Rosalie Bradford

Rosalie Bradford

Rosalie Bradford (b. August 27, 1943; d. November 29, 2006) holds the Guinness World Record for most weight lost by a woman.


Early life

Ever since childhood Rosalie Bradford was what she herself termed a “foodaholic”, due apparently to depression. She had been in foster care, and after the death of her foster mother she used food as a way to cope. As the years passed she continued to gain weight. At age 14, she weighed 202 lb (92 kg). At 15, she weighed 309 lb (140 kg).

Weight gain

In her twenties she met a man and they were married. The couple eventually had a son. Bradford found herself staying home with their son and cooking a lot. Her weight continued to climb. She eventually tried several diets and even joined Weight Watchers with little success.

Finally, after a blood infection landed her in the hospital, Bradford gave up on exercise altogether when the necessary bed rest allowed for her weight gain to accelerate. She remained immobile for eight years. She reached a peak weight of 1,199 lb (544 kg) in January 1987. In 1988, she became so depressed and frustrated that she attempted to commit suicide with painkillers. Her fat absorbed the potentially lethal dose and only caused her to sleep for two days.

Weight loss

A concerned friend contacted Richard Simmons, a familiar face in the weight loss industry. Simmons then contacted Bradford and spoke to her at length. She recalled Simmons saying “God doesn’t make junk and you are worth the effort.” After the phone call she received a package from him containing some exercise tapes and an eating plan.

She started small by clapping her hands along to the videos. “It was the only movement I could do,” she explained. She focused in on her diet and stuck to Simmons’ plan. After a year she had dropped 420 lb (190 kg). Eventually she got some more outside help from a physiotherapist and soon her weight dropped to 500 lb (226 kg), a total weight loss of 699 lb (317 kg). Bradford persisted with her weight loss plan and eventually reduced her weight to 200 lb (91 kg). The lymphatic system in her legs was damaged in one of five sessions of surgery to remove excess skin during her weight loss.


Rosalie Bradford posthumously continues to hold the world record for having lost the most weight. She died on November 29 2006 at a hospital in Lakeland (near to her Auburndale, Florida home). She was 63 years old.




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