I’d been chatting to Brett (not his real name) for a few months after matching on the dating app Tinder. There had been text messages, phone calls and video chats.
Tipping the scales at 170 kilos and wearing a size 26, my confidence was at an all-time low.
The best thing about Brett was he didn’t seem to care about my weight.
He had seen my full-length photos on Tinder, and we’d talked on video chat, but he’d never mentioned it.
‘You have such beautiful eyes!’ he’d tell me, as I swooned.
That’s why I felt confident enough to finally meet him in person. We’d arranged to have coffee at a local cafe.
Having worn my best dress for the occasion, I could hardly contain my excitement. Sitting down at a table, I replied to his message.
Here now! Can’t wait to see you too, I wrote.
I peered around the cafe, feeling anxious with each minute that passed. Looking at my watch, I realised Brett was 20 minutes late.
Another five minutes passed, then I felt my phone vibrate. You look absolutely nothing like your pictures, Brett wrote.
My heart sank.
Do yourself a favour: order a salad and lose some weight! he added.
I could feel tears welling up in my eyes as I read the cruel words over and over.
Brett blocked me and I never heard from him again. After that, I decided to stay off Tinder and focus on myself.
It got me really thinking about my weight and how it was impacting every facet of my life. I’d always been big, even getting bullied for it at school.
After my stepdad passed away when I was 15, the grief made me turn to food as a comfort. Soon I reached 110 kilos.
I didn’t think about what I was eating, and I rarely did any form of exercise.
Addicted to soft drinks, sometimes I would guzzle up to six litres of lemonade a day.
I also demolished entire packets of chips and lollies in one sitting.
Now, aged 19 and weighing 170 kilos, it was costing me my love life.
Three months after the horrific Tinder date, I was given some scary news.
‘You’re plagued with a host of health problems,’ my doctor explained. ‘Your blood pressure is through the roof, and you’re pre-diabetic. If you don’t lose weight, you’re not going to live another two years.’
Being faced with this death sentence was a huge wake-up call. I’d abused my body for so long, I didn’t even think it would be possible for me to lose weight.
But I started making a conscious effort to eat healthier meals, cut out the junk food and start doing more exercise.
With some research, I also began cooking a lot of keto-style meals that were high protein and low carb. I also joined a gym and began doing cheerleading.
In a year, I lost 55 kilos.
‘Wow, you’re looking fantastic, Hannah!’ said an old friend who I hadn’t seen in years.
But I still had more to lose, and I’d hit a plateau.
Following a consultation with my doctor, I decided to undergo gastric sleeve surgery in October 2018.
This helped me lose another 29 kilos over the next seven months, making it a total of 84 kilos.
Now I’m feeling happier than ever with my brand-new 86-kilo, size 12-14 body.
I never imagined I could look and feel so amazing!
I even decided to go back on Tinder.
I couldn’t let someone like Brett rob me of the chance to meet someone nice.
Here goes nothing! I sighed, as I activated my profile and began uploading some new photos.
The response was overwhelming!
Looking smoking hot! said one guy.
Wow, you have an amazing figure girl, another one messaged.
The compliments were flowing in and I went on some really amazing dates.
It’s a lot of fun and I’m more open than ever to finding love.
But the best thing for me about losing all this weight is that I will be able to achieve my dream of becoming a paramedic.
I’ve always wanted to help people, but I never felt that I could before due to my size.
Now, I’m more motivated than ever to follow my dreams. I’m so excited for the future.
Breakfast: High sugar cereal, toast, cup of coffee with four sugars
Mid-morning snack: Chips, sushi, cheese and crackers, milkshake
Lunch: Large takeaway meal, packet of chips, chocolate bar, bottle of juice
Afternoon snack: Popcorn, nut bar, yoghurt, peanut butter sandwich on white bread with lots of butter
Dinner: Large homecooked meal
Dessert: Family-size chocolate block, packet of chips, lollies
Beverages: 4-6 litres of lemonade
Breakfast: Eggs, protein shake or yoghurt with fruit, cup of black tea
Mid-morning snack: Cheese and crackers or Vegemite on crispbread, cup of herbal tea
Lunch: Soup or salad and protein
Afternoon snack: Fruit platter with crackers and dip
Dinner: Soup, meat and vegies, or salad
Dessert: Handful of nuts or one square of chocolate
Beverages: Water, tea