Losing Pounds And Winning Friends

Many people struggle to keep their weight down, and obesity is a major concern in many countries. The United States has one of the worst problems of all, as vividly seen in the case of 22-year-old Austin Shifflet. Even as a kid, Austin was piling on the pounds, becoming miserable as he was bullied by other children. This story has a happy ending, though, as Austin found a remarkable way to lose weight — he took diet tips from a person who had been close to him for longer than any of his teachers. Who was this person? His nan!

School wasn't cool

Austin grew up in an ordinary neighbourhood in the small town of Charlottesville, Virginia. He had a normal childhood and a family who loved him, and like many other kids he thought nothing of snacking on burgers, fries, chicken wings and large cups of Coke. Unlike most of those other kids, he did it more and more, and it was then that the teasing started. It was worst during gym class, when the other pupils would surround him and chant "Fat Boy" at him again and again. The unkind nickname stuck and, from then on, the one-time happy student began to dread going to school.

A shock to the system

Austin's school work began to suffer and he got further and further behind, but the bullying did not stop. Austin became so unhappy that he could hardly do his work, and eventually he had to be held back when his fellow students moved up a year. It was then that the seriousness of his condition was brought home to him: when weighing himself, he thought that the scales were broken because of what they showed. He tried again and got the same result: he weighed over 23 stone. Austin was crushed – but, there and then, decided that he would fix his weight problem.
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