Body shaming is real and is a common issue that many people deal with every day. One mother from Cannock in Staffordshire, in the UK, decided to drop five dress sizes after she was bullied and branded ‘thunder thighs’. Nowadays, 31-year-old Ashley O’Brien is pursuing a career as a plus-size model. The mother-of-two suffered more than a decade full of torment and abuse. People used to call her a ‘fat cow’, and it became worse after the birth of her second child Hayden in 2012. Here is her inspiring story.
When Hayden was born, she had postnatal anxiety and was prescribed medication. Her weight loss journey began then, as she went from 210lbs to 154lbs and UK dress size 10. However, this did not make her happy and she missed her ‘thick thighs’. Nowadays, she is size 18 and regained some of her curves.
Amazingly, after six months of medication, the blogger mom went from a UK size 20 to a size 10.
However, as she was getting ready for a night out, she realized this was not what she wanted for herself.
Then, he decided to get back to her former self and ditched medication in favor of hypnotherapy.
After she regained her curvy figure, the mom auditioned for a plus size modeling competition, Ms Curvaceous.
Ashley said for the media: “I had always been around 13st 4lbs [186 lbs] and a size 16, but when I had Hayden I went up to 15st [210lbs] and I just couldn’t get out of my maternity clothes.”
She goes on: “I suffered from postnatal anxiety and [it] got so bad I couldn’t face leaving the house. If it hadn’t been for my kids and my responsibility to them I don’t know if I’d be here. I did think about suicide. I went to my GP and they prescribed me anti-anxiety pills. They stopped my panic attacks but I felt really sleepy and dazed all the time and my weight just started to drop off.”
Moreover, her then-slim figure made her feel like a shadow of her former self.
She looks back to reflect the weight loss.
“I should have been happy but I wasn’t. When one of my friends came over to take me on my first night out in ages I remember getting ready and when I looked in the mirror I was so upset. There were no curves, no thick thighs – it wasn’t me, it was just this shape of a person I didn’t know. It sounds silly because I don’t think all slim women look unfeminine but I really felt like I looked like a boy without my curves and I realised for the first time how much I loved them. I was determined to get back to myself and stopped taking the medication. I started going for cognitive behavioural therapy and tried hypnotherapy. After that first session I felt like a new woman.”
After she regained her figure, she was much happier.
“I’ve got my curves back and I am happier than ever. I feel so confident and I want to celebrate my body to show other girls and women that if I can be happy then they can be too. It’s why I am putting myself out there with Ms Curvaceous and sharing my story because I want people to know they’re not alone in what they’ve been through. And they should go out there too and flaunt their amazing figures. Celebrating yourself is what life’s all about. I’m a size 18 and I feel beautiful and fabulous so other women can and should too.”
Now, Ashley has also become a hypnotherapist herself and wants to change other women’s lives for the better. She is constantly promoting self-love after years of suffering.
“If it hadn’t been for my kids and my responsibility to them I don’t know if I’d be here. I did think about suicide”, she said of her children.
She now wants her children to feel good about themselves at all times.
Ashley added: “I remember I was 13 when my body started changing and it was very sudden. In just a few months I went from being in children’s clothes and then I was suddenly in an adult’s size 14.”
“I started to get comments from bullies at school calling me ‘fat’ and ‘thunder thighs’. It was awful and I got really depressed.”
“Also because I had bigger breasts, that became a real focus for boys and they would always say things to me. It made me feel objectified and was really damaging to my sense of self-worth.”
She goes on with the story of her childhood full of bullying.
“My dad was a single parent and he did his absolute best to try to support me and cope with how I was feeling but it was really hard for him as a single dad to deal with an insecure teenage girl. When I got to uni things got a bit better because I had friends who accepted me for who I was but whenever we went out I would always get looks and horrible comments. I remember once being in a club and a guy got in my face and shouted ‘you fat cow’. I just thought ‘why can’t I just have fun with my friends?'”
Strangers would often call her names, too.
“Fat-shaming is such a problem in society even the word plus size is said in a negative way as if it is something you shouldn’t be.”
On her audition, she says:
“I just hope that by being part of Ms Curvaceous and by doing my hypnotherapy, I can spread that message to every other woman feeling down about themselves.”
Ms Curvaceous founder Theo Ilori also gave his opinion.
“Our aim is to boost women’s confidence and to equip them with the skills to become confident, successful role models in the media and the fashion industry. They will give younger women growing up positive role models they can relate to. ”
Here‘s a story of another model who was fat-shamed.