By Alyce Collins
THIS stunning woman underwent surgery to remove the EXCESS SKIN which she hated having to ‘tuck in’ after being diagnosed with MS encouraged her to cherish her health.
Annie McManis (25) from Christchurch, New Zealand, has put years of bullying behind her after shedding over eight-stone since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis made her appreciate the health, she had taken for granted for so long.
Annie was frequently bullied at school, leading her to change schools to escape from the torment which caused her to gain weight. Being bullied had a dramatic impact on Annie’s mental health, leading her to become reclusive and stay in bed, binge watching television and snacking.
By the age of 21, Annie suffered from severe anxiety and her weight gain created numerous health issues as she was pre-diabetic, chronically depressed, had high blood pressure and joint pain.
The number shown on the scales had always bothered Annie, but it wasn’t until 2016 when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and she suffered paralysis on her entire left side, that Annie realised how much she had taken her health for granted.
After spending two months in hospital to regain her strength following the diagnosis, Annie got serious about dieting and exercising to shed the weight which had been a burden for three years prior.
Annie went from 20st 2lb, a size 22 to 12st 1lb, a size 12 as she now works out five times a week. In May 2018, Annie made the decision to have 4lb 4oz of her excess skin removed because she hated having to tuck it in and it caused rashes in the folds.
“I’ve always struggled with my mental health and being horribly bullied throughout my younger years has definitely had a massive impact,” said Annie.
“I was always a bit of an outcast and a recluse as a child, and being a bigger girl, I was cruelly picked on a lot for that.
“I felt lonely, disappointed and ashamed of myself. I just felt so worthless and constantly doubted myself as I was my own worst critic.
“I would usually stay in bed until six pm when I could, and I would binge eat a large family sized bag of crisps, cookies, sweets and cakes. I’d do this while watching tv into the early hours of the morning.
“I was constantly getting infections, I had no energy and I’d get migraines. Due to my weight, I was pre-diabetic and had high blood pressure as well. I was pretty much always in discomfort because I suffered from joint and back pain.
“My numerous health issues led to me constantly being in and out of hospital. I remember having a routine weigh in at one of my appointments and I felt so sick with what the number said on the scales.
“I remember on that day thinking I’d had enough, and I wanted to live old enough to see myself have a family and live my life to the fullest. So, I began cutting junk food and fizzy drinks first. I tried to become more mindful of portion control.
“Then in January 2016 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) after going paralysed down my left side. I was in the brain injury unit for two months while I learned to walk and regain the use of my left arm again.
“Even though it was devastating news, I knew it was even more imperative to be more mindful about my health and wellness than before.
“The diagnosis has definitely made me cherish and value my life so much more. I only have one life, so I choose to live my life to the fullest now. I have learned that it’s okay to put myself and my wellbeing first.
“One of the biggest problems I faced was adapting my lifestyle and physical fitness to suit me and my limitations with my MS. At the beginning I started to just move more and I’d walk for 30 minutes a day, then I slowly built up my regime since.
“Now I work out three to five times a week for at least 40 minutes to an hour.
“My meals consist of a low-calorie bowl of muesli and fruit for breakfast, a wholemeal sandwich for lunch with a piece of fruit or a muesli bar. Then for dinner I usually have a small portion of meat and a large portion of vegetables.
“This journey hasn’t just been about losing weight but also the self-discovery I have made along the way. There have been plenty of challenges, but it’s been so worth it, and I wouldn’t take any of it back.”
After working hard to lose much of her weight, Annie decided in 2017 that she wanted to have an abdominoplasty to remove 4lb 4oz of excess skin from her stomach, which was done in May 2018.
Having the excess skin removed has allowed Annie to fully embrace her new figure without feeling self-conscious of tucking her skin in or worrying about getting rashes in the folds of her skin.
“It was really hard because when you work so hard to lose all the weight and you can’t see that work because of the skin, it’s difficult to handle,” said Annie.
“It had a big impact on my mental health and I was constantly aware of tucking it in and not being able to wear certain clothes because I was so self-conscious.
“I made my decision to undergo surgery to remove the skin in May 2017 that I would begin the skin removal process.
“I no longer have skin rashes or sores where the folds of my skin were. I don’t have to tuck my skin in all the time and it doesn’t get hot, sweaty and uncomfortable anymore. It’s definitely improved my back pain.
“Now, I feel much more confident and I actually get excited to go clothes shopping.
“What I would say to anyone else is to start off small by doing one thing a day that paints a bigger picture for the future.
“Move your body for at least 30 minutes a day and find something that’s fun and motivates you. Losing weight isn’t about crazy dieting and intense workouts.
“Set up a goal sheet and a reward system so you can treat yourself once you achieve your goals.
“Personally, I found having a food diary is really good to see what you’re eating and what you can cut back on or substitute for healthier versions.”
To find out more, visit Annie’s Instagram @fiery_valkyrie.