Fat people are told many things. In fact, a lot of people seem to think that it is open season to say whatever they want to fat people, no matter how insensitive or cruel. I used to think I could do anything in spite of my weight however, recent events have shown me that it does not matter how well I do a job and the skills I bring, I can still be discriminated against because of my weight.
My childhood, as an overweight child, was hell. I was teased at school. It didn’t help that the beginning of my former last name rhymed with ‘piggy.’ I might have been able to cope ok with the school bullying if I had support at home. Not only did I not have support, I was punished for my weight. At age 8, my mother put me on Weight Watchers. I gained weight. I was accused of cheating on the diet but I didn’t. This kind of thing would become a pattern in my life.
As soon as I hit puberty, I began to gain weight. It didn’t seem to matter what hell my parents put me though. They made me backpack for weeks at a time and cut back the amount of food they would let me have. When I was 13 years old my step-father weighed me every morning and if I had not lost weight, I would be beaten before I went to school.
I think what was worse though was the things my mother would say to me:
- By the time you are 22 you will be married to a man who beats you and you will have 2 snotty-nosed children.
- Or she would tell me that no one would ever marry me.
- You are only a lesbian because you are fat.
- When you hit puberty, you became a glutton and we had to lock up the chocolate chips.
- You were a really cute kid until you hit about 12.
- When I applied for a job and came very close to getting it but didn’t she asked if I would have contact with the public and implied that I did not get the job for that reason.
I could go on but I think you get the idea. She would say all of these things in spite of the fact that she was also overweight. I remember one day when she made me take off all my clothes and stand in front of a mirror for an hour and look at how disgusting I looked. She instilled a real hatred of my body.
I have fought my entire life to not be what my mother says I am. I even went so far as to have my stomach stapled. I really thought this would be the magic cure. However, it didn’t work. I could never understand how I could eat so little and not lose weight.
Around 2000 I was having problems with my periods. Well, problems would be an understatement. I had been bleeding for over 90 days when I finally went to the doctor. After a case of phlebitis and a D & C, I was diagnosed with PCOS. The underlying cause of PCOS is insulin resistance. I was put on medication to help my body use insulin better. Initially, I lost some weight over the course of a year or so. After that, it was back to my regular pattern of gaining weight for no apparent reason.
Fast-forward to 2005 when I developed ulcerative colitis. Part of the problem with diagnosis was the fact that I was obese. You don’t see many fat people walking around with ulcerative colitis. So now I was in a position of having a disease where absorption of food and nutrients is a problem.
Finally, in frustration, I went to my doctor and asked that she try to figure out what is wrong. She did a whole bunch of tests. What we found was that my cholesterol and lipids were great. Clearly, she told me, was that I ate healthily. What was completely out of whack was my fasting insulin rate. The normal level is about 60 and mine was 116. My fasting insulin level was the amount ill that high in spite of the medication I have been on for 10 years. A high insulin rate causes the body to turn sugar into fat.
Thankfully she started me on a new drug that is supposed to reduce the amount of insulin in my body. On Victoza I have lost 17 pounds in a month. My only hope is that it continues. Usually what happens with my body is something will work for a while and then it stops.
To say that I am angry and bitter is an understatement. I basically am the size I am due to nothing I could control. I have listened to all this crap and put through hell for a lot of my life because my body’s cells are not sensitive to insulin. Plus the more weight you gain, the worse the problem becomes.
Here is the problem in society. People think that if you are fat you are somehow at fault. They think that it is totally acceptable to pass judgment on you and what you eat. No one ever stops to think that it could be a medical issue. The abuse that has been hurled at me by my family and others in a recent situation has really dragged me down lately. When I saw the #thingsfatpeoplearetold on twitter I could immediately relate to the pain people were expressing.