I entered the HealthCentral #LiveBold anti-stigma photo contest.
(voting is open until August 8th! Click on the link and VOTE for me, vote daily!)
I share my story of how I #LiveBold with Lipedema and Lymphedema and overcome weight stigma.
The story behind this photo fits well into the anti-stigma theme, because I experienced weight stigma just before it was taken. The photo was taken during a trip to the gym to get pictures of me doing various water exercises for my FitBloggin’ Ignite Fitness presentation. As soon as I stepped into the pool this woman motioned to me and began talking to me in Spanish, I thought perhaps she recognized me from water aerobics class but when she realized I did not speak Spanish she quickly switched to English and her intentions were made clear.
“My daughter is as big as you are and she goes to this clinic and has lost fifty pounds. They don’t make her workout, they just speed up her heart to help her lose weight.”Well that sounds safe… Why the hell would you tell someone EXERCISING AT THE GYM about a clinic where they don’t make you exercise? Wait…why the HELL would you approach a stranger about their weight…at the gym no less?
I’m not sure why I try to be nice in response to people who are so rude to me, but I tried to explain that I have Lipedema and Lymphedema and that I have a great medical team that monitors my overall health. No, she still continued. I explained that I no longer live in the area, that I was just visiting so going to a local clinic was not even an option for me. No, she still kept talking about it….I finally just walked away and continued my exercises and photo shoot.
She caught me again at the other end of the pool, she obviously noticed I was annoyed by the conversation so she attempted to suck up.
“You’re very beautiful and have a nice shape.”
Seriously? Yes, I know.
I know that I am fat AND that I am beautiful. I don’t need to be informed of either by a stranger.
I said “thank you”, but that’s not a compliment when it comes AFTER fat shaming. Her initial reaction to seeing me was to approach me about my weight, only after she saw that I was pissed off did she compliment me.
Back to the picture, my boyfriend said he wanted to get a creative picture half in and half out of the water. Upon reviewing the pictures I gave a sarcastic “thanks babe”. I joked about how “objects under the water may appear larger than actual size”, and I soon realized how very powerful the photo was and how it really captured the moment and my story. There is more to me and my story than what appears on the surface. The people who take the time to see past my surface appearance get the benefit of knowing me and my story, and in exchange I get to know them and their story.
We all have a story.
How do you #LiveBold? Share YOUR story of how you #LiveBold despite a health condition.