By Scott Thompson
MEN WOULD tell this woman that they ‘DON’T DATE FAT GIRLS’ until she lost over HALF her body weight – and now she’s adorned with compliments.
Stay at home mum, Lenzi Hope (28) from Columbus, Ohio, USA, tipped the scales at 26st 3lb due to years of gorging on greasy pizzas, burgers and cookies and sugar laden energy drinks, pop and fruit juice.
A UK size 34, she was unable to squeeze herself into women’s clothing even at specialist shops and she wore super-sized men’s clothes. She was constantly in pain and breathless due to her size.
Lenzi’s love life was non-existent and on a daily basis she’d have people tell her; ‘I could never be intimate with you’ or, ‘Wow, she has two butts’ and, ‘She’s so fat for her age’ and, ‘I would be so embarrassed if she was my mum’.
Lenzi’s turning point came when her chair at work buckled under her weight, much to her colleagues’ amusement. She had a gastric bypass in April 2017, upped her exercise and made healthier food choices, now Lenzi weighs 12st 2lb and wears a UK size 10.
The excess skin Lenzi was left with after her weight loss affected her daily life and led to painful chafing and rashes so she had the skin removed in August 2019.
“I’ve suffered with depression and anxiety for many years which always lead to binge eating pizzas and burgers, cookies, Red Bull, pop and fruit juice and I hardly ever exercised,” Lenzi said.
“Deep down I hated myself, I was simply disgusted with who I saw looking back at me in the mirror. I could clearly see how big I was, and I knew the path I was on, yet I was in denial and couldn’t admit that I needed to ask for help. The more depressed I got the more I ate, and it was hard to break this cycle.
“Going clothes shopping was the worst. I cried in the changing rooms as I tried to squeeze into the largest clothes in the women’s plus size stores. I had to switch to wearing men’s 2X and 3X clothes.
“I never showed my arms and I kept them covered up with a jacket even when it was 30 degrees Celsius outside. At that point I gave up being feminine. I rarely did my hair and my makeup was hit and miss and I struggled shaving my legs.
“I had no energy, I was always out of breath, it was a chore just getting off the sofa or to go upstairs, I couldn’t stand or walk for very long and my feet, back and joints all hurt. I couldn’t fit into the booths at restaurants, couldn’t ride rollercoasters and had to have my seat pushed right back to drive. I felt engulfed by my own body.
“My love life was pretty much non-existent, and it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Some of the things people said were awful. ‘I don’t date fat girls,’ ‘I could never be intimate with you,’ ‘She’s not cute fat, that’s sloppy fat,’ ‘She’s got two butts,’ ‘She must be having triplets,’ ‘She’s too fat for her age,’ ‘I’d be embarrassed if she was my mum,’ ‘Who would have a child with her?’ and even my own mum said, ‘You’re pretty for a big girl’.
“When I used to be a bank teller back in 2016 I had my wake up call. I’d constantly had this fear of my chair at work breaking right under my weight. My biggest fear happened one morning and all of my collages laughed so hard while I cried for embarrassment in the bathroom. I was so angry with myself.
“The same day I started looking up bariatric surgery and in April 2017 I finally had a gastric bypass. From then on, I had to drastically change my diet and now I eat things like protein bars, nuts, fruit, eggs, lean proteins and vegetables.
“One of the big milestones of losing a lot of weight is having excess skin and it was such a nuisance. It got in the way and it rubbed, chafed and caused rashes and itched. I finally had this removed in August 2019.
“In total I have lost 14st and 1lb. I’ve managed to maintain the weight loss through diet, walking and running and I’m soon going to start weight training.”
Since her incredible transformation Lenzi has lost friends after becoming before confident and being in control of her health.
“I’ve lost friends along my journey and I truly do not know what the reasoning behind this is. I assume it has something to do with taking charge of my health and my life,” Lenzi continued.
“I was very shy and quiet before my journey started, I never wanted any attention brought to me. I was invisible but now I’m not. I am vocal and not afraid of being myself and I guess that must be intimidating.
“For the first time in my entire life I truly love myself, and yes that includes my flaws too. I can now move a lot easier and I love being able to touch my toes. I’m more active and enjoy it. I look forward to going outside to the park, exploring new trails or playing with my son Braylen and I absolutely love to go clothes shopping now as I wear a small or medium.
“I have received many compliments but my favourite one is, ‘You have always been beautiful, but now you glow with pure beauty and happiness’.
“It’s never too late to get your life on track. Taking small steps in the right direction are better than making great leaps that make you stumble backwards.
“It’s important to take a look at your current lifestyle and slowly implement positive changes. Start small by adding more water to your daily intake, limit carbs and sugars and get moving.”
You can follow Lenzi’s amazing journey on Instagram