By Amy Walters

THIS WOMAN says she was constantly dumped for being too ‘fat’ but since losing over EIGHT STONE even strangers give her attention.

Office assistant Annie Stallings (19) from Florida, USA, had been overweight ever since she was just eight-years-old. She used to turn to food as a form of comfort – especially when her grandfather passed away in 2019. Annie would eat whatever she craved like high calorie deserts.

During school, she was constantly bullied for her size and she was known as the ‘fat’ friend. She recalls one time when the school were taking photos of the women’s tennis team for the yearbook, that she was placed at the beginning of the line due to her being captain of the team. However, she later found out that people were saying that they were lined up from fat to skinny.

FLORIDA, USA: Annie before her weight loss. Stallings

Each time a relationship of hers ended, Annie was told that she was too ‘fat’ to hurt her feelings and any time she wanted to borrow some clothing from a friend, they would come back with something from their parents’ closet rather than their own. As this led her to feeling down about her body, Annie turned to food for comfort and the vicious cycle continued.

At 18-years-old, she inputted her 18-stone weight and five-foot-six-inches height into a BMI calculator which informed her that she was in the third stage of obesity – – the highest risk of obesity that can lead to serious health issues and even death. She was beyond shocked and realised that she had a problem which needed to be taken care of before her health was seriously affected with complications such as a heart attack and stroke.

She placed herself on a calorie deficit diet where she was eating less calories than what she was burning off. Annie took up cardio and high intensity workouts such as using the treadmill, jumping jacks and jump roping. Once she started her diet, she began losing at least three pounds a week and soon, she had lost over seven-stone in total, which made her feel empowered.

FLORIDA, USA: Annie (left) pictured before her weight loss. Stallings

Despite feeling disheartened in the beginning, as it took a while for the weight to fall off, Annie came to realise that this isn’t how weight loss works and that through trial and error, she would eventually get past this mind set and reach her goal. From a personal standpoint, she believes losing weight has changed her life as she now meets the requirements for a position in law enforcement, which is her dream career.

Annie has gone from a UK dress size 24 to a UK dress size six and has lost eight-stone in total over the past 10 months. She began posting her weight loss journey online as she wanted people to hold her accountable if she defaulted on her progress. From this, she has received mostly positive comments from people congratulating her and is proud of her success where she now weighs 10-stone eight-pounds.

“I had been overweight my whole life, and I used food as a form of comfort for a really long time,” said Annie.

FLORIDA, USA: Annie pictured after her eight stone weight loss. Stallings

“I remember when my grandfather passed away, that I dealt with the loss by eating whatever I craved and I didn’t like my body at times or the limitations that came with it.

“Despite this, I have always loved myself and had high confidence – but I wanted to lose weight for my future career goals more than any other reason.

“I was bullied from grade school onwards. I was the ‘fat’ friend in any situation and the boys and girls in school made sure I knew that.

FLORIDA, USA: Annie pictured since her weight loss. Stallings

“I remember once having the women’s tennis team photos taken for the yearbook and I was placed at the beginning of the line due to me being captain of the team.

“As the photos got released, people kept commenting that the girls were actually lined up from fat to skinny, which really upset me.

“Anytime a relationship of mine ended, the first thing that would be mentioned was how ‘fat’ I was and whenever I wanted to borrow some clothes from a friend, they would go through their parents’ closet rather than their own.

FLORIDA, USA: Annie after her weight loss. Stallings

“I dealt with this by eating comfort food regularly and other times, I would try various diets and exercises but I would eventually give up.

“My weight was brought up by family and friends for as long as I can remember. Some would comfort me and say I was just ‘thick’ whereas others would ask, ‘Do you really need to eat that?’ each time I ate.

“Medical professionals had mentioned my weight before, but in most cases it was just something they could place the blame on for whatever other issues I had – but I learned that some of the health issues I had experienced were not weight related at all.”

FLORIDA, USA: Annie has lost an incredible eight stone. Stallings

In August 2020, Annie inputted her weight and height into a BMI calculator which told her that she was in the third stage of obesity. She believes this was the wake up call she needed as she realised that she had a problem that she needed to take care of before her health was affected.

“I had lost fifty pounds in the past, but had gained it all back within a few months and I wanted this to be the last time I failed whilst on a weight loss journey,” Annie said.

