lowest weight yet–165 pounds–she says she’s already seeing a huge difference two months post-op. She says her pain and swelling levels going down, and most importantly, she feels better on the inside.

“Nobody deserves to suffer from a disease, but if that is what the universe throws your way, make the best of your situation,” she said.

via LiftBump

NEXT: See MORE incredible weight loss transformations below.

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