The truth about Ashley Dunn Bratcher from My 600-lb Life

Ashley Dunn Bratcher from My 600-lb Life is arguably one of the most memorable stars of the TLC show — and that’s because her weight loss journey was breathtaking. According to her introduction on the series, Bratcher began gaining weight at a young age, reportedly following a harrowing childhood. Bratcher’s mother reportedly had a drug addiction so she was seldom around; meanwhile the husband of Bratcher’s babysitter had been abusing her.

On the show, viewers got to know Bratcher and her family of three, which included her husband, Jacob, and their son, Patrick. Despite Bratcher having been dealt a difficult hand in her early life, she’s surrounded by the love and support of family today. In fact, she and her husband have been married for a long time, according to her Facebook. “We’ve been through so much these last 10 years,” she wrote in 2019, marking their ten-year anniversary. “It’s crazy but I wouldn’t want to face it all next to anyone else.”

Thanks to some serious willpower and strength and her unwavering commitment to her family, Bratcher seems to have been doing well since she first appeared on My 600-lb Life. Wondering what she’s been up to off-screen? Here’s the untold truth of Bratcher that viewers didn’t get to see on TV.

Ashley Dunn Bratcher from My 600-lb Life found out she was pregnant on this holiday

If there’s one thing viewers got to know about Ashley Dunn Bratcher while watching her on My 600-lb Life, it’s that her son, Patrick, is her pride and joy. And apparently the proud mother received news of her pregnancy with Patrick on one of the most special days of the year: Valentine’s Day. “Jacob Bratcher, on this day nine years ago, we found out I was pregnant with Patrick!!!” she wrote on Facebook in 2018. “That will always be my favorite Valentine’s Day.”

Patrick was just 5 years old when the world first met him on the TLC show. At the time, Bratcher was very dependent on him to help her around the house, as she was largely unable to help herself when she was at her heaviest. Basically anything that involves standing and walking around a lot,” Bratcher said in her Season 4 episode, “Patrick does for me.”

My 600-lb Life's Ashley Dunn Bratcher lost serious weight after giving birth to her son

It’s not uncommon for women to gain weight during pregnancy and even after childbirth. In fact, research published in Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America in 2009 suggests that the childbearing years for women may result in substantial weight gain that can even lead to the development of obesity. Nearly half (45 percent) of women are overweight or obese at the start of their pregnancy, and 43 percent of pregnant women gain more weight than what is recommended for their health and the health of their babies while pregnant.

Maintaining a healthy weight during and after pregnancy is a struggle for many women. After giving birth to Patrick, however, Ashley Dunn Bratcher from My 600-lb Life actually lost 95 pounds, according to a tweet from TLC in April 2017. Giving birth to her son inspired her to lose weight and get healthy — she knew she wouldn’t live a long life on the path she was on, and she was reportedly determined not to abandon her son like her mother had abandoned her, according to the Daily Mail.

Ashley Dunn Bratcher from My 600-lb Life calls her son the "best part" of her

It’s very clear to My 600-lb Life fans that Ashley Dunn Bratcher really loves and prioritizes her son, Patrick.

On Oct. 29, 2019, Bratcher marked her son’s 10th birthday by writing on Facebook, “10 years ago today at 8:20 a.m., an [eight pound, 2 ounce] baby boy was born that has changed our world.” She continued, “Patrick Henry you are the best parts of your dad and I. Each day makes me even prouder to call you mine. Son you can do anything you set your mind to. I can’t wait to see the man [you’re] growing into. We love you more than words can express.”

Bratcher and her son seem to have a very loving relationship. She is constantly posting photos of Patrick and has called him her world. In an episode after Bratcher lost significant weight, she talked about being able to finally be there for her son, as opposed to him always having to offer her a helping hand. She said that she’s “most thankful” that he can be a kid and she can be a mom.

