Look, I’m anti-bullying. I think if it were possible to aggregate data for every bully in America’s dick size, we’d be talking an average of a pencil eraser. But, sometimes a consistent, negative message allows one to see themselves more clearly. In a world saturated with self-acceptance and participation trophies, its easy to send an enabling message to someone who may need the hard truth. Granted, this message should be delivered from a place of love and concern rather than vitriol, but regardless of intent, there’s more than one way to skin some fat.
Just ask Austin Shifflet.
The 22-year-old Charlottesville, Virginia native was coined the nickname ‘Fat Boy’ by classmates after he ballooned up to 324 pounds through his fast food and soda addiction. Austin told Mirror that he would just laugh off the incessant bullying, trying to give off the impression that it wasn’t bothering him.
But it was eating him up inside, pun intended. Austin turned to the Atkins diet, and after losing 9 pounds in the first week, he was hooked. In the first three months on the diet, he lost 80 pounds, and that was before even stepping foot in the gym.
Austin started attending the gym late-night when it was empty to avoid the glares of gym-goers. In ten months, he lost 156 pounds by working out twice a day and now looks like he could be one of those shirtless Abercrombie greeters. Without being an insufferable douchebag, hopefully.
“It changed my life in a lot of ways. I was really shy before so it has helped with my confidence levels.
“It’s really helped with dating and girls too. Before they wouldn’t even talk to me.
“Now some of the people that bullied me now message me for tips, that’s one of the best things.
“I want to tell others you have to learn to accept the failures. I failed many times, but you can’t give up.”
Austin is now trying to raise money to get 10 pounds of excess skin removed via a GoFundMe account, so if you’re looking to help a bro out whose overcome insurmountable odds, karma comes around.