This blog topic is LONG overdue, and actually I have so much to say on the topic I feel the need to make it a series of posts. A couple months ago I wrote about the fat shaming I’ve experienced from strangers, however even more troubling is the weight bias I have experienced within the weight loss surgery community. Let me reiterate I’m not calling any person biased, I’m labeling the actions and comments as biased. I know intentions are often to “help others” but as the person on the receiving end of the comments and actions, I feel it’s my duty to let you know they hurt far more often than help.
The picture of SUCCESS!
Last month I attended the ObesityHelp #OH2013 Conference in Anaheim, CA, I was a member of the event staff and as so I posted this picture to the ObesityHelp Facebook wall in order to promote the evening’s event. Under the picture I posted “Sarahlicious is warming up the Red Carpet! Are you ready to celebrate your success?” The theme of that evening’s party was “Celebrate Your Success”, I never actually called myself a success, I asked if others were ready to celebrate THEIR SUCCESS. A fellow WLS (weight loss surgery) patient commented on my picture with “success????????????????????????”.
This picture represents MY SUCCESS in several ways. “What? How? You’re still fat????”
- I am a success because I am alive after surviving a deep vein thrombosis, mini-stroke, and patent foraman ovale (hole in my heart).
- I am a success because I have maintained 100lbs weight loss for 10 years, was it more, sure…did I regain, yes! But 100lbs loss is still a success in my book!
- I am a success because I have completed two bachelor degrees and I’m pursing my Masters in Health Law.
- I am a success because I no longer have sleep apnea or high blood pressure, all other health vital are and have been normal.
- I am a success because I love myself, and others love me for who I am.
- I am a success because I share my story to advocate for and help others.
- I am a success because I stand up against weight stigma and bias.
- I am a success because I am winning the battle against disfiguring lymphedema and lipedema.
Success is a personal accomplishment, and since pictures are more powerful than words…
However, I should not have to list my accomplishments or pull out my phone to show others pictures to PROVE I am a success. As a community we need to stop judging ourselves and others based on the scale. We need to stop judging, PERIOD.