A body positive Instagram model with an impressive 995k following has told how she changed her body after cruel bullies spat on her for being ‘fat’.
Despite now training up to six times a week, Nicole Herring, 23, still faces criticism for gaining weight during her curvy transformation.
Growing up, she was bullied for how she looked and when her body started to develop curvier than her friends, she was labelled ‘fat’ by nasty bullies who threw drinks on her and spat at her.
The bullying started off about my teeth being wonky and having acne. I was called every name possible and when I got braces and my medication for my skin, the bullies had to find something else so I was then bullied for being ‘fat’.
My group of friends were slim so when my body started changing and becoming more curvy, the bullies noticed and started using it against me. I used to cry when I got home from school some days because I was spat on, had drinks thrown over me, physically abused by the boys and verbally abused most days at school.
In a bid to get back at the bullies who severely impacted her mental health, and to lose weight, Nicole joined the gym in 2013, slowly taking control of her mindset towards her body.
After a few months of just doing cardio, Nicole began lifting weights, and was blown away by how much she could change her shape – now lifting an impressive 110kg.
In June 2016, Nicole launched her Instagram account to chart progress at the gym and before long realised instead of losing weight, she was gaining it. Despite going from 10st 3lb to 12st 12lb, the IT worker felt more confident with her body than ever.
Despite working out five to six times a week and maintaining a healthy diet, Nicole has people ask her how she can be her size yet still go to the gym, some even tell her she can’t possibly be fit and healthy. Nicole is eager to break down the gym stereotype and wants to encourage other people of all shapes and sizes to love themselves for who they are and make the gym inclusive for all.
I used to binge on snacks high in calories and sugar to process my emotions which didn’t help my attitude and mental health towards my body.
I hated my body and I continued to hate it until I started going to the gym. I started going to the gym for the wrong reasons with an unhealthy mindset. Whilst going to the gym, I started viewing my body in a different light and my mindset was gradually changing. I started to become more comfortable within myself no matter how my body looked.
When I was slimmer and thought I was ‘fat’ I would cover up in baggy clothing and would only wear clothing like skater dresses and skirts and oversized shirts so no one could see my stomach rolls or back fat. During my journey to self-love and confidence I started venturing out to different clothing. I’m no longer afraid to show people that I have body rolls or stretch marks.
One of my biggest achievements is no longer caring what others have to say about me. I’ve learned that no matter what you do in life, there will always be someone who will put you down. It’s my life at the end of the day and I need to do what’s best for myself.
Since documenting her transformation on social media, Nicole has gained an impressive 955k followers, but it doesn’t come without negative comments.
Explaining how she deals with the negativity, Nicole said:
I try to educate people in hopes they can see where I am coming from. Majority of the time, the people who criticise me don’t go to the gym which shows their lack of understanding.
I explain to others that the gym for me personally is a lot more than just physical. Gym is therapy for me, and it has been since joining. It’s become my second home and it’s had such a positive impact on my mental health.
Others need to understand that anyone who is going to the gym no matter what shape or size you are, we’re making a difference to our health whether it’s a small change or not.
I don’t believe in all these fad diets that aren’t maintainable. If I want to eat a doughnut or two then I will. I’ll never feel bad about it because life is too short to not enjoy the things you love and I know from experience that if I cut out everything I love I just end up bingeing on it eventually.
Since creating her Instagram, Nicole has noticed a surge in self-love and body positive accounts, which she says helps others feel good about themselves.
It’s definitely made me feel a lot more comfortable within myself knowing that there are others going through the same emotions and feelings I do. The confidence other women put out and the love and support I get from my following, inspires me to carry on doing what I do.
Over the period of having my Instagram, my confidence has increased dramatically because I’ve allowed myself to be put out there at my most vulnerable and show off my ‘imperfections’.
Way to go Nicole, keep doing you!
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.