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How Being Overweight Has Affected My Life

GH has been an online writer for over six years, and she has shared part of her weight-loss journey,

I'm the one in pink!

I'm the one in pink!

What Is It Like to Be Overweight

We see the news reports and the pictures that go with them. 'America's staggering obesity statistics,' with a photo of someone's beer belly. Obesity is truly an epidemic. The numbers are staggering. We now have an outbreak of ten and twelve year old children at weights inappropriate for someone twice their ages.

Today's high fat and sugary convenience foods, coupled with sedentary lifestyles, are causing the US's sizes to go up and up with no end in sight. There are actually obesity clinics and rehabs now for people who are putting their health in danger because of their size.

But, what we don't often hear is the truth behind the weight. What does it really feel like to be overweight? To be obese?

If you've never been seriously overweight, you won't be able to relate to this, but keep reading anyway. Walk a few feet in my shoes. Maybe you'll think twice before you decide to insult someone else because of their weight.

Make no mistake, I am in no way writing this for pity or sympathy. The things I am describing in this article are results of my actions. It is my fault that I got to this point, and I am the only one who can undo it.

MId-2005, right around 400 pounds.

MId-2005, right around 400 pounds.

I Love You Like a Fat Kid Loves Cake

I was a preemie. I was born on June 3, but my due date was June 28, my daddy's birthday. I spent some time in an incubator, was baptized at about three days old because they didn't think I was going to make it. I weighed three pounds and fourteen ounces.

Somehow being that small translated into becoming a chubby, normal toddler. The problem is, I never lost my baby fat and, in fact, kept finding more of it. There's nothing wrong with me, physically, that makes me gain weight. My size is my fault - diet and lifestyle, and this started when I was young. I liked fatty, sugary foods, so my mother bought fatty, sugary foods. Pepsi, pepsi, pepsi. That's all I wanted to drink. I remember my maternal grandmother would only let me have one bottle of pop a day, and sometimes I had to share that with her. I figured she hated me.

I didn't like to play outside, especially once I learned to read. So I was eating bad food and sitting on my butt most of the time. For a while, this didn't really have much effect on my social life. Occasionally I did hang out with other kids. I'd ride my bike with the guys in the alley behind their house. I pretty much fit in, for the most part.

By the time I was nine, I was over a hundred pounds. At the end of fourth grade, I remember they took our heights and weights and put them on a sheet of paper that got posted to the wall. I was the heaviest kid in my class. I kept hoping that nobody would notice that fact, but of course they did. I remember a girl named Phyllis made fun of my legs because they were so big. She said they were bigger than her momma's.

Intermediate school came along, and I was the only eleven year old girl with boobs. Mine were a C cup by then, and I'd started my cycle just after my ninth birthday. I don't know if this was because of my weight, I do remember that I thought I was dying because I hadn't had that talk with my mother yet. Fifth grade was when I first realized that I couldn't run and jump like the other kids could. We had a yearly physical test where we had to do all sorts of exercises. We had to do at least one pull up on the monkey bars. I did one, but it took me forever to do it. I got laughed at so much for that that I wanted to crawl into the woodwork and die. I was eleven and finding out what shame really was.

By the time I got into high school, that yearly physical education test was a joke, we had to run the track. I always walked it, even then it took me forever to finish. The last time I had to do this test, I just gave up. I was fifteen and topping off at two hundred pounds.

Being fat affected every aspect of my life. Being an outcast isn't fun, especially when it's because of your own doing. All the other kids were wearing Jordache jeans, and I couldn't fit into them. Plus Size was barely an afterthought in the mid to late eighties. If I could find clothes that fit, they weren't 'cute,' but I did what I had to.

I won't talk about dating, it's just too damned painful to think about.

Because of a lot of this, my attitude became aloof. I didn't want people to engage me in conversation, and I only let a few people in. People thought I was shy. I didn't want to be shy, I had things to say, but I already had enough attention drawn to me.

