An obese teenager who self-harmed after allegedly being cruelly tormented by high school bullies has shed more than 200 pounds after moving to another state to escape them.
Jaime Spiak, 22, would cut herself three-times-a-week after school where her tormentors would allegedly call her fat and grab her double chin in the hallways.
She tipped the scales at 350 pounds at her heaviest and would binge eat boxes of Oreos, crisps, and tubs of ice cream in secret at night to bury the pain.
Spiak, who grew up in Clifton Park in Saratoga County, New York, was even driven to attempt an overdose in summer 2014, but thankfully survived.
The alleged bullies continued to torture Spiak even after graduation, as they attended the same university.
Spiak and her mother, Donna Spiak, 54, decided to relocate to Norfolk, Va., in the winter of 2015, to be closer to her sister Jessica Iavarone, 25, and start a new life.
In November 2016, Spiak became very ill and had to undergo surgery to remove her gallbladder, after which she shed 60 pounds in two months.
More than 400 miles away from the alleged bullies, Spiak got a fresh start after she transferred to a new university, Old Dominion in Norfolk.
Before the move, Spiak often skipped breakfast and lunch and binged on junk food at night. But after escaping her alleged tormentors, she no longer felt compelled to comfort eat.
She began to prep meals, swapped Oreos for wraps and salads and started hitting the gym, all of which helped her shed 205 pounds in three years.
Spiak hasn’t self-harmed for more than three years and has even found love with boyfriend Meade Eller, 28, a warehouse worker whom she met on Tinder.
“I have had a problem with weight for as long as I can remember," Spiak, who now weighs 145 pounds, said. "I was bullied, tortured and called names. I was always the ‘fat one’. In high school, I weighed between 250 and 300 pounds. People would just come right up to me and grab my double chin in the hallway."
“My mental health got really bad," she said. "I was suffering from depression and I hated school so much. When I was 11 I was diagnosed with depression and I was on Prozac for eight years.
“I began self-harming around that time. I would cut myself so that the physical pain would take over from the emotional pain," she said. “It got pretty bad. I would self-harm three times a week. I was bullied so badly even after graduation. My bullies would change Wikipedia pages and write horrible things about me, they would text me and tell me to kill myself."
“That summer I was home alone for the weekend and I tried to end my life," she said. "I took a lot of pills and hoped I would die. When I woke up I felt so terrible, I was so sick. It was then I decided that I was only 18 and I had a lot of life left to live.”
The sculptural media senior said moving states allowed her to heal and clearly focus on her health for the first time.
She started hitting the gym, and now enjoys sports including cycling, swimming and skiing and takes daily nighttime walks.
Rather than fasting all day and binging at night, she snacks on peanut butter, crackers, yogurt and fruit through the day and cooks meals like tacos or chicken for dinner.
“I was suffering a lot of health problems when I was overweight, like my gallbladder and kidney stones," she said. "I had ovarian cysts. After I moved to Virginia, I had surgery to remove my gallbladder and after that I lost 60 pounds."
“When I noticed how good I felt after that, I decided to keep going and just change my life," she said. “I met my boyfriend on Tinder in 2016 and he really inspires me. He has cystic fibrosis and he recently had a double lung transplant. He is such an active person, we stay fit and keep on track together.”
Spiak added that she tries not to hold a grudge against her high school tormentors, but it is hard sometimes.
"I still hold a lot of anger towards my bullies but at the same time I live in a different state now and it’s comforting to be so far away," she said. "I still suffer anxiety but I’m so much happier in myself now and in my body. I have not self-harmed for three or four years now. I’ve just tried my best to move on with my life. Losing this weight has allowed me to get my life back and I have confidence for the first time in my life."