I was called the ‘fat friend’ but now I’ve lost nine stone with dream job in sights’

A woman who says she was dumped for being too “fat” has opened up about her extraordinary weight loss.

Annie Stallings, 19, has revealed how she got her life back on track after being found dangerously obese.

The office assistant from Florida, USA, had been overweight since she was eight years old.

She turned to food for comfort after her grandfather died in 2019.

Annie said she would eat whatever she wanted – including chips, pizza, desserts and burgers.

At school she was bullied for her size and she says she was known as the “fat” friend.

If she wanted to borrow clothes from her friends, they would come back with items from their parents’
wardrobe rather than their own.

And when a relationship of hers ended, Annie was told she was too ‘fat’ for it to hurt her feelings.

Annie was devastated. She turned to food for comfort, and the vicious cycle continued.

When she was 18 and 5ft 6in tall, she weighed 18-stone. A BMI calculator revealed she had severe obesity, which could result in serious health problems and even death.

She was shocked and realised she had to take action to avoid suffering a heart attack or a stroke.

She placed herself on a calorie deficit diet, eating fewer calories than she was burning off.

Annie took up cardio and high intensity workouts. She hit the treadmill and began losing at least three pounds a week.

Soon, she had lost more than seven stone.

She said it was disheartening to start with – it took time to begin losing weight.

But Annie came to realise the process involves trial and error, and she was determined to reach her goal.

She has lost eight stone in 10 months, and now weighs 10 stone 8lb.

She believes losing weight changed her life.

Annie has gone from a dress size 24 to a six. She wants to work for the police, and now meets the requirements for the job.

Annie began documenting her weight loss online, saying she wanted people to hold her accountable if she felt like giving up.

People have congratulated her and she is proud of her success.

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

“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.

“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.

“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.”

After the BMI calculator showed she was severely obese, Annie found a renewed determination to lose weight.

“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 while on a weight loss journey,” Annie said.

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

“I started losing weight relatively quickly once I changed my diet and began exercising.

“At the size I was – UK dress size 24 – it was easy to lose around three pounds a week without any issue.”

Annie used to consume around 2,500 calories a day.

She would have a bagel or pizza for breakfast and would eat pasta or chips and a burger for lunch and dinner.

She is now having around 1,500 calories a day – a smoothie for breakfast, fruit, an egg white omelette for lunch, and a grilled chicken salad for 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,” Annie said.

“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 fewer 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.

“I was able to prevent myself from giving in by allowing myself the food I was craving, but in moderation.

“I did workouts 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. 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.”

Annie described how her weight loss has changed her prospects and the way she is seen by others.

She said: “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.

“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.”