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Member Spotlight: The Social Effects of Obesity

Posted on December 30, 2019

Growing up, most of the women in my family were overweight, so that was a fear of mine. At the age of 23 I weighed approximately 180 pounds, even after giving birth to my two eldest children. I felt I looked pretty good considering I’d had two children, so I didn’t let it bother me.

After I had my daughter, my doctor put me on the birth control shot. I was also suffering from depression due to personal issues. I noticed that I had gained some weight from taking birth control, which coupled with my low self-esteem, only worsened my depression. I began going places less often than I did before gaining weight. I mostly talked on the phone to people instead of face to face. While I was staying home more, I was still doing okay with social relationships.

I started spending a lot of time on a treadmill and trying all sorts of diet fads. Nothing I tried seemed to help. The most weight I would ever lose was 10 pounds. Not losing weight exacerbated my depression.

At the same time that I was trying to lose weight, I was having problems with relationships. After a few relationships turned abusive, I felt like I would never be happy in my personal life. My children gave me a lot of joy and I loved being a mom, but I wanted to feel happy for me. God was watching over me and brought my husband of 12 years into my life. I finally knew what happiness felt like.

In 2008, my husband and I brought a beautiful baby boy into the world. I put on more weight with him than in my previous pregnancies, partially due to high birth weight (8 lbs 6 ozs). I lost the weight after my other children so I thought I would again. Was I ever wrong!

I never weighed myself because I was afraid to. I saw the way I looked in store windows and felt so disgusted with myself. I continued to gain weight. It got to the point that strangers who didn’t even know me would stare at me and criticize me for how big I was. I started finding it hard to find clothing that fit me.

Anytime I went to a doctor or the emergency room, doctors would comment on my weight and other people would mock me. I thought, “Why am I so ugly? Why am I so fat?” These are all questions that would be swirling around in my head.

I also live in constant pain from scoliosis and degenerative disc disease. I was forced to quit working and most of my time is spent stuck indoors, only getting out to doctors appointments.

I’m not going to put all the blame on my health conditions and medications because I know my eating habits had a part in my weight gain. I never really sat and continuously ate but I know I didn’t eat properly.

Being overweight has really ruined any kind of social involvement I had. I lost friendships because nobody really wanted to be seen with me. My children have always supported me, but I felt like I embarrassed them in public because of my size. I started going out less with my children.

My family physician recently recommended that I attend a weight management clinic. At first I felt even more insecure when I learned I weighed 400 pounds, which is my heaviest weight ever. “Why am I so big? Why did I have to get more ugly outwardly? Will I ever have friends or a social life again?” These are the questions I ask myself every single day.

For the time being I’m trying to work on myself and my weight. Then I’ll worry about the chance of any friends or improving family relationships later. I’m not going to dwell on those things, but focus on me and what I need.

This article was written by MyObesityTeam member Amy as part of the Member Spotlight Series. Amy is married with three children and likes to listen to music and write poems.

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