Occupation: 3D Animation Artist/Cake Sugar Artist
Hometown: Montrose, California
STARTING WEIGHT: 250
CURRENT WEIGHT: 163
WEIGHT DIFFERENCE: -87
Fernanda Abarca was born in Goiania, Brazil, and spent her early years in the Amazon before moving with her parents and three siblings to the Washington, D.C. area. She was very athletic growing up, playing soccer and field hockey. Her art career took off in high school when she received the Maryland Distinguished Scholar Award, a full scholarship that allowed her to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art to study illustration. She then moved to Florida and got a bachelor of fine arts degree in computer animation from Ringling College of Art and Design. The first in her family to earn a degree, she was hired as a computer animation artist straight out of college. Currently an artist at a major animation studio, she also maintains her own business creating beautiful cakes. Her weight gain began midway through college when she changed schools and gained 70 pounds in six months. The challenges of the adjustment resulted in a period of low self-esteem, poor diet and long hours at the computer studying. After college, she married her high school sweetheart, and they have a four-year-old son and a six-year-old daughter. Now 32 years old, she weighs 250 pounds and has high cholesterol. Once she loses the weight, she looks forward to "living life to the fullest" - enjoying new activities with her husband and children while exploring the world of fitness.