Another study was released attempting to debunk the idea that healthy obesity exists. I had lab work done in March and was boasting about my good health status as my normal lab results and other doctor appointments indicate all my vital statistics are well within normal range. I consider myself to be healthy, the medical test results are proof. I admit I slacked with exercise during the winter, but even after months of absence, upon my return to the gym I found my stamina and ability unchanged. However, according to these recent studies my accomplishment in achieving and maintaining good health is still not good enough. That despite normal cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure, individuals affected by obesity are STILL at risk for future cardiac issues. Therefore the study recommends that doctors should emphasize healthy diet and exercise. *eyeroll* I do eat healthy and exercise, that is how I maintain my current “healthy” status. So a doctor lecturing me on diet and exercise will not help with my weight, which is due to Lipedema. Actually, the only “fault” most doctors find in my eating habits is that I drink diet soda. And the assumption is made that I might be consuming more calories by drinking diet soda, blah blah blah. Let’s be honest, 400lbs is not due to drinking diet soda. I do not understand the purpose of these studies to debunk the Healthy Obesity “myth”. Why not research the cause of the excess weight? It seems so unbelievable that people can be healthy while obese, then why attack the healthy status which are supported by medical tests, why not focus on the reason that despite having a healthy lifestyle some patients still have excess fat? Or why despite healthy diet and exercise, weight alone contributes to cardiac death? Or is the use of “cardiac event” just a scare tactic? I know many normal size, otherwise considered healthy people who died suddenly from a heart attack. Most coroners will tell you everyone dies of cardiac arrest, your hearts stops, you die. Patients affected by obesity already face weight bias in healthcare, and these studies seem like an extension of that bias into the research part of the medical world. There are known gaps in obesity research, perhaps it would be better to research the positive, the healthy so it can be replicated. Would I be better off if I weighed less? Of course I would. Is diet and exercise the answer for Lipedema? No, it’s not. We need more research of the cause of excess weight beyond the assumed poor lifestyle choices, and we need treatment options beyond those that control hunger or limit caloric consumption.
Physically, my arms and legs are heavy and extremely sensitive, the excess weight causes pressure and pain in my joints and tires me out very easily.
Mentally, I struggle with the reality of having a progressive condition to which little is know, and to which few effective treatment options exist and are not readily accessible or require insurance appeals to get covered.
Emotionally, I live in fear of when my next bought of cellulitis will occur. I am judged and stereotyped based on my appearance. I have been discriminated against in the workplace, and been denied proper medical treatment because of weight bias and stigma.
I often ask WHY ME?
A few months ago I made a pretty risky life decision, but one I felt was best for my overall health. I have returned to college and revived this blog and focus more on advocacy. Sharing my story publicly opens me up to comments and feedback, I have been warned the internet is can be a not so nice place. I know this…but I also know that awareness needed and I must continue speak up.
But WHY ME?
A college friend sent me this message a few day ago that answered that question:
“Though you’ve always had a voice, we are both great talkers. I believe you have truly and finally found YOUR voice. I think you’ve landed and are doing exactly what you should be doing. Perhaps you were given your conditions so that you can use your ability to talk-and unabashed ability to speak your mind so that those who aren’t as vocal (and I mean that in a great way) have someone on their side to encourage them to speak up when things go wrong.”