Donna Simpson, the heaviest woman ever to bear children, may be throwing away her fame by losing the weight that got her there.
Yes, she's going on a diet.
It wasn't a decision she made lightly, and it's one that was prompted, in part, by the end of her relationship with Phillipe Gouamba, her fiance of five years, and father of her daughter, Jacqueline.
Simpson first came to fame in February 2007, when Guinness World Records declared her the "World's Heaviest Mother" because she weighed 532 pounds before giving birth to her daughter Jacqueline.
Yet a few months ago, after she and Gouamba broke up, the Ohio native moved from New Jersey to Akron, near where she was raised. The change of scenery has inspired her to try to alter her lifestyle.
"It's fine to gain weight when you have a partner who will help feed you and take care of everything around you," she told HuffPost Weird News in an exclusive interview. "But that's between two adult people who make the choice. I realized that I couldn't expect my kids to do that for me."
According to a post on her website, Simpson says family concerns were the main reason behind her decision.
"Now that I have sole responsibility of taking care of my children, I must drastically change my lifestyle," she wrote. "Most people see me as a woman who became famous for wanting to gain weight while the rest of the world was trying to slim down. This was true as I was in a relationship that was based on a fetish that exists only in a fantasy."
Despite reports that she weighed as much as 730 pounds, Simpson says her peak weight was 600 pounds. However, the stress of moving to Ohio caused her to lose 60 pounds.
Now her plan is to lose another 170 pounds to get to a goal weight of 370 pounds.
"That is, unless I meet someone who wants me to be heavier," she said. "I need to lose enough weight so I can do things for myself, like get out of showers."
But Simpson's idea of a diet may be different than most people.
"I don't want to be thin. I still will be fat," she said, adding that she's open to resuming her weight gain if she finds the right person.
At her peak, Simpson ate 15,000 calories a day -- more than what doctors recommend the average adult woman should be consuming in a week. She says she earned as much as $90,000 a year by charging people to watch her eat online, according to Softpedia.com.
But if Simpson is going to lose weight, she also admits she needs to deal with the emotional baggage she's also been carrying around for years.
"I know I need the help of a therapist to help me come to terms with the abuse I’ve suffered growing up and the various experiences that have made me the woman I have become," she said, adding that much of her desire to be fat comes from emotional trauma suffered as a child, including being starved by a step-parent.
"I am scared," she said. "I don't want to lose the weight.
Although Simpson claims she has a standing offer from a producer of "The Biggest Loser" to appear on the show, she says that would not work for her.
"I have fibromyalgia so I couldn't do things as intense as they do," she said. "Plus, I really need a psychologist."
Still, maybe she could handle that show's physical demands since she claimed that when she was a comparatively svelte 320 pounds, she was able to walk two miles a day.
It might seem that most people would wish Simpson the best of luck in her efforts, but she is a little worried that her new goal of weight loss might alienate the folks who have spent their hard-earned money in order to watch her eat online.
She hopes they will understand.
"I realize this statement will be met with mixed emotions," Simpson wrote on her site. "The people that admired me as a 'super-sized big beautiful web model' probably will be disappointed in this decision. The thousands of people that have sent me hate mail will either think this is some publicity stunt or maybe they will become supporters. Either way, I assure you I am sincere in my desire to change."
Simpson says as a result of the change in direction, the website will become more family-oriented and feature a personal blog where she discusses her efforts to lose the weight.
The timing of this is interesting, as it comes hot on the heels of stories about Susanne Eman, a 32-year-old plus-size model from Casa Grande, Arizona, who the Sun reports weighs 728 pounds.
Eman is setting herself up to not only beat Simpson to the 1,000-pound mark, but also to break the record for "World's Heaviest Woman" set by Carol Yager, of Flint, Michigan, who reportedly weighed around 1200 pounds before she died in 1994, at the age of 34. Eman says she is aiming to break the record by the time she is 41 or 42.
But while Simpson is going on a diet, she's not losing her fighting spirit -- at least when it comes to Eman.
"She's Lady Goo Goo to my Lady Gaga," Simpson laughed, adding that no one in the "feeder" community, a subculture of men who love large women and feed them in order to keep them curvy, knows who Eman is.
"If she was a serious gainer, the community would know about her," she said.
Simpson suspects that Eman is in cahoots with her ex-manager and is trying to get publicity in order to compete for her fan base.
"She says she's surpassed me as the world's fattest mom, but she doesn't understand that Guinness gave me the record because I was 532 pounds when I gave birth," Simpson said. "She wasn't that large when she gave birth to her kids."
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