Sometimes, people with low self-esteem unleash their unhappiness on others because, at a superficial level, it makes them feel better about themselves. In the internet age, not only can they bully others using an avatar, but they can use aggression that they normally wouldn’t dare to use in person.
Jesse Shand, in his mid-twenties, was a morbidly obese man weighing in at 700 pounds (approx. 318 kg). He was staying with his mom and never went out since his father was murdered when he was still a young child.
Jesse would spend all of his time in front of a computer and would never stand up to exercise or do anything that required physical exertion.
Jesse carried a lot of emotional baggage. He vented his anger by bullying others over the internet.
“I would target anyone for my trolling; if someone was upset about a break up I might talk a lot about how great it is to be in a relationship. I was just doing anything I could do to further upset someone who was already devastated. It made me kind of get a laugh and feel better about my situation. I wanted to force my misery onto someone else—it meant I didn’t have to think about my own terrible situation,” he recalls.
Then he moved on to bash bodybuilders online—a blessing in disguise for him. Instead of getting angry at him, the bodybuilders pushed him to do something about his weight and self-esteem problems. At one point, they asked him to post a photo of himself on the forum and he, surprisingly, obliged. That was the moment when his life changed forever.
Much to his surprise, Jesse’s predicament was quickly addressed by the bodybuilders.
When pushed to start his weight loss journey, Jesse had a lot of excuses. They ranged from, “no money to buy the right kinds of food,” to “no equipment.” But bodybuilders were very insistent—they said, at his weight, he could “flop around” in his chair to shed some pounds. He decided to give it a try and began exercising “sitting down” in his chair—by the end of it, Jesse was tired and sweaty. He realized that his chair exercises were actually working for him.
After losing some pounds, he began walking short distances at first and then gradually increased the number of times he would walk in a week. He then moved on to biking and the rest is history.
Jesse has lost almost 400 pounds (approx. 181 kg) since he started in 2013. He is eating healthy now and has stopped bashing people on the internet: “I feel like I wasted so many years of my life. I wasn’t doing anything productive and I was hurting other people. That doesn’t do anything to further my own happiness and it certainly didn’t help anyone else. I want to be able to make up for that and show the new me and help out and give back to people who are in a similar situation.”
This video shows the story of a severely obese internet troll whose victims came to his aid when he decided to change his life.