Personal Experiences

Here is a chance for you to tell your story. Many people can feel isolated with their weight problems. Voice your experiences, highs & lows and hopefully some successes.

There are many tales to be told – from compulsive overeating, through lack of confidence, health, diets to surgery. We promise to read all your submissions and will contact you before we use them. You can remain anonymous or just give your first name and age.

If you are willing to share your experiences you might well help motivate others email info@bigmatters.co.uk, be it to get them positive about losing weight or go and seek help.

Our Thanks to all of you who have contributed. We would love to hear more from you all as we will be launching our blog soon and would love to share your stories.

Katie
Hey my names Katie, 19 yrs of age, live in London, I’m a nursery nurse, happy, bubbly, enjoys everything the usual 19 yr old does, clubbing, pubbing, chilling with friends, always smiling and happy....... OK now for the real introduction... Katie, 19, live in London, nursery nurse, overweight, scared, embarrassed, nervous, and unhappy!! The second introduction describes how I am feeling today and how I have been feeling since I was about 13! I am not a normal teenager in London... I am a fat teenager which makes me 1) an outcast and 2) someone for people to taunt and embarrass so they can have a laugh!! I knew I was different since I started secondary school in 1997, I had bigger legs than the other girls, I had to wear trousers instead of skirts because they "didn’t look right on me", my mum always made a point of saying that so she didn’t hurt my feelings, but when your mum is a diet obsessed person herself... you know what she is really trying to say! I realised just how different I was on my second day of school.... I got beaten to a pulp....for being FAT!!!!!!!!! Ever since that day, I have been the person I introduced to you!! I remember walking into assembly and people looked at me funny, I didn’t realise at the time it was because I was considered fat!! Ok moving on to experiences.... I got my first boyfriend when I was 13, Halloween disco at school and it was like all my Christmas’s had come at once... I met James, he was gorgeous, funny, and he was everybody’s best mate.... didn’t realise he went out with me for 6 months because he was my brothers mate! When he called me to dump me, he said he did really like me but his friends kept taking the mick because I was different! Different???? I asked him.... "Well you’re not the smallest person ever are you?".... I cried nonstop for a week! He dumped me because I was fat, his friends (who I also considered friends) had been talking behind my back, and my brother was in on it too, he always used to call me fat, but I thought he was just being the usual nasty older brother, didn’t realise he actually had some input to making my life a living hell!! It was downhill from there.... I put on more weight which of course made me bigger in appearance and made me a bigger subject to talk about!! I used to walk through the school playground and here FAT FAT FAT FAT, I’d get the odd punch in the face and get pushed over once in a while, this became a normal school day.... walk in.... get called fat... get called fat again.... BANG, get smacked in the face!!! This went on for about a year, I stopped eating and made myself ill.. When that was over, I started making myself sick after everything I ate, this lost my dignity and friends!!! My granddad then passed away, which was of course a depressing time, so what did I do? Went to the shop and brought anything I thought would make things seem a little sweeter for a while!! Things didn’t change at school, but the pain from my dear granddad dying eased, so things seemed to be on the up already!!! BUT THEN... just before I turned 15 I had some bad news... my brother had been having an affair with my mum’s best friend. At that point in my life things were bad enough without basically half my family being ripped from me! My brother moved out and hasn’t spoken to us since... I see him all the time and he puts his head down! When everything first happened with him, people used to come up to me and say "oh your so and so's sister", and punch me in the face, or abuse me in the street because my brother was a B*****D and I was related to him, of course, the word FAT was always used! This made things ten times worse... so what happens??? ON GOES THE WEIGHT!!!!!
Fast forward to today!!!
I am currently working in a nursery, and well on my way to getting a qualification! I am still overweight and embarrassed about it, when I go out, I walk with my head down and when it comes to blokes, and I have absolutely ZERO self-confidence! I am currently a size 24, I can’t go shopping without having to go to certain shops and having to go to and try everything on first. Then when I do find something I really like and I’m pleased with it, someone always has to say something to make u feel like rubbish again!! Also, I have just been diagnosed with having polycystic ovaries... symptoms? Weight gain and excess facial hair... something else to add to my embarrassment!! I have to control it to stop myself growing sideburns!!!!! So feeling like a freak isn't the best feel good feeling!!
Ok that’s a little bit about me!! The point of me telling you all this u ask yourselves.... I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL!!! I understand what it’s like to be big in a "you have to be small to be attractive or even worth knowing" society!
The only thing I can say my weight has done for me is bring misery, but it has made me appreciate my friends like you wouldn’t believe!! Basically... they are the people that will be there and be with you no matter what you look like, I am going to end it there, but to everyone that reads this..... YOU ARE NOT ALONE AND REMEMBER FOR EVERY PERSON OUT THERE THAT ABUSES YOU, TAUNTS YOU OR JUST STRAIGHT UP DOESNT LIKE YOU BECAUSE OF THE WAY YOU LOOK.... THERE IS ANOTHER PERSON THAT IS FEELING THE EXACT SAME AS YOU!!!!