“I had tried dieting in the past. I used to eat more salads and less burgers, as well as the keto diet where I cut out carbohydrates – but I gained the weight back almost immediately after stopping.

FLORIDA, USA: Annie (left) before her weight loss. Stallings

“I started losing weight relatively quickly once I changed my diet and began exercising. At the size I was – UK dress size twenty-four – it was easy to lose around three pounds a week without any issue.”

Annie used to intake over 2,500 calories per day, where she would have a bagel or pizza for breakfast and would eat either pasta or fries and a burger for her lunch and dinner. Now, she intakes up to 1,500 calories per day and will instead have a smoothie for breakfast, some fruit and an egg white omelette for lunch and a grilled chicken salad for her dinner.

“I’m still on my weight loss journey, but once I hit the one-hundred-pound lost mark, I felt really empowered and as if I had conquered one of my biggest challenges throughout life,” said Annie.

FLORIDA, USA: Annie pictured before her weight loss before a tennis match. Stallings

“In a calorie deficit diet, there are no specific foods to stay away from, but rather portion control on all food. I noticed that I ate more vegetables than before, as these would work to keep me full and hold less calories than crisps.

“I was tempted to binge eat sweet foods, as this was my biggest form of comfort, but I learned that a small Hershey’s kiss was as pleasurable than an entire chocolate bar and I was able to prevent myself from giving in by allowing myself the food I was craving, but in moderation.

“I did workouts that I found on YouTube and walked at an incline on the treadmill for an hour each day, as well as making sure to hit my ten-thousand steps per day.

FLORIDA, USA: Annie pictured since her weight loss. Stallings

“I would do as many jumping jacks as I could and also began jump roping. For high intensity workouts, I did whatever I found on YouTube that looked fun for me – but as long as I felt comfortable doing what I was doing, I enjoyed myself.

“I think losing weight has changed my life, but from a more personal standpoint. Now, I meet the requirements for various law enforcement positions which is very important to me as it’s my career goal.

“I’m treated kinder by strangers and more people seem to notice me – I don’t feel invisible anymore which is very strange, as I’ve never had this before.

FLORIDA, USA: Annie loves wearing bikinis and turns heads wherever she goes. Stallings

“I’m able to be more active with less exhaustion, so I can live a happier and more inclusive lifestyle than before, but I still feel the same towards myself and my self-confidence hasn’t changed.

“I am proud of myself and my determination to reach my goals and this journey has definitely taught me how well I can persevere through challenges.”

For Annie, the hardest part about losing weight was that it wasn’t an automatic process and that it would take time to reach her weight goal.

“The more weight I lost, the less quickly I lost more and people in general prefer immediate gratification, which is what I was looking for,” Annie said.

FLORIDA, USA: Annie before her weight loss (right). Stallings

“It took me a long time to realise that this isn’t how weight loss worked, nor did the scale not moving change the fact that I was bettering my lifestyle.

“Sometimes, my weight didn’t want to change no matter how much I did – but I realised through trial and error, that as long as I didn’t give up, I could eventually reach my goals.

“I decided to post my weight loss journey online after I had lost around fifty pounds as I wanted to have people know that I was trying to lose weight in the hopes that they would hold me accountable to stay on track with my journey.

“I have received all forms of comments, but the majority are congratulatory and tell me how much of an amazing job I’m doing. However, some comments are unintentionally hurtful such as, ‘Keep going!’ and ‘Wow, I didn’t even realise how big you were before’ which isn’t beneficial as it just seems like I’m still overweight in their eyes and that I have more to lose.

FLORIDA, USA: Annie before her weight loss. Stallings

“However, the best comment I have received was someone telling me that I have been an inspiration for them whilst starting their own journey.

“I know for me, watching people do what I thought was impossible made me feel more prepared for the challenge and if I can be that for someone else, I couldn’t imagine anything better.

“Just try to be active whenever you can; whether that’s moving your car to a further parking spot or walking to the post office rather than driving – it’s important to just be active.

“Everyone starts somewhere and you don’t want to make exercise a chore, so do whatever feels comfortable.

“As long as you keep trying and you keep seeing progress, that’s all that matters – but I’m not a trained professional, just someone who has decided to live a healthier lifestyle and I couldn’t be happier.”