My 600-lb Life star Ashley Dunn Bratcher has a few fur babies

Ashley Dunn Bratcher from My 600-lb Life isn’t only a proud mother of her son, Patrick, but she’s also a mom to a few fur babies. According to the reality television star’s Instagram page, she appears to have two dogs and a cat. At least one of Bratcher’s dogs, Brindle, is a pit-mix, according to an Instagram post, and the pup seems to be as comfortable in front of the camera as the reality television star is herself. Bratcher has shared tons of cute photos of her adorable fur friend, calling the one and only Brindle “her [heart].” She doesn’t seem to post as much about the other dog, but we’re sure that she loves all of her pets just the same.

As for her cat, she’s dressed that pet up on at least one occasion, showing the cute ball of fluff in a gold T-shirt in one Instagram photo. And it does not appear that the cat exactly loves being dressed up. In the post’s caption, Bratcher wrote, “He’s not [too] happy with me lol #pissed #getthisoffofme #furbaby.”

Ashley Dunn Bratcher from My 600-lb Life was very close to this relative

Ashley Dunn Bratcher from My 600-lb Life is a family woman — that much is clear. She appeared to be especially close with her “nana,” according to her social media. In a 2016 Instagram post, Bratcher called her grandmother the “best woman in the world.” She shared the same photo on her Facebook page, captioning the post, “Spending the day with this lady. I need to do it more often. I’ve been blessed to have her in my life.”

Sadly, Bratcher’s grandmother has since passed away. In a Facebook status that Bratcher posted in January 2020, she wished her grandmother a happy birthday in heaven. She wrote in the post, “I miss you more than [words] can express but I know [you’re] with me every day.” 

In September 2019, Bratcher wrote on Facebook, “I miss you nana. More [than] I’d like to admit. I’m always seeing things throughout the days though that remind me of you.”

My 600-lb Life star Ashley Dunn Bratcher's weight loss surgery was one of the hardest things she's done

When viewers first met Ashley Dunn Bratcher on her episode of My 600-lb Life, her peak weight was 725 pounds. But after two years of filming for My 600-lb Life under the guidance of Dr. Now, as noted by Starcasm, she was said to have lost 350 pounds. That’s over 48 percent of her peak body weight. Bratcher underwent gastric bypass surgery on the show to facilitate her weight loss journey. But make no mistake: The experience was far from an easy one, as there’s a lot of things people get wrong about weight loss.

“This whole journey has been not only a physical rollercoaster, it’s been very a much an emotional rollercoaster,” she told People. “I’ve done fairly decent, but yes, I’ve had moments where I’ve broken down. Whoever says weight loss surgery is the easy way out is crazy because this has really been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.”

It’s no surprise that losing as much weight as Bratcher did would be difficult to do. Healthy weight loss is a process that doesn’t happen overnight, and changes to one’s body can certainly affect someone emotionally, as well. Fortunately now, Bratcher is much healthier and is able to move without pain, according to an episode of My 600-lb Life: Where Are They Now? in which she appeared (via Inquistr).

Ashley Dunn Bratcher from My 600-lb Life called her surgery "just a tool"

Ashley Dunn Bratcher’s gastric bypass surgery, a weight loss surgery that involves making a small pouch from the stomach and connecting it to the small intestine, helped immensely. As a result of the procedure, swallowed food enters the pouch and then is directed into the small intestine, so it bypasses most of the stomach and first section of the small intestine, according to Mayo Clinic.

While it may be easy to assume that gastric bypass surgery is the reason why Bratcher was able to lose so much weight on the show, she’s said that she had to do the hard work herself. “This surgery is just a tool. It does not change your mindset,” she told People. So, Bratcher had to change a lifetime of habits, given that she’d started gaining weight as a child and weighed 400 pounds by the time she graduated high school, according to My 600-lb Life.

Apparently, mind over matter is a tried-and-true method of accomplishing anything in life, even losing weight.