Bonnie
I’m 34 years old. As long as I can remember I have had bad luck, but it took a turn for the worst in 2004. In January 2004 I noticed I was putting on weight. I had always been a very natural slim size 10 and around 9 and a half stone. I was in a wonderful relationship, and going to the gym daily, with a great high powered job. So I started to push myself at the gym even more, I was attending the gym every day for an hour then going off to work for 9am, but I was still putting on weight and in the strangest places. My trunk was expanding, I was becoming very spotty, and very tired. I went to the doctors, who told me it was my hormones slowing down, the sort of thing that happens to someone of my age! He put me on diet pills. I still gained weight. By August 2004 I had gained over six stone in seven months, and frequently visiting the doctor, who kept telling me that I was eating all the wrong food and it was my hormones, eventually I convinced him to refer me, which he did, to a gynaecologist! The gynaecologist took one look at me and referred me to an endocrinologist. When I finally got to see the endocrinologist in November 2004 I was a dress size 22.I was then diagnosed with Cushing’s disease caused by a pituatry tumour. The tumour was removed in January 2005. But unfortunately by then I had developed a large trunk, Buffalo hump and a very large moon face, all classic symptoms of Cushing’s disease.
Since the removal of my tumour my Cushing’s disease has gone, and I have managed to lose a lot of weight, now back to 10 and a half stone, dress size 12, but I’m struggling in getting rid of my moon face, and it does nothing for myself esteem. I lost several teeth due to the tumour, and recently lost my hair due to a hair dressers over processing it........It’s all very soul destroying, and I have lost a sense of who I am as I do not recognise myself any more, If only I could see my face again as it was.....I would like to have smart lipo or a face/neck lift, I would like to have some teeth again, I would also like to get rid of all the saggy skin I have from the weight loss. I’m happy to participate in live TV shows that can help me with any of the above.


Ellen
My name is Ellen and I am married to David and we have two children Jamie who is 13 and Jessica who is 10 and obese. Jessica has behaviour problems since she was five and the weight has been piling on since then We have been looking for solid help for jess for years and have had tests and seen so many people for her weight but nothing solid has been given. The behaviour didn’t help when you are trying to get a child to lose weight. Treats for good behaviour were the norm, well it worked sometimes!
I started looking on the web sites for help, when I came across Big Matters, a site that talks sense. After a while I had an email telling me families wanted for new show, how exciting I wanted to know more so I rang the number. To my surprise free help for my daughter and stardom for me at last!!!. Sam Brick Entertainment they were called. They were fab, they came and interviewed our family.
They filmed us that day to take back and decide whether we were suitable. To my surprise we were chosen I was excited. My daughter by that time was nine and around 10 stone which I knew was far too much weight. Professor Paul Gately was helping with the programme with expert help which was for free.
I had heard of Paul through looking at the Carnegie weight management camp he runs over summer. I could never afford to send jess there even for one week. When I knew he was involved I felt honoured. The filming to be honest went on for quite a while and it did interrupt our routine somewhat but Jessica enjoyed all the attention she was getting.
We had to go to Leeds University to their lab. It was made up special, a little secret Sssh.
Paul measured and we had several interviews, that through light into a large dark tunnel in our lives. It was hard hearing the facts that you try hard to ignore. We all went home and for the next weeks filming started. Our cameraman whose name was Tom Thompson was a fabulous man who really related to Jessica and had heaps of experience. He had filmed produced and filmed Super nanny so I knew he would be ok with children. If you are thinking of getting yourself involved in working with TV don’t hesitate its fun.


