A woman who lost more than 14 stone in just two years has described the “malicious” online abuse she received as she documented her efforts on Instagram.
Simone Anderson, 25, dropped from 26st 9lb to 12st 2lb after making a decision to dramatically alter her lifestyle when she started finding everyday tasks more and more difficult.
She told BBC Newsbeat she decided to document her weight loss on Instagram “for her own benefit” and deliberated for days over making an account, adding: “I knew this time there was no turning back.”
Ms Anderson, from Auckland in New Zealand, has since amassed more than 149,000 followers on the social network, sharing photos of food, her exercise regime, nights out and messages from other women
She said that while she has been inundated with support and inspirational stories from around the world, she was “not prepared” for the huge attention generated and the negative comments it would bring.
Ms Anderson started her attempts to lose weight in August 2014, underwent gastric sleeve surgery in October that last year and later had cosmetic surgery to remove excess skin.
“I only ever tried to be as honest as possible,” she said. "From day one I showed the good, the bad and the ugly of extreme weight loss.
”I exposed my skin, I showed every stretch mark, every little bit of sagging to the world.
“To have people come back and tell me that I'm faking it was hard because I wasn't pleasing everyone.”
She has shared photos of her body pre-operation in attempts to convince “non-believers” who frequently accuse her of faking the transformation claiming differing hair, make-up, light and other details as proof.
“I don't know why but every single comment that called me out for being fake and a liar really bothered me far more than it should,” Ms Anderson wrote in one comment last year.
“I think it's because it took hours of crying and debating whether to share my story online and for others to see, posting the first picture online along with my weight for the world to see what the hardest thing I have ever done.
“Throughout my whole journey I have tried to be so honest about the whole experience and tell people it exactly as it's happened so to be called a fake hurt a lot.”
“I knew this time there was no turning back.”
She now shares diet and nutrition tips online, and hopes to help other clinically obese people reduce their weight to a healthy level.
“Even if I have changed one life of a person who is going out for a run now, that's the most amazing feeling ever,” she said.
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