SO I LOST 64KG!
OBESE AND DEPRESSED...
AFTER SURVIVING ABUSE, ANNA HART HAS WON A SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE
When Anna Hart looked in the mirror as a child, it paralysed her with fear. For years, she stared at her image with tears running down her face, convinced that putting on weight was the only way to keep herself ‘safe’.
The Melbourne woman had suffered the unthinkable: seven years of sexual abuse at the hands of a family friend that began when she was just
3 years old.
“No-one knew,” Anna, 29, tells New Idea exclusively.
“I was too scared to tell anyone, so I did the only thing that I thought could protect me, which was to eat so that I would get bigger and make myself less vulnerable.”
The abuse stopped when Anna’s family moved interstate, but the trauma had all but destroyed her emotional and physical wellbeing. “I can’t imagine what would have happened if we stayed.”
But more devastation was yet to come. Soon after Anna revealed to her parents what had happened to her as a child, the family lost their home in the catastrophic 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria.
“My mental health spiralled out of control after that,” says Anna, who was 18 and weighed more than 80kg at the time.
“For the next seven years I was in and out of psychiatric wards, on medication and having therapy. I was selfharming and I needed help.”
Just as she had in adolescence, Anna spent her 20s seeking comfort in food, which caused her weight to skyrocket to an obese 124kg.
“I would wake up in the middle of the night and cook shake pancakes, and during the day I would rely on Mcdonald’s and pizza,” she recalls.
“I got very depressed and wouldn’t leave the house very often. My heart rate was very high, so was my blood pressure and cholesterol.
“I was at high risk for diabetes and couldn’t sleep because the pressure on my chest made it hard to breathe.”
In 2017, a wake-up call came when Anna decided to study a nursing degree to fulfil a lifelong dream to help others.
“I was finally doing what I’d hoped for and I could barely get up off the couch because of my size, never mind take care of a patient.”
For months, a desperate Anna tried diet after diet with little success and was planning on having gastric sleeve surgery when she discovered the low-carb and high-fat keto diet.
“I went cold turkey and threw all the junk food out of my house,” she recalls. “I learnt how to make simple meals and I haven’t been hungry ever since – and I get to eat lasagne, pizza and tacos, just in a different way.”
Too embarrassed to join a gym, Anna lost more than 15kg without any exercise.
When she eventually got the courage to step through the gym doors, that’s when “the weight just came off ”.
Anna transformed her body in a little over a year, shedding more than half her body weight to reach her goal of 60.2kg and going from a size 24 to a size six. Along the way, Anna also underwent breast reduction surgery, taking her from a 14J to a 14D, and had a procedure to remove 3.5kg of excess skin from her abdomen.
As she confidently twirls in front of the mirror, there’s no limit to what Anna’s mind and body can achieve.
“As a little girl, I always loved circus acrobats and now I’m up there learning aerial hoops skills. It’s a dream come true,” says Anna, who has come off all her medications and is happier than ever.
“I’ve achieved so much during my late 20s in order to get to this point, and to just live the way I want to.
“It’s not a dream anymore. If I want to do it I can, and I don’t have to let anything hold me back anymore.”
• If you or someone you know needs help, call Lifeline 13 11 14.