Lorna
Well I have always been an uppy down girl, one year slim next year plump, losing 3 stone here putting 2 back on!. Then I had my daughter..who was very ill for a long time after her birth, I didn’t cope well, and this lead to my weight ballooning up to 17.5 stone my heaviest yet, at 5ft 5 inches I too was on the morbidly obese scale, then 18 months ago I split up with my partner of 10 years, and decided I need to re-find and rediscover, myself, and if I wanted to meet someone else ,at least some weight would have to come off.0n February 5th 2006 I started weight watchers, I did it myself from home, in the first week I lost 9lbs, 2nd week 7 lbs, 3rd week 5lbs, and each week there after an average of 3-4lbs, I was so excited had more energy and was looking forward to the new found me, in November 2006 I had lost 8 stone, I treated myself to a month in New York, somewhere I always wanted to visit, sadly even through all my efforts and exercising.. I didn’t get the body I was hoping for, I was left with severe loose skin around my tummy thighs, arms and bottom.. And the skin on my breasts, sagged due to the weight loss. This eventually had a really physiological effect on me , I felt really low and got very depressed.. lost any confidence I thought I would find, as due to all the loose skin , I felt when I looked in the mirror as if I still weighed the 17.5 stone, after months of tears n upset and not going out, I went to my doctors she put me on antidepressants. And I also now have an appointment to see aplastic surgeon about my skin.. The NHS has agreed to pay mostly due to the physiological effect it’s had on me, but it is just for my tummy.. which I think is the major place for the loose skin, and I’m hoping this will give me the boost and lift I need to feel confident again, and hopefully eventually I'll be able to do something about the rest of the skin. But I feel comforted at the fact I’m being given a head start


M.
It’s been four years since the passing of my parents and I now weigh in the region of 30 stone, I am constantly in pain, be it in my back or legs, I can hardly walk, and it has got worse in the past 6 months, before I could walk round my local supermarket ok, but a little out of breath, now I have to stop and start and it takes me over 2 hours some days to struggle round, the pain is unbearable. I now have high blood pressure and diabetes (controlled by diet) on top of this. I don’t want to go out because I’m too ashamed of my size and of people staring at me. If I do go out, I can hardly walk anywhere anyway. I really can’t keep on as I am because I am on a path of destruction. At the time of my mums death she weighed 33 stone had high blood pressure and diabetes, the hospital did an autopsy to find out the cause of death, the reason she had a heart attack was because of her size, and because the fat in her body was restricting her organs from working. I do not want to die, but I feel that if I don’t do something now, this is what is going to happen to me very soon. The thought of this scares me so much; I don’t want to leave my sister in this world alone. After reading an article in the paper recently about morbidly obese people having gastric bypasses, I’ve decided this is the only route for me. I have tried dieting, cutting out fat, slimming world but I cannot shift the weight, and because of my size I cannot exercise to help lose the weight. However, the NHS waiting list for such an operation is 1-2 years; I don’t have that long to wait, I need to do something in the next few months. I have considered going private, but am looking at prices of around 10 to 14 thousand pounds. I cannot afford this, I’m on minimum wage at my work, and have no savings at all, me and my sister struggle to pay the bills and mortgage as it is. My sister had to leave school at the age of 16 and start work because we could not afford for her to stay in school. (I look after my sis on my own as we have no other family)By having this operation I would be saving my life and my sisters life as she is also of a large size (nearly 19 stone) and I know would be more motivated into losing the weight if I to was able to exercise with her. I understand it’s a huge lifestyle change, but I am more than willing to do this, I can’t imagine being half the size I am today, being able to walk to the end of my road without struggling, being able to start to learn to drive again (I started before my mum died but had to give up because I couldn’t afford lessons, and now I’m too big to fit in the driver seat anyway)
It’s the simple things that an able bodied person takes for granted that would be a big achievement to me. Like having a bath, fitting into seats at the cinema, being able to sit on the floor, without the worry of not being able to get up again, and being able to buy nice clothes from a high street shop, not big tent like clothes that I have to buy today. I am still young, and have my life ahead of me, so I am writing to you today to see if there is any way you can help me raise the money for the operation. You would be saving my life, without this operation I know I will die soon. I understand 10-14 thousand pounds is a lot of money, but to me this is the price of my life at the moment, for a chance for me to live.

