Woman abused in the street for her weight shares how she lost more than 11 stone

Hattie Francis, 30, from Worthing, West Sussex, went from a size 28 to a size 14 after saying she ditched fad diets and committed to making healthier choices and exercising

A woman who received death threats and was abused on the street for her weight has revealed how she lost more than 11 stone and dropped seven dress sizes after ditching fad diets.

Hattie Francis, 30, from Worthing, West Sussex, went from a size 28 to a size 14 and now posts pictures on Instagram comparing herself in similar outfits before and after.

The early years practitioner says she was taunted at school by cruel bullies and the abuse didn’t stop when she became an adult.

She said after receiving death threats and people shouting abuse at her on the street she decided to lose weight.

In November 2019, she weighed 24 stone 9 lbs. And now she weighs 13 stone 2 lbs.

Hattie said: “I got death threats and had people slowing down in their cars next to me when I was walking to shout abuse. I got spat at and had my hair pulled,” Hattie said.

“One time I was out in Brighton and a group of boys surrounded me, pushed me and told me to go jump off the pier then called me a ‘fat c**t’.

“It made me really nervous to walk along a road by myself and had really impacted my self-esteem.

“The comments made me comfort eat and pile on more weight, then the bullying would get worse and it was a bit of a cycle.”

Hattie was worried she would have to have weight loss surgery to shift the pounds after she struggled to stick to fad diets in the past.

She said: “I’d done Weight Watchers, Atkins and all sorts of diets but my heart was never really in it before.

“I think the most I’d managed to lose was two stone and then I put it back on straight after.

“I panicked and thought I would have to get weight loss surgery.”

Hattie self-referred herself to the NHS Feeling Good weight management scheme, which was available in West Sussex and provided by Sussex Medical Chambers.

Hattie said: “They told me in order to qualify for bariatric surgery, you have to show that you can lose a certain amount first.

“I met with a dietician in November and they told me the next seminar talking about surgery options was in the February of 2020.

“By then, I’d already lost a stone myself and thought I would see what I could lose and then go to the seminar and decide about surgery.”

Hattie slowly changed her diet to try to make it as sustainable as possible and soon found her attitude towards food changing.

She said: “For the first time, I started thinking about what sort of food was going to fill me up.

“Now I have porridge for breakfast in little sachets for portion control, then a banana mid-morning.

“Then I have my soup and some wholemeal bread for lunch and Greek yoghurt with a tiny bit of honey for a snack.

“For dinner, I have things that are similar to what I was having before but with just better portion control with more veg. I like spaghetti bolognese, fish pie, jacket potatoes and omelettes.

“My problem was never takeaways or not cooking meals – it was just due to lots of snacking, particularly in the evening.

“Now I have dinner and don’t eat anything else for the rest of the night.”

For exercise, Hattie started walking three times a week and was going swimming before lockdown hit.

By the time the weight loss seminar came around in February 2020, Hattie had lost four stone.

She ended up turning down the option for surgery and hired a personal trainer once a week to up her exercise levels and kept focusing on her diet.

During lockdown, Hattie stayed committed to her new regime while she was furloughed.

Over 19 months, Hattie lost 11.5 stone. She is now a comfortable size 14 and weighs 13 stone 2 lbs, which she has maintained for the last few months.

She said: “My confidence has come on leaps and bounds from where it was originally but it is still low compared to the average person.

“There have been lots of non-scale victories that have shown me just how life-changing it is.

“Things like going to a theme park with my niece and nephews and going on rides and not worrying about it.

“One of the things I was most proud of was going for a walk along main roads by myself for the first time.”

She added: “It’s amazing walking into a room and not feeling like everyone is staring at me.”

Making the decision to lose weight also helped her talk about it to family and friends for the first time.

She now feels passionate about inspiring others with their own journeys and she volunteers with the NHS scheme who helped her to share her story.

Hattie also started an Instagram account @Hattie.Fattie showing before and after snaps side-by-side.

She added: “Before, I didn’t even speak to my family and friends about my weight but now I do these seminars, and then I made my Instagram page, and then I’ve done some podcasts.

“Those are all things I would never have envisioned being able to do and have really made me feel more confident.”