Photos: Before: Ruven Afanador. After: Ben Baker

7 of 9
Bobbi Alison
Then: 372 lbs.
Now: 344 lbs.

In my first interview, I talked about wanting to unzip my body and step out. But it soon became clear to me that I had to own who I was and learn to love that person before I could address how and why I was eating.

One thing I've tried is looking in the mirror every day and saying "I love you." When I first started doing it, I wore sunglasses so I didn't have to look myself in the eye. But sunglasses or not, it really works. We're all beautiful, no matter our size, and it's important to feel beautiful. These days I'm more comfortable in my body, and I'm able to move better.

I promised myself this would be the year I'd get over some of my fears. I've always had anxiety over flying—I worried people would give me dirty looks because I'm heavy. But I traveled to South Carolina for the birth of my third grandchild—it was the first time I'd ever flown by myself. It was better than I expected.

I'd like to lose more weight, to be more physically comfortable in a seat on an airplane or in a theater—but as long as I'm healthy and I can do what I want without embarrassment, that's okay for now. It took me decades to get this way. So I'm going at my own pace.

Here's some exciting news: I got engaged! We'd dated for five years but broke up in 2014. We stayed in touch and last year started spending more time together. One day I looked at him and said, "Oh my God. I know what was missing, and it wasn't about you. I just didn't love myself enough to let you love me." We're getting married July 7.