Tracy
I am writing because when I was at school I was 1 of those lucky people who could eat what they wanted and never gain weight. unfortunately a couple of years later when I met my future husband I started to put on a few pounds but thought it doesn’t matter then I got pregnant and started to eat for 2 (ha ha), I gained a further 4 stone but never lost it. 2 years down the road pregnant again and another 4 stone piled on by this time I was 16 stone and at 4ft 10in not a good weight, this was 1992. For the next 8 years I ate what I wanted and didn’t care about the consequences.
In the summer of 1999 my brother visited and he was shocked that I had gained so much weight and that I looked about 45 years old I was 32 at the time. But again it went over my head it had upset me but I got over it. Between 1993-1999 I had been miserable and conscious about my weight in the fact that I couldn’t play with my kids I couldn’t even walk upstairs without difficulty but still I did nothing.
It wasn’t till January 18 2000 that I got awake up call, I started to bleed and thought it was just a period unfortunately I was wrong it wasn’t till I got to hospital and a doctor told me that I had to lose weight or I would have heavy periods all the time (heavy I was using super plus tampons every 15 mins) and if I continued eating the way I was I would be dead within 5 years and did I want to live to see my children grow up!!
I went home and just cried my eyes out for 24 hours. I vowed then and there I would do something but I didn’t want anyone to no, my husband bought me a treadmill and I hated it but I went on it I could only do 1 min at first but slowly with my husband’s encouragement I started to more and more I also knew what I had to eat so I started to cook things differently and I weighed myself once every 2 weeks. I was gobsmacked I lost 10lbs in the first 2 weeks but this time I didn’t celebrate a weight loss with a fat meal like I used to I just thought great but carry on. Every stone I lost I treated myself with a beauty treatment or some expensive makeup. I also didn’t deprive myself of the foods that I loved, if I fancied something then I had it but didn’t beat myself up over it just got on the next day with eating the right stuff and the weight fell off. On jan19 I weighed 20 stone 2lb by june23 I was 15 stone 1lb. No one knew still but we had to visit my brother and he couldn’t believe what I had done it was lovely to hear the compliments so I carried on.
In 2001 we moved from Nottingham to the north east and my weight had steadied at 11 stone but although my weight had gone I was left with a legacy of skin on my tummy and no amount of dieting or exercise was going to get rid of it so I went to my doctor and he got me in to have a apronectomy which takes the skin away but my belly button had moved and I wasn’t happy where it ended up, so in Jan 2005 my consultant said if you can get down to 9stone 7lb he would redo the procedure and give me another tummy tuck, so there it was I had to start again but I only had 2 stone to lose I thought it would be easy but my god it was the hardest I would have to lose. It took me 6 months of watching what I ate and watching my portions and going to the gym 5 days a week for 2 hours a day to achieve it during all that time I didn’t weigh myself but knew I had lost weight because I had to buy smaller clothes, by the time my next appointment came around in July I felt confident that I had reached my target. When they weighed me I was 9stone 3lb!! I had done it!! On 30 Dec I went for my operation still weighing the same even though Xmas had been and I am now happy with myself but it has taken a long time and a lot of hard work but it’s been worth it!
So there is hope for everyone because if I can do it everyone has the ability to do it because I had tried every diet going and always failed but it wasn’t till I did it myself for myself that it came together and I hope I have encouraged someone. For reading my story and good luck.