At nineteen, I moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to room with a friend of mine from high school. It was a little different for me there, nobody knew me and I could be whoever I wanted to be. I found myself in my first romantic relationship with someone who was older than me and, to put it nicely, wasn't very smart. But he liked me, even if I was huge. I stayed in that relationship for about two years.

I remember taking a trip to New York City with my friend. It was hard for me because there was a lot of walking involved. I remember my feet being sore the whole time and, for a good bit of the trip, I was miserable. I remember sitting on a bench in a small park somewhere relatively close to Grand Central Station. A cute guy started staring at me, then, when he'd walked far enough to see all of me and not just my face, he averted his gaze. I was devastated.

The years passed, with each one bringing more pounds. I met a new guy, ended up pregnant and having a miscarriage. The doctors said it was a 'spontaneous natural abortion.' Though nobody could convince me that it wasn't because of my weight, I still didn't do anything about it.

A few years later, I met and married a guy and stayed with him until June of 1999. By this time, I was well over three hundred pounds and had a problem with high blood pressure and my asthma was getting worse. I was also showing signs of becoming diabetic. This was around the time that I first decided to diet, and got a prescription for the drug Meridia from my doctor. This medication caused my blood pressure to go up even higher, and was the last time I took a diet pill. I was also showing symptoms of what would later be diagnosed as bi-polar disorder, but that diagnosis would take another seven years.

This photo is from 2006, fairly early in the year.

This photo is from 2006, fairly early in the year.


In 2006, the bottom dropped out of my world. I had been in a four year relationship with a man who broke up with me by e-mail, his main reason being that he didn't find me attractive anymore. I knew I had gained weight when we were together, but I didn't think it was that large of an amount. I was, though, so large at this time, that I had to special order all of my clothes. I couldn't even buy shirts at Walmart. Though they went up to size 26/28, sometimes 30/32, they didn't fit. I was ordering all of my clothes from Lane Bryant online and spending a fortune for them.

I remember going to see Brokeback Mountain with a friend. Movie theater seats (and restaurant booths, bus seats and mostly every other contraption for putting your behind in) are not make for fat people. I was used to being scrunched up and uncomfortable throughout the movie, but I refused to simply not go. But Brokeback Mountain did something to me. I would normally have one empty seat on at least one side of me so that I could lean that way and be more comfortable. By this time, I'd needed a seat on either side.

For this movie, the theater was at capacity, pretty much except for the two seats on either side of me. Some women came and wanted my friend and I to sit closer together so that they could sit side by side. My friend actually said 'She can't sit beside anyone.' And we all knew why. So I can understand why airlines want to charge the very overweight for two seats. It's not fair to pay for one seat and sit in yours and half of another.

Regardless, now I had a broken heart and shattered self-esteem. Though suicidal thoughts had come and gone for most of my life, they were especially prevalent during this time. I was fat. Disgusting. No one would want me. No one could love me. I was worthless. Those thoughts got worse when I visited a doctor and found out that I weighed 397 pounds. At 5'3", the ideal weight for my height is between 121 and 135 pounds for a person of medium build. My Body Mass Index (BMI) was about 70. A normal score for my height is 25.

Something had to be done.

It was around this time that my doctor started giving me literature about gastric bypass surgery. He said my health was good enough for me to be a prime candidate for the procedure (this was before the gastric band was common). I took the pamphlets home and read them over and over. This could be my answer. I could lose the weight quickly and with minimal effort. I started looking for information about the surgery and its survivors online and started to get psyched. My insurance from work would pay for the surgery, and I had enough vacation time accrued so that I'd be able to stay home and recover. It was looking better and better.

The day before my follow-up visit with my doctor where I was to tell him my decision regarding surgery, I re-read the original literature. I paid particular attention to the side effects information contained there. I realized that the number one adverse side effect of the surgery was death. Death. So I had to weigh the pros and cons. Could I die from complications of the surgery? Yes. Would I die if I did not have the surgery? Probably. Eventually. Sooner than I should. But I still had time. When I went to that appointment, I told the doctor 'no thanks.' I'd do it on my own.

