A woman who became an online star after losing 150lbs has revealed how the relentless bullying and death threats she received following her skin removal surgery caused her to regain 100lbs.
Stephanie Seabrook, 30, from Portland, Oregon, weighed 340lbs before she shed a whopping 150lbs. She became a viral sensation after she scrawled the cruel things people have said about her body on her excess skin in 2012.
Although received thousands of comments of support following her skin removal surgery, Stephanie told People that people’s attitudes toward her changed when her Instagram followers started accusing her of Photoshopping her pictures.
Fluctuations: Stephanie Seabrook, 30, from Portland, Oregon, lost 150lbs from her 340lb frame only to regain the weight after being bullied online. She now weighs 240lbs
Making a statement: Stephanie became a viral sensation after she scrawled the cruel things people have said about her body on her excess skin before her skin removal surgery in 2012
Pressure: Accusations that Stephanie Photoshopped her images led her to start gaining weight. Her stomach is pictured in 2013 (L) after her skin removal surgery and in 2018 (R)
‘I got death threats, and people said I should go kill myself because I’m pathetic,’ Stephanie said of the backlash. ‘They thought that I was a liar and a fraud when I was just trying to be loved and accepted like anyone else.’
Stephanie eventually learned that a girl she met on Instagram was Photoshopping her pictures without her knowledge and posting them online to draw criticism.
The intense scrutiny and the inability to deal with negative comments she was receiving led her to start gaining back the weight that she had lost.
She felt such an immense pressure to be an inspiration to her fans that she dealt with her weight gain by Photoshopping images of herself, but she admitted that only made things worse.
Cruel trolls: Stephanie said online bullies sent death threats and told her to kill herself after she was accused of Photoshopping her pictures
Struggle: The online bullying caused Stephanie to start to start gaining weight after she got down to 185lbs (pictured)
‘I was getting really depressed, and I couldn’t admit to everyone that I was gaining weight because I felt that I had a duty to be there for these people who said they could relate to me,’ she explained. ‘I didn’t want to disappoint them.’
Realizing that she had a problem, Stephanie quit Instagram and started seeing a therapist for about nine months. She reactivated her account on January 20, 2017 with a selfie, revealing that she had taken a break because she was being bullied.
‘I made some bad choices and people were mean. I took a break. But today is a day to feel empowered,’ she wrote. ‘I am no longer going to hide. I am no longer going to try and be a person you want me to be, I am going to be the person I already am.’
Stephanie went on to reveal that she had lost some of the weight she had put on during that difficult time in her life.
Still in suffering: Stephanie admitted that she wasn’t much happier at 185lbs than she was at her heaviest
Problem: The pressure to inspire her followers led her to Photoshop some of her pictures after she started to gain weight, and she ended up quitting social media for about nine months
‘I am 37 pounds down again. And I am proud of the woman I have become,’ she said. ‘You don’t have to like me or follow me but I will ask that you respect me.’
More than year later, Stephanie has lost a total of 60lbs, but she has stressed that she is only focused on getting healthy and her desire to have a baby with her husband, Kaycee.
When she was at her heaviest, Stephanie feared that she would ‘die obese.’ She started walking four miles a day and cutting out fast food.
After about six months, she had lost a whopping 80lbs.
Candid: In January, Stephanie shared photos of changing stomach, starting before her skin removal surgery and ending with what her stomach looks like now
She’s back: Stephanie eactivated her account on January 20, 2017 with a selfie, revealing that she had taken a break because she was being bullied
Getting there: Stephanie has continued to track her weight loss as she focuses on shedding the weight she had regained
Stephanie began working with trainer and eating clean meals, which helped her lose another 50lbs. She eventually went from 340lbs to 185lbs.
In January, a year after she returned to Instagram, Stephanie posted a photo of herself at 240lbs along pictures of herself at 340lbs and 185lbs.
She admitted that at 185lbs, she wasn’t much happier than she was at her heaviest because she naively thought her life would be be easier if she had a ‘great’ body.
‘Sometimes it takes a period of time for reflection to figure out what changes need to be made. I needed to take time for me to heal and find myself again,’ she wrote.
‘I learned never to apologize for me and to just love and do the right thing every time. I have never been happier in my life and my relationship with my husband has never been better.’