Janie
I am 35, four kids and very overweight. Hard to believe before I had the kids I was a size 10/12 and could eat what I like. Guess it all went wrong when I got pregnant and started eating for two. The kids are close in age so I never lost the weight again before I got pregnant with another baby and so it goes on. My knees ache and I feel tired all the time. Guess it is now the right time to do something for myself for a change . The youngest started school last September so now I have a few hours free a week and I am going to make sure this is ME time. Where has the ME gone ? I am just another bigger mum who has lost herself underneath it all. I just wanted all you other mums to know that I realise how hard it is to lose the weight after a baby so don't blame yourself there are many of us out there.


Kim
Hi my name is Kim I am 29 years old, and I love to wear nice clothes but being a size 32 it’s really hard to do fashion? I have been over weight for as long as I can remember but it’s not as if I sit all day eating junk food or cakes, I have a good diet and do lots of walking. I eat fruit for snacks and drink sugar free squash, so why does society hate people in a larger body?
I am currently on pills from the hospital which are working slowly I’ve lost about 1 and a half stone in 6 months my goal is to lose another 14 stone. I know I will never be skinny as all the females are relatively big in my family and we are all big boned.


Anna
I have been asked to write an article about the long term effects of eating disorders and how it has affected me. I did think of going into a long spiel about my life and how it all developed, but I suspect when you hear stories about anorexia and bulimia the plot is basically the same and I suppose my story wouldn't be that much different. It's the usual emotional problems, lack of control over what's happening and of course the need to fit in with one’s peers.
I am a fifty two year old mother of two a real average Joe or Josephine if you like and I have coped for most of my life with eating disorders. In my youth it was anorexia; I went from the fattest kid in Primary school to a really skinny adolescent and from 12 to 18 managed to live on a diet of black coffee, the occasional apple and ryvita and watery soup. A thirty a day cigarette habit helped too to stem the voracious appetite I had so I was on my way to bad health right from the get go.
However I met and married a wonderful man (and surprisingly I still am) who helped me and I started eating again but I was so frightened of fatness bulimia became my drug of choice; it remained so until my early forties when I finally managed to stop. I still don't have a healthy relationship with food. I hate it and now it hates me because it does make me fat. From just under seven stone at my lightest I am fifteen stone and am not a happy bunny.
It has to be said at this point what all the obsession with dieting has cost me, and believe me it has cost me dear. In the years when I should have been enjoying proper nutrition for my body I was doing just the opposite. My bones are thinning and I look forward to the prospect of osteoporosis. This together with scoliosis, arthritis and trapped nerves will make for a fabulous old age filled with pain and problems. Could I have avoided it? The scoliosis - no, that's something I was born with. The osteoporosis - yes, that something that doesn't run in the family and poor nutrition in my case is to blame.
So peeps what can I say to you? What words of wisdom can I create here to move you and change your life? Nothing probably, but the next time you think to yourself I'm going to get this weight off and I'll cut down on everything and I won’t eat too much and heaven forfend I'll dump everything down the loo - remember me. All you have to do is think of a poor old girl tootling around on her mobility scooter prematurely aged and every day in pain. Then make your choice - a little extra pounds and getting around - or the prospect of a thin body and a pack of broken bones. If I could do it all over again I know which one I'd choose.
If you’re in Southend I'm the one on the Postman Pat van lookalike doing Warp Factor 3. This is probably the best I can do at the moment, my arthritic fingers are not working very well. I sound like a moaning Minnie but I'm not. I've accepted my life and work on the principle 'It can always get worse'. My body isn't great but I've been very lucky personally and have two fine sons and a lovely husband, lots of women don't and let's face it in this life you can't have it all.
Live long and prosper. Anna (yes I am a sad old Trekkie)