What happened then was something I should have done to start with. I didn't diet. I ate a lot. I just changed what I was eating. Baby carrots instead of chips. Granola bars instead of cookies. I stopped eating McDonald's for lunch, and starting packing food to bring to work. I did not deny msyelf anything, though. If I wanted the chocolate cake, I ate the chocolate cake. A friend challenged me to lose a hundred pounds in a year. If I did, he would completely pay for me to take a trip to Jamaica, a place I have always wanted to go.

That's when I went into overdrive and started buying workout DVDs and exercise equipment. I had a medicine ball, barbells... even a beginning belly dancing video. And I used all of them. Daily.

This was a really empowering time in my life. My personality started to change. Over the years, I had become the funny fat chick, and people depended on that a lot. But my humor at this point became more positive. I also started wholeheartedly taking the wind out of people's sails when it came to my weight. I was armed with an arsenal of fat jokes, and I wasn't afraid to use them. This throws some people off, they think it is a product of low self-esteem, but it's really quite the opposite. If I am the first person to draw attention to and make fun of my weight, then your words lose their power. I owned it, and I still do.

And the weight started coming off. I was doing well, people were noticing my weight loss (though, when you're that heavy, you really have to lose a lot for people to be able to see it, we're talking at least fifty pounds here).

And then I managed to get myself into an abusive relationship, and then another. And the weight loss wasn't so important anymore. Just keeping myself alive was paramount.

I ended up moving to Florida, then later to Texas. In November of 2010, I had to see a doctor who would determine my eligibility for disability (for physical and psychological reasons). I weighed 316 pounds that day, and that was after having gained back some of the weight I'd lost in 2006/2007. That was the last time I got on a scale.

2005 to 2012 - 150 pounds gone.

2005 to 2012 - 150 pounds gone.

The Beginning of the Rest of My Life

I still have problems. I think I'm around about 275 pounds now, maybe a little less. Numbers don't much concern me anymore. I physically feel better than I have in a long time, and am looking forward to the time when my weight loss journey is at an end. If I feel this good now, how much better will I feel then?

I am a lot more active now than ever before. I moved to New York in 2011, and actually had to go up and down the stairs in the house all day long. That did wonders for my behind, right there. Now we live in the country, and there is a big, wide world out there and I've been out in it more than I ever imagined that I could. When I lived in Texas in 2010, I couldn't walk around the block without stopping twice to rest. In October of 2011, I went trick or treating with my roommate and her kids and was on my feet for two hours. And I felt good about it when we got home. Hell, I just climbed a small mountain a couple of weeks ago.

I still binge eat occasionally. And I am struggling to understand the reasons why. I plan to get back in to therapy to figure this one out. Thankfully, out of necessity for the most part, my binges are few and far between. I buy a lot of the food that I eat online, and I've had to force myself not to buy those things that are very bad for me. Or to at least not buy so many of them. I also try to eat at least three times a day. When the weight came off quickly in 2006, I was eating healthy foods three to five times a day, and I know I need to get back to that. I will, eventually. Right now, though, whatever I'm subconsciously doing is working.

For my birthday last week, my roommates gave me a T-shirt with the character Michonne from The Walking Dead on the front. They apologized that the shirt was only a size XL. Because it was a limited edition, it was the only size they could get. I thanked them for the gift, and I was grateful, don't get me wrong. They thought enough about me to buy me something very special.

I took it to my room and eyeballed it. Three or four years ago, I was literally buying size 6X in shirts. Last summer, I was buying 3X or 4X. I figured 'nothing ventured, nothing gained,' and decided to try on the Michonne shirt. Though it was a little tight in the sleeves and maybe not as long as I'd have liked it to be, it fit. I can wear an XL. For the life of me, I can't remember the last time I could.

My jeans are all size 26/28, and they are ridiculously large. I refuse to buy more until I absolutely have to. I just bought a size 4X tank top from eBay a couple of months ago and had to shorten the straps because it was just too damned big. The smaller me is having a hard time understanding that it doesn't need that extra X, or three or four of them.

