At aged 17, Austin Shifflett thought he weighed about 250 lbs (17 st 8 lbs). When he weighed himself at a friend’s house, he realised that it was a lot more.
At 324 lbs, Austin actually weighed just over 23 stone. As he told Metro, “it took everything in me not to break down and cry in front of my friend.”
But – instead of turning to junk food for comfort, and hiding himself in his room to play video games – the way he had previously coped with being bullied for his size – Austin decided to do something about it. He went to his Grandma – who had had success with the Atkins Diet – and asked for her help.
By cutting out junk food, eating a low-carb diet and going to the gym, Austin managed to lose half his bodyweight in just 11 months.
He explained that this new regime hasn’t just done wonders for his health, it’s helped his confidence too. But it’s not all been plain sailing. Austin’s extreme weight loss has left him with excess skin that – if he wants to get rid of – he’ll have to have surgery.
On a GoFundMe page that Austin has set up to help with the cost of this, he explains:
“I would always tell my friends ‘when I lose weight I can’t wait to throw my shirt off and be normal and have abs’ I was crushed to find out by medical doctors that its not really a possibility without having surgery.”
But above all, Austin’s outlook is positive, and – now 22 – he’s hoping to study sports medicine, so he can help others change their lifestyle the way he changed his.
“I have a good understanding and I am passionate about it,’ he says. ‘I want to tell others you have to learn to accept the failures. I failed many times, but you can’t give up.
You didn’t gain the weight overnight and you won’t lose it overnight either.”