A young woman from Indianapolis who lost 140 pounds revealed that she has since turned down her former crush, who had previously told her she was too heavy to date.
Rachael Heffner used to weigh 285 pounds. When her romantic interest cited her weight as the reason why he wouldn't go out with her, Heffner decided to make some major lifestyle changes.
"My initial motivation was to prove people wrong," she told the Daily Mail. "In college I was rejected by a boy and I wanted to show him that he'd made a mistake. I liked him and he didn't like me. He made it known that it was because of the way that I looked and that he wasn't attracted to me because I was heavier."
Heffner said she first started gaining weight after her mother's death from cancer in 2004.
"I was a little chubby when I was a kid, but after my mom became really sick and passed away I gained a lot of weight," she explained. "Since I was so young when she died, I didn't learn about nutrition from her and I was too set in my ways to listen to my dad's advice about food."
By the time she was 20, her body mass index was over 50 -- the highest level of obesity.
Then, in 2011, Heffner made a New Year's Resolution to lose weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle. The first step was reducing her consumption of sugary drinks.
"In college I was drinking up to four bottles of soda a day," she said. "I was drinking Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, Sprite and more. At first my body missed the sugar, I had to gradually reduce it by switching to Gatorade before going to water."
"I also started making meals myself instead of eating out and I cut my portions in half," she continued. "It was hard at first, whenever I was hungry I would snack on fruits or vegetables and before eating I'd drink a glass of water to help fill me up more."
Heffner also started working out at the gym, and in time she managed to lose 140 pounds. She said her former classmates barely recognize her now.
"Whenever I see someone they're always so surprised by how I look and are impressed," she said. "I keep joking that I'll definitely be going to our 10-year school reunion because everyone will be astonished when they see me."
She was even asked out by her old crush -- the one who rejected her because he thought she was too heavy.
"He's since asked me out a few times, but I've let him know that we're just friends now and not romantic," Heffner said. "I also told him that he was the reason I started losing weight, which really shocked him and he apologized for what he said when we were younger."
"But I'm glad he rejected me," she added. "I actually thanked him for it, as he was the reason I was able to get to the size I am today and there's no point holding grudges."
The next step for Heffner is to raise enough money to pay for an operation that will remove the excess skin from around her abdomen. A GoFundMe page she set up in February has so far raised over $600.
"This surgery is very important to me as I'd like to further my career into the fitness world," she wrote. "I'd like to become a personal trainer as well as own my own gym one day. The first step is to be comfortable in my own skin -- finally. I'd like to get this surgery by the end of 2017."