Unfortunately, bullying someone based on looks is alive and well in our schools. When it comes to weight, being obese commonly makes a person a target of mean taunts and ill treatment. Sometimes the bullying drives kids to take drastic action.
Jenna Winchester, a teenager from New York, was bullied so badly that she quit school. She was obese her entire life and by age 16 weighed over 350 pounds. She put on more and more weight through the years as a result of comfort eating which was her way of coping with the bullying.
At school, kids would laugh or snicker behind her back, with one so-called friend even calling her “Big Jen”. After leaving school, Jenna barely left the house. She ate and slept all day, burying her feelings in food. Out of shape, she had a hard time breathing and getting around. She was also suffering from depression and anxiety.
One day, when she couldn’t wrap a seatbelt around herself, Jenna made up her mind to change. She decided to clear some things like junk food from her diet. It helped but the biggest change came when she got her new best friend.
Jenna adopted a German Shepherd puppy named Nadia whose care got her walking on a regular basis. Eventually that walking turned into running, and the pounds started to slip off. Starting off slowly, Jenna graduated to feeling confident enough to start going to a gym, which is something she now does daily.
Caters_NewsWith a new fitness routine and healthy diet regimen, Jenna lost 200 pounds. A typical diet for Jenna used to consist of processed foods, sugary items like cereal and candy, and large portions. The new plan now includes smaller portions and fruit and whole grains. Now 18, she credits Nadia with helping to keep her on track. Jenna said she hasn’t had a soda in two years!
She has also reentered school and is studying exercise science as a full-time college student. It seems her experience has led her down a path of wanting to help others become healthy. She’s come a long way from the 16-year-old victim of bullying.
Because of the amount of weight lost, Jenna now has loose skin on her body. As she continues to lose more weight, the excess skin has become troublesome and uncomfortable to carry. To offset the discomfort, she wears compression garments and uses baby powder to prevent sores.
Jenna hopes to have surgery to remove the sagging skin and has launched a GoFundMe page to help raise funds. On the page she shares the details behind her journey, including the emotional toll. Not only has she shed the weight, but also the inner baggage that was holding her down. She says now she is finally able to smile!
Watch the video to see Jenna’s transformation. She’s put in a tremendous amount of work, all with her puppy pal by her side. Though she’s still working on meeting her goals for weight and health, she’s done an amazing job so far.
Can you relate to Jenna’s story? What do you think of her transformation?