Trevor
Hi. My name is Trevor and I’m overweight by about 9 stones. I started putting on weight in the early 1990's and haven’t managed to lose any weight since. I also suffer from long term depression and social phobia and chronic anxiety. Naturally I don’t have a social life because I find going out in public too distressing for me. I’m not a prisoner in my own home, I do things like shopping etc., but things like going to night clubs, pubs etc. I don’t cause I always feel shy and nervous.
I would like to rise above this problem and live my life to the full but unless you know what it’s like to live with anxiety 24 hours a day, you can understand why I struggle from day to day. I would like to lose some weight(I’m 19 stone) but I love eating and apart from playing my drums I don’t do much exercise.
I recently lost my job after 5 years hard work, that has knocked my confidence and everyday I struggle with depression now I’m unemployed I am a sympathetic and caring person and will be only too glad to listen and try and help where I can and receive help myself!


Sarah
I just wanted to say a few words about what it is like being young and overweight. The weight started to go on when I was at school and I hated my time there, everyone bullied me and that just made me unhappier.. I can't wear what other young girls do as they all have flat size 10 stomachs and wear cropped tops or jeans - who designs these fashions - we are not all models . I am fed up being fat. I am fed up reading magazines and watching films where everyone is so skinny - where are the real people - why are all celebrities size 8 ? .I have started work now but still feel self-conscious . I have tried diets and failed, I do walk a lot but am not happy to go to a gym or swim. I hate to admit it but I know the only way I will be happier is to be thinner - I am a nice person, I want a boyfriend - people seem to think it is just a case of saying stop eating but if it was that easy why is half the population overweight ? I am trying. Stop staring and start treating me the same way you would like me to treat you.

LJay
My name is LJay, I'm female, nearly 32 years old .I have been overweight all my life and in the past (mostly in the workplace) I have suffered verbal abuse just because of my weight! At the moment I am not working due to long term severe depression which then developed in a social phobia. I haven't worked for the last four years and it's fair to say that I am a virtual recluse.
I live at home with my wonderful parents who have always been supportive of me and without them I don't think that I would still be alive today. I do at times feel really lonely though and it would be great to chat to others that understand how I feel and are maybe going through some of the same experiences.


J.
I am a 33 year old mum and wife who has a loving family who likes to help people, I'm kind to animals and the environment, yet I have this disease called obesity which makes society think of me in a bad way. I can only shop in some shops for clothes as at a size 22 it is hard to get nice things to wear. I don't sit all day eating junk food or gorge on cakes and pies, I have a good sensible diet of cereal, sandwich and home cooked meal in the evening. I eat fruit for snacks and drink water and tea, so why do I feel that society hates me when I'm a good person in a wobbly body? Doctors don't help. Why can't we just be accepted as people, I'm tired of the discrimination If I was thin would I be viewed with contempt or pity?


Sharon
I' m not really overweight but thought I would share with you what my daughter feels about her size.She is nearly 15 and only about two stone overweight but it still affects her life. Everyone thinks she must eat junk day and night but that is not true. I cook a proper meal when they get home and she takes a packed lunch to school because all that was on offer was fast food. Even on the days they sell salad it looks horrible. It doesn't help that most of her friends eat junk all day and are really skinny, whatever I say really doesn't help as at her age you can only see them eating more and being thinner.
She used to be mad on sport but now hates going swimming with her friends as she wants to wear a bikini like them. She has one but feels fat so ends up in her costume which she says makes her look old. She is embarrassed in PE lessons. Her uniform hasn't fitted properly since she was 11 and we can't find the right size in the shops - either looks like a tent or so tight can't do the zip up. As she has got older it is worse as school uniform is only designed up to age 15/16 - so you can't buy bigger sizes and adults clothes don't tend to be grey trousers and coloured jumpers ! Even everyday clothes are hard to but, the fashions she likes just don't look right on her even if you can find a size that fits. Dropped waists, exposed stomachs are a nightmare for a teen with a weight problem. Some of the kids make comments too which hurts. We try really hard to do the right things - go walking the dog, bicycling etc. but although her weight has now stopped going up we can't seem to lose that stone or two.
People often think that as parents we have complete control over what exercise our children do and what they eat but as they get older it is impossible. Also the assumption of fat child, fat parent isn't always true. When they are out shopping with their friends there are fast food outlets on every corner and once they start senior school there are sweet shops as they get off the bus and vending machines in school , burgers, muffins etc. for lunch. Even if we give no money for snacks most of her friends get a few pounds daily and of course often they will share sweets/chips with her. As a mum I won't give up, we all worry about body image for our children and are scared our child may get anorexia in their teens but watching them with a weight problem is hard too. All I want is for her to have a healthy, active life. Not skinny, not uncomfortable with her weight, just to get her to the stage where she is happy and can think of other things all day except weight and food. I think we are getting there but it is hard.