I'm getting there. I know I have a lot of work to do, and I am smart enough to know that it will take time. But it's getting done. Come hell or high water, I will be healthy.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Randy Miller from 3150 17 Mile Dr, Pebble Beach, CA 93953, USA on July 23, 2019:

Love that story! Hope I can have my own story one day

Deborah Demander from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on January 24, 2015:

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I have struggled with my weight and more importantly, with my self image and self esteem for my entire life. But I have never endured what you have. I am so blessed and touched by your story.

Life is hard enough, and challenging enough, without the haters making it harder.

I wish you the best, and continued success on your journey.


Silva Hayes from Spicewood, Texas on August 14, 2013:

Had to come back and re-visit. I'm struggling with fat around the middle that I must deal with. Keep going, girl. I'm proud of you.

Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on August 13, 2013:

Kudos to you for your amazing success story and for sharing it online. Voted up!

Diana L Pierce from Potter County, Pa. on April 29, 2013:

I am very proud of you. I have fought a weight problem myself over the years and a low self esteem which wasn't entirely the blame of the fat jokes I was subject to, but surely it had something to do with it. I'm sure many people can relate to this hub you have poured your heart and soul into. I wish you success in continuing your venture. Good job.

LongTimeMother from Australia on April 26, 2013:

Hey Georgie,

Wow, what a brilliant hub. So nice of you to give us a glimpse into your world.

I agree that you're the one who is making the positive difference, but I don't think you should be shouldering all the blame for your size. I notice you said: " I liked fatty, sugary foods, so my mother bought fatty, sugary foods. Pepsi, pepsi, pepsi. That's all I wanted to drink."

The size you were at the age of nine was not your fault. You weren't buying the groceries and deciding where the family's money was spent. I don't know your mother's circumstances, but I wish she'd seen the mistake she was making and helped you get on track a long, long time ago. I'm not surprised you found it near-impossible to change when you were younger.

That's the past ... now you're planning your future. Congratulations for having the strength and intelligence to see what you need to do. You go girl!!!

Voted awesome. Coz it is.

Catherine Taylor from Canada on April 21, 2013:

This was such an inspirational hub. I am impressed with your honesty and candour, it takes a lot of guts to tell it like it is. I too have struggled with weight all of my life and know how horrible it feels to look around the room and realize you are the heaviest one there. Good luck on your journey to health.

Silva Hayes from Spicewood, Texas on January 14, 2013:

I love this hub. Thank you for telling your story. Keep going, girl!

Donna Hilbrandt from Upstate New York on August 31, 2012:

Wow, you have been through quite a journey. It is amazing what we can survive in this life. I have just turned a corner I think, and I have begun my own weight loss journey towards a healthier me. Thanks for your inspiring story.

P. Thorpe Christiansen from Pacific Northwest, USA on July 22, 2012:

Well done Georgie. Congratulations on your success and I know it will continue.

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on July 09, 2012:

dwachira and Anil and Honey,

Thank you very much, I appreciate it! :)

Anil from Kerala on July 09, 2012:

Yes, you are in right way.congratulations

Danson Wachira from Nairobi, Kenya on July 09, 2012:

You are brave and i admire your courage. Voted up

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on June 30, 2012:

Thanks Trish, I really appreciate it! :)

unique-dragonfly on June 30, 2012:

Love you Georgie! I know weight loss is an uphill battle, I have been up and down that hill all to often, you are strong willed and I know you can do it!

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on June 24, 2012:


I know you know what it's like, and you've had to deal with a lot of other things that I haven't. We will get through it!

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on June 24, 2012:


You are seriously awesome too, and I less than three you! :D

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on June 24, 2012:


It hasn't been the easiest thing in the world to do, but I feel good about myself for doing it. I will look into the McDougall program, thank you for the heads up!

bluberrypossum from South Carolina on June 21, 2012:

Girl, you made me tear up! People don't realize that overweight people are also strong people. We may be weak in some areas but ultimately we have to be strong to keep on living and trying to do what we have to do. I feel your pain. I've been VERY overweight all my life too and faced some of the same struggles.

