People who have reclaimed their health by losing large amounts of weight often have stories to share, sometimes about the turning points in their lives. The first one, courtesy of Reddit.com, comes from a 23-year-old former obese child who lost 180 pounds in a year and a half. In fifth grade, he was wearing size XL shirts designed for an adult male, and by the age of 13 he weighed about 350 pounds. As with most obesity struggles, there were ups and downs; he graduated from high school weighing somewhere around 300 and was “totally disgusted” with his senior class photo.
Then he discovered video games, devolved into an even more sedentary lifestyle, and gained back quite a lot of weight. He would stuff down 2500-calorie meals without thinking twice about it, and the concept of portion control had never entered his mind. He describes when his life changed:
December 2010, my roommate convinced me to come to the gym with him. I went to the locker room, weighed myself, and saw 372. I consider this my starting weight. I was completely disgusted. I tried jogging and ended up bursting blood vessels in my left eye. This was a wake up call; I couldn’t even slowly run in circles on a track without hurting myself. I decided that this had gotten way out of control and I needed to fix it.
A 5’5″ woman discovered as a college student that her weight had reached 205 pounds, and went for a physical exam. Her blood pressure was up, and the number of people in her family with Type 2 diabetes became a worrying factor. But she describes the real breaking point as the realization that she could neither fit into her job interview suit, nor afford to buy a new one. She quit sugar and dairy products and followed a Paleo diet, bringing her dress size down to 10 and sometimes even 8.
Another Reddit user headlines her story “Over-eating is an addiction, so why don’t we treat it that way?” (For Dr. Pretlow’s take on that, please see “Addiction to Highly Pleasurable Food as a Cause of the Childhood Obesity Epidemic.”) That young lady’s wake-up call was not so drastic, and was delivered by
…a wonderful mother who sat me down one day and let me know that my weight and eating habits were getting out of hand…. I’m eternally grateful my mother reached out to me in a kind and gentle way and helped me see the light.
A success story with a romantic element was submitted to Reddit by a 23-year-old male who now weighs 150 pounds. At age 13, he was 9 inches shorter than today but weighed in at 180, and he claims to have enjoyed being fat at that age. He certainly contributed to it by consuming two liters of soda and an entire cake every day.
By age 14, he was up to 195 pounds, thanks to the addition of at least 10 cheese slices every day. And then at 15, he met a girl from a physically active family, who roped him into hiking and rowing. He says he complained and even cried, and felt like he would go out of his mind from not having his favorite comfort foods. But this family was made up of “the nicest bunch of people ever,” including the girl herself who “never fat shamed, never insulted, just stayed my friend.”
This illustrates again the monumental importance of accepting people as they are. If we do that, the person may or may not change. But if we don’t accept, they will be literally unable to change. This is a psychological reality that cannot be circumvented. But to accept a flawed human being, “warts and all” as the saying goes, is not at all the same as buying into Fat Acceptance.
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “Hey Reddit. It’s cakeday, so I figured I’d share my story. I’ve lost 180 pounds (as of today) in the last 1.5 years,” Reddit.com, 2013
Source: “My Internal Battle Against the FA Movement,” reddit.com, 03/02/14
Source: “Over-eating is an addiction, so why don’t we treat it that way?” Reddit.com, 2013
Source: “Hamtaro: The Story of Me,” reddit.com, 2013
Image by wsilver