Jon
When you pick up most slimming based magazines, they will generally consist of stories of women, many of them cover to cover. So when I was asked to write about obesity from a man’s perspective I jumped at the chance.
As a child there was something different about me. I was bright, funny and healthy, so why did other people treat me with such contempt? I was suffering from a kind of prejudice that is still prevalent today. I was fat. With this prejudice came several assumptions. Because I was fat I was obviously lazy. Because I was fat I was obviously stupid. Because I was fat I smelt, I was unfashionable, I didn’t deserve friends. But the strangest feeling was losing my masculinity. I wasn’t the fat boy, I was the fat kid. I didn’t participate in football or playground games with the boys, I was a fat misfit.
For reasons far beyond the scope of this tale, family life was difficult for me as a child, so I sought solace in the only thing that made me happy. That thing was food. So from a very young age I was caught in a trap. My weight made me depressed, so I ate to take away those feelings of sorrow. In turn, the food made me put on weight. By the time I was eight I was in adult clothing. It was a little long in the leg maybe, but the waist fitted like a dream.
As the years went by, the few people I felt I could call friends drifted away and I became a victim of bullying at school. I was lucky that there was never anything physical, but the name-calling was awful. Even stares in the playground became unbearable. The school seemed to take the attitude that it was my fault. If I lost weight all the bullying would stop. They were probably right, but I couldn’t find the heart to lose weight and couldn’t stand another minute at that school. At the age of 14 my life seemed pointless. I dropped out of school and became a virtual recluse, sometimes even refusing to leave my room, let alone my house. My confidence was so shattered I didn’t even want to people to look at me. If I went out I would look at the floor, trying to avoid gazing at my shadow. I hated it yet I still kept eating.
My teenage years passed me by. As my peers were out in pubs and clubs, getting jobs and finding girlfriends, I stayed in my room. My doctor showed terrible concern for me, finally advising that my weight was likely to kill me and my quality of life prior to this was to be severely reduced. All this was water off a ducks back – I had no quality of life so perhaps if I did nothing and let the inevitable happen I would feel no more pain.
But there was a small part of me that wanted my life back. My soul had been buried under folds of fat and was screaming to be revealed. I took a look in the mirror. I was soon to be 21 years old. I weighed over 400 pounds. I was unqualified, unemployed, penniless, and without a friend in the world, I had no girlfriend and wore rags tied up with string because at this time there were very few specialist shops to deal with ‘large physiques’. There had to be more to life than this! I made the decision that I was going to lose weight.
For my 21st birthday I received a set of cheap plastic dumbbells and I set off to the library to find out information on how my body worked. If I could figure out how my body had become this terrible mess, perhaps I could reverse the process.
I reduced the calories in my diet and tried to cut out as much fat as I could. I began to go walking – just a couple of hundred yards at first because I became very breathless and my legs became sore as the layers of fat rubbed together. But after a few weeks the distance began to increase. After a short time the scales (two sets, because one set wouldn’t hold my weight!) began to show a loss of weight. This was the first time in my life that my weight hadn’t actually gone up! This gave me tremendous motivation to carry on. Pound after pound the weight slipped away, and after two years I had finally hit my target weight. I had lost about 250 pounds.
To celebrate, my cousin and her boyfriend took me to a night club. I was 22 and this was my first time in a club! I dressed smartly, and entered very nervously. My first reaction was to the skimpiness of some of the outfits. These were people who obviously had never felt shame about their bodies. I was fine as long as I wasn’t left alone. However, I couldn’t expect them to baby sit me all night, and soon they announced that they going to dance. Whilst I was left standing, two pretty girls came up and spoke to me. I had absolutely no concept of being chatted up, so I nervously made my excuses and rapidly made my way to the toilets!
Finally my cousin’s boyfriend came to find me and advised that I couldn’t hang around the men’s toilets all night and that saying ‘Hello’ wasn’t going to kill me.
Physically, I had lost all this weight and looked fit and healthy, but as a man I had no idea how to interact. I had never had any life experiences as a man. My body had changed but it was not just my body that needed to adapt. I had too little knowledge of the world, and hadn’t really had the opportunity to mature. However, I couldn’t get back my childhood. I had to pick my life up, and catch up pretty quickly. I was still unqualified, unemployed and without friends. The difference now was that I had the ambition to do something about it. I needed to live life to gain confidence.
The truth is, whether you are ten, twenty or thirty stone, weight does not determine your character. Living life will enhance your character whether you are a man or woman. Doing the things that you are good at makes a mark on your world and makes life enjoyable. I had found something I was good at, I was good at losing weight, I just had to find a way to take that forward. I approached a local charitable trust that was impressed by my achievement and they provided me with a grant to become a qualified fitness instructor.
I had grown to love exercise but I was determined not to become the sort of ‘Lycra Lout’ that had originally put me off exercise. I just found exercise fun and had found a way to get this message across to others. The money I made I ploughed back into my business so I could learn more exercise techniques.
This was over ten years ago, and I have bucked the trend of yo-yo dieting. I am still slim and run my own personal training business and have a completely different life full of satisfaction and fulfilment. I also run the Overweight and Obesity Organization, a non-profit organization that sets out to give help, advice and support to those who are now in a similar position to that which I was in over a decade ago. I don’t wish the feelings I had in my youth upon anyone, and this is my way of trying to help.
Anyone who wants help in this way can go to my site at http://www.oo-uk.org