*hugs* I know it took a lot of courage to put yourself out there like that!

Jamie Sykes from Lewisville, North Carolina on June 11, 2012:

I just wanted to stop by again and tell you how awesome you are again and how much I less than three you! (Since they won't let me use the less than sign!)

carozy from San Francisco on June 11, 2012:

I'm touched by your honesty and strength here, like saying no to surgery because you knew it could be very dangerous. Changing your food choices has a large impact on health and weight, as you have seen. I recommend Dr. John McDougall's program, which is free online and very healthy. He reverses heart disease and diabetes in patients all the time and many of his patients/program followers lose weight easily, eating as much as they want of healthy food. Wherever your path in life leads you, I wish you a healthy and happy one. :)

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on June 10, 2012:

Thank you, Lynne. I really appreciate it! :)

Patriette from Las Vegas, NV on June 10, 2012:

A wonderful and inspiring story! Here's to a long and healthy life.... Cheers!


Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on June 10, 2012:


I struggled with how to handle this, and decided that the best way would be full on honesty. I did leave a lot out, but thought the story wouldn't be right without the truth.

And thanks, it was a great birthday. :)

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on June 10, 2012:


Thank you, from the bottom of my little heart! :D

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 10, 2012:

Did I mention earlier that I am proud of you, Georgie? Well, I am...damn proud of you. I know all about addictions and fighting the inner fight. I have tremendous faith in you and I'm pulling for you from afar!

pmorries from Golden, CO on June 10, 2012:

Wow! You really hold nothing back in your writing, and you write so well. I am so damn jealous. In closing, happy belated birthday.

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on June 10, 2012:

Thank you, Ask Ashley. It's a struggle, but well worth it. :)

Ask Ashley from California on June 10, 2012:

Wow! What an inspiring story to never give up. Thank you for sharing. I'm sure you'll reach your goal. :)

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on June 09, 2012:

shea duane,

I'm a hero! YAY! Thank you for praying for me, I know I will need all the help I can get!

Thank you for your comment and encouragement. :D

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on June 09, 2012:


It feels weird having someone be proud of me, classic underachiever that I am. I think a part of me will always think that I'm still 400 pounds. Putting that shirt on did do something to me, though. And I feel great about it! :)

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on June 09, 2012:


Most of my family is heavy, or was for the most part too. It's hard to be 'good' when everyone around you is chowing down on fried chicken and gravy!

I plan to keep on keeping on!

Thank you very much for the comment! :)

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on June 09, 2012:


This Hub is all your fault, and I have to thank you for the title. It was like free therapy!

ps. You're awesome, too! :D

Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on June 09, 2012:


Thank you for your kind words, I plan on hanging around as long as possible. You are right in your advice, you have to love yourself enough to want it. That was the hard part for me.

Thanks again! :)

shea duane from new jersey on June 09, 2012:

You are my hero! Really, I'm so touched and proud of you. I'm fighting tears right now. God Bless you and I'm going to pray for your continued success!

Julie Fletcher on June 09, 2012:

You know, I've been telling you for months that you are getting you clothes too big. You didn't believe me. Part of the reason I insisted on going ahead with the shirt was that I knew, KNEW you would be in it before the end of the year if it was too tight right now. You have no idea how very proud of you I am. You didn't think you could do the things that I knew you could. You're much stronger than you give yourself credit for and I adore you. :-)

CJ Baker from Parts Unknown on June 09, 2012:

Thanks for your honesty in acknowledging your struggles. I come from a family of overweight people, and it is something that I have struggled with off and on. But keep up the fight, I know you can do it!

Jamie Sykes from Lewisville, North Carolina on June 09, 2012:

You are awesome. Love, love, love!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 09, 2012:

You are doing well my friend. This hub is a declaration of character and strength and I admire you greatly for writing it. I have no words of wisdom other than to love yourself enough to continue. I want you around for a great many years so I can enjoy your writing.

your friend,