The 28-year-old said that it was a “coping mechanism,” a way to attack people before they attacked him.
In an interview with TODAY he says,
“When you’re actively trying to bring people down and get negative attention, it almost always reflects something in your own life”
His attacks would be random like from making remarks to women on feminist websites to taunting gamers for being “too poor’ the afford the newest XBox or PlayStation console.
“The thing about trolling is that it’s easy to become disconnected from it — you don’t see your victims, you don’t see what it does to them,” Shand said. “It’s easy to forget these are human beings.”
Today, the Novi, Michigan, man has changed not only his body image but his heart as well. He now weighs 260 pounds after hitting the gym every day instead of hitting people’s hearts online. After the gym, he leaves to an IT job which is his first time working in years.
His CHANGE had all started when he posted a thread online May 2013 titled:
“Ask the fattest man on this site anything.”
TODAY writes, “It was Shand’s insincere response to a forum monitor who had complained that Shand’s profile didn’t show his real picture, only an avatar, breaking one of the site’s rules.
“I made the thread to kind of say, alright, you want the real me? Here’s the real me,” Shand said. “It ended up blowing up. It got really popular. People were trying to talk me into believing that I could lose weight.”
Although there were a few mean comments, there were a lot of helpful ones.
After he had revealed to everyone on the thread that he had not bathed in two years because he couldn’t fit into the shower, adding that he “sometimes used baby wipes” and mostly lived in his own grime, one user sent him a kiddie pool and an outdoor shower nozzle that hooked up to a hose says TODAY.
“They started sending all kinds of things,” Shand said. “Exercise bands. Dumbbells. Things I would need to get started.”
“They kind of molded it for my situation,” he added. “Because I couldn’t really stand, they said I could just flop around and probably lose weight. I could dance sitting down. They gave me exercises to do while sitting.”
“I told them what I would eat and they would tell me how to shave off a couple hundred calories. They were small steps I could actually take.””
After opening his “true self” to the online world the same type people who he would have originally been cruel helped him change into the new man he is today.