Childhood Obesity — a How and Why Story

Dramatic Fat Guy Splash

If there is a category of childhood obesity survivor superstars, the personality known as “boogie2988” (YouTube) and “uberwolf0” (Reddit) surely belongs in it. His YouTube channel contains hundreds of short videos — character sketches, talks about electronic gaming, and many other interesting tidbits — including reminiscences from the life of someone who has always been obese, complete with language that is not safe for work or for children. (Nevertheless, he tells both fat advocates and fat opponents that he loves them.)

Boogie2988’s “Draw My Life” video scored more than 4 million views and elicited 91,000 comments.

It might seem that, in order to be a childhood obesity survivor superstar, a person should at least have attained normal weight. But hearing some people’s stories, you realize what a major victory they have won by just staying alive this long. Ever since he remembers, boogie2988 says, his appetite was insatiable. As a small child he would fuss and cry and steal food and engage in gross habits like eating sticks of butter. His mother resisted for a couple of years and then did not just give up, but started to actively go the other way:

She made sure that all of the wrong foods were within arms reach and actively encouraged me to indulge. Our nightly meals were always lasagna, pasta, steak, fried pork, fried steak, fried, fried, fried, fried… always with desert. Seconds and thirds. I ate to my hearts content as a 6… 8… 10 year old child. Food became both the tool of abuse and the tool of relief. It ruled me. It defined my life.

Happy occasions were celebrated with food. Arriving home from school in tears from being bullied, he would be taken out for pizza and ice cream as consolation. Even parental corporal punishment would be followed by a food treat to “make it up” to him. But as he grew, messages from the real world continued to impinge on this overfed heaven. The day came when the youth realized he could not fit into the seat at a movie theater. The day came when he realized that no clothing stores carried his sizes. Even walking, the simplest exercise of all, became a problem. How did boogie2988 react?

I medicated these feelings with food until I could… just learn to accept it. I have gone to the store to get a food I didn’t really want and ate it while crying. I’ve eaten huge meals while not even thinking about it, but thinking about what I was going to eat next.

Of course, comorbidities entered the picture — type 2 diabetes, arthritis, heart problems, lymphadema, chronic pain, anxiety, depression. The depression was worsened by his mother’s confession, on his 25th birthday, that she had fattened him up on purpose in hopes that he would be too unattractive to ever meet a woman and leave home. By age 30 he was too disabled to hold down a “real job.”

This is perhaps the saddest quote of all: “What resulted in my paradigm shift? I buried my mother.” That was the moment of change, and then: “Fortunately for me I also met my wife… the support and strength I needed to make the changes I finally wanted to make. God bless her for saving me.”

Today

At the present time, boogie2988 follows a ketogenic diet and works on himself “from the inside out.” He sees three professionals every three months — a general practitioner, a nutritionist, and a therapist. They get lots of credit for positive reinforcement that helps immensely, with plenty more love coming from his wife, friends, and numerous fans, who are “the holds that I can grab to climb this thing.” In his world, attitude is all-important, especially a fighting attitude against depression.

Recently, this optimistic but realistic fighter lost more than 80 pounds, then gained some back, and is now holding steady, having accomplished a 10% body weight reduction over a year. But the struggle is far from over. He confesses:

I’m afraid that I can’t stop eating it. I’m afraid I’ll never beat this disorder. I’m afraid if I get surgery I’ll split my stomach open. I’m afraid if I learn to control my eating I’ll be miserable because of it. In short, my biggest fear is that food is stronger than me.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Draw My Life,” YouTube.com
Source: “Fat People Stories,” Reddit.com
Image by boogie2988

Comments

  1. I’m going to have to check this out… I’m glad he’s seeing a therapist. For many of us, food = emotion. No two ways about it. If I have a bad day or find myself in a bad place, I am much more likely to eat poorly.

    I’m really glad this guy is able to reach so many others. I hope he’s able to continue to spread a positive message—knowledge is key!

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