Ashley Dunn Bratcher from My 600-lb Life understands that hard work pays off

Ashley Dunn Bratcher has reportedly kept off most (if not all) of the weight that she lost while on My 600-lb Life with Dr. Now. According to an Inquisitr article in March 2020, Bratcher seems to be “still on the road to success.”

Back in 2016, Bratcher posted a photo collage of “then” and “now” photos of herself on Instagram for “Transformation Tuesday.” The more recent image showed Bratcher in a red shirt and glasses, smiling. She seemed to be a much healthier version of herself than she was in the other photos, in which she appeared to be at a much heavier weight. In hashtags for the post, she noted she was “proud,” “unstoppable,” “thankful,” and “blessed.” She said that she was “getting there,” adding that “God works in mysterious ways.”

Bratcher shared the same photo on her Facebook page, where her friends, family, and fans chimed in to share their congratulations, warm wishes, and words of love and support. And, according to other photos on the star’s social media pages, she looks happier and healthier than the person the world first got to know on My 600-lb Life.

My 600-lb Life's Ashley Dunn Bratcher now does this when she's feeling emotional

Emotional eating is something that people of all shapes and sizes battle, according to a wealth of research. One study published in the Journal of Eating Disorders in 2018 actually explained that “emotional eating, or overeating in response to negative emotions, is a behavior endorsed by both normal weight and people with overweight/obesity.” The researchers of that study actually found that programs that promote “exercise, mindful eating, emotion regulation, and positive body image” could help those who find it difficult to maintain a “healthy weight.”

Fortunately for Ashley Dunn Bratcher from My 600-lb Life, she has found several ways to combat turning “to food to deal with it all,” as she previously said she did on My 600-lb Life. “What I’ve found that helps me is when I do get that craving, I try to think about that and think about what I’m feeling,” she told People. “If it’s true hunger, then, you know, I’ll eat something. But if I’m feeling angry, happy, sad, I try to revert my mind to something else.” While people may combat emotional eating in different way, she’s found that examining what she’s feeling and switching to an activity works for her.

This activity has helped Ashley Dunn Bratcher from My 600-lb Life throughout her journey

There are tons of ways that Ashley Dunn Bratcher from My 600-lb Life battles emotional eating. One of those ways is through journaling. For Bratcher, journaling is part of self-growth. “I go for a walk. I play with my dogs. I might journal,” she told People. “It’s a learning experience.”

There’s a lot of research that suggests just how good journaling is for your health. Research led by psychologist Dr. James W. Pennebaker from University of Texas, Austin, who has led several studies regarding the topic, found that journaling about your feelings may help those writing better process trauma, as reported by Harvard Medical School. Of his research into the healing effects of writing, he shared, “By writing, you put some structure and organization to those anxious feelings,” adding, “It helps you to get past them.”

So, Bratcher may now be familiar with the relief journaling can provide.

Ashley Dunn Bratcher from My 600-lb Life is a big fan of this football team

Like many Americans, Ashley Dunn Bratcher from My 600-lb Life is a big NFL fan. She appears to love football, tuning in to watch games when her favorite team is playing. Her favorite team? Of course, the Texan is a Dallas Cowboys fan!

In fact, Bratcher even went ahead and changed her Facebook profile photo to depict the Cowboy’s star logo over her face at one point, and she has had a few profile pictures in the past feature the logo. In response to a Facebook friend jokingly admonishing her for supporting the team in the comments of one of her Cowboys-supporting photos, Bratcher replied, “Yes. We watch them every year lol.”

And not only does she watch the team on television every year, but one year her son, Patrick, even got to play on the Dallas Cowboys field. In 2017, Bratcher shared a photo of him in his football uniform at Dallas Cowboys Stadium. Celebrating his 8th birthday in the Facebook post, she wrote, “My little man turns 8 today and he’s getting to play on the Dallas Cowboys field. So proud of the little man he’s becoming.” How sweet!

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