By Rebecca Drew
MEET the woman who piled on the pounds after being fat-shamed by her now ex-husband when he was drunk but has had the last laugh after she left him and went on to lose more than six-and-a-half-stone.
Kennel supervisor Hayley Bienert (27) from Irvine, California, USA described herself as always being a ‘little bit chubby’ after growing up without a father figure in her life and being in a toxic relationship with her ex-husband who constantly put her down. This cycle drove Hayley to binge eat and saw her reach 16st 3lbs and a UK size 18-20.
Before her dramatic weight loss, Hayley would eat a foot-long subway, bag of crisps and four cookies for lunch which would be washed down with a coke. Fast forward three years and Hayley has swapped junk and sugar for meals packed with lean turkey, chicken, fish and vegetables. She is now a super fit 10st 5lbs and a UK size 8-10.
“Growing up with a father who would rather play video games than help his daughter build a birdhouse can cause issues later on in life,” said Hayley.
“I do know that it was an accumulation of the way I grew up and the toxic relationship I put myself in with my ex-husband. I have always been a little bit chubby, and when my ex and I got married we partied a lot and ate horribly.
“I had gained more weight and he didn’t like it. One night he had been drinking and he told me in so many words that I was fat and he wasn’t attracted to me anymore.
“When I heard that, it was like a switch had gone off in my brain, I never saw my body the same way after that. I felt inferior, I felt ugly and I felt unworthy. So I ate. I binge ate until I ballooned to more than sixteen-stone.
“After I had grown the mental strength leave my ex, I realised that I needed to change something in my life.
“I couldn’t change my overall current situation, but I knew I had total control over my body and my health.
“For so long, I had felt as though I didn’t have an identity, that my body fat percentage was my identity, that that is all people ever saw, including my ex.
“So I cut my hair, dyed it red and purchased the a beach body workout programme and in three months I lost more than three-stone.”
Before losing weight, Hayley never exercised but now she hits the gym between five to six times a week. Despite her new healthy regime, she still allows herself an occasional treat of ice cream or diet coke.
“I would say that the hardest part of losing weight, for me, was eating healthy. I was always triggered by fast food signs and sugary food at the grocery store,” she explained.
“As you travel down the road of weight loss, sometimes the foods you shouldn’t eat sound better than the foods you should.
“Overall, I just moved my body. I think people get overwhelmed with weight loss because they think that they have to hit the ground running.
“I think people think that they need to have a rigid workout routine and eat salads all day and it’s not like that at all. If you are mostly sedentary then plan to go for a brisk thirty-minute walk four days a week and focus on eating healthy foods.
“Slowly push out the foods you know are not helping your weight loss and replace them with wholesome foods that will make you feel good.”
Hayley is now more confident than ever and is currently working towards becoming a certified personal trainer specialising in women’s weight loss, she hopes she can inspire others.
“I love myself, but I had to learn that through accepting what happened to me, where my body was and is and will be in the future. Accepting the now is the most important thing you can do when working a better you,” she said.
“I’ve been told that I have been inspirational in the start of other people’s weight loss journeys. People who haven’t seen me in a while are shocked and that’s a good feeling.
“Just start with your grocery list but don’t stress over it. You don’t want to get sucked into all of the fad diets and mumbo jumbo the health industry tries to sell you these days.
“It’s not something you can keep doing for the rest of your life. Just focus on weeding out the bad foods in your diet, and replacing them with things you know are good for you.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/hmb.fit