What I Want You to Know About Struggling With Obesity

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest posts is by Samantha.Photobucket

What I want you to know about struggling with obesity is that it affects every aspect of my life. It influences not only my self esteem and outward appearance, but my personality, activities, and relationships.


I am 5’9 inches tall and weigh close to 270 pounds. My BMI is 39.9, which is most definitely in the obese range. I want you to know that I don’t feel obese. To me, obese is the woman on reality TV that can’t get out of bed on her own. I am your everyday working mom on the go.

I want you to know that I've thought about my weight and how to change it every single day of my adult life, but still have failed to maintain a healthy weight. I also want you to know that I am ashamed of that fact, but also hopeful that I will be able to change it in the future.

I want you to know that when I meet someone for the first time, my first thought is instantly what they think of me in relation to my size, instead of what they think of me as a person in general. I want you to know that I downplay my “real” personality because I’m so concerned with the opinions of others.

I want you to know that what I see in the mirror isn't reality. When I am obese, as I have been most of my life, I don’t see obesity in the mirror looking back at me…I just see average…sometimes I even think I look good…and then I am shocked when I see a picture of myself. When I was “skinny” (180 pounds, size 10) I still saw a fat person looking back at me in the mirror, and even then could not bring myself to love the reflection looking back at me.

I want you to know that a person can be obese and still be active. I ran my first half marathon this year. I followed a strict training schedule, some weeks running 40+ miles, and still did not lose weight because I have not learned to control my emotional eating and binge eating. I want you to know that I was so proud to finish a half marathon, but also embarrassed about how long it took me to finish.

I want you to know that I have tried what seems like every diet out there, but still have not ever reached my goal weight. I want you to know that I absolutely know HOW to lose weight - I've just never been able to put it into action for a long period of time.

I want you to know that weight loss is as simple as calories burned > calories consumed, but that being obese often just isn't about calories - it’s just as much about feelings and emotions. I learned at a young age how to bury my emotions in food, and that is something that I try every day to undo, and not pass on to my own children.

I want you to know that self-worth isn't all about outward appearance, and that a person is much more than what they look like on the inside. I want you to know that I would never judge another person based on their size, but that I do it to myself every time I look in the mirror.

I want you to know that changing your life and getting your BMI out of the obese range isn't only about losing weight…it’s about learning to love yourself, inside and out.

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