Mike
Just wanted you to know that being overweight and male is just as hard. My weight has gone up and down most of my life. At school I was fatter than the other kids and bullied. I left school at 16 and went to work. People were OK there, they didn’t say anything about my weight but I still felt unhappy about myself and that made me eat more, which made me fatter and so the pattern has gone on for most of my life. I met my wife at work fifteen years ago. She has been great and has never complained about my weight but when I look at photos of us together I wish I looked thinner, I try and avoid having pictures taken.
My health is now getting affected, my blood pressure is high and the doctors are telling me that I need to lose weight now before I get any older or I could have heart problems. I would like to go swimming more with the children but swimming pools can make me feel really self-conscious.
So I have started just by walking. I try and go a little further every day. Sometimes it’s difficult as I do get out of breath, get hot or am puffing - but I know it will get easier. Even though I am still eating properly at mealtimes, I have a smaller plate so it looks more and have already lost weight. There is a long way to go but I know I have to do it now while the children are young and so I can beat it before I get much older. I may have missed out when I was younger but am only 38 so have a whole life ahead of me if I do something now. I want to change my life. This is why I decided to contact Big Matters and let other men know that being healthy is just as important for us as it is for women.


Anon
Have you heard people say be fat and happy or people who are fat or obese always look happy and jolly. Well that is a lot of rubbish I have been overweight since I was 11yrs and it all started when I was sexually assaulted. Over the years I have had counselling for the assault but it is a mark on my life that was the cause of my obesity.
At the age of 20 I tried to take my life. My father and mother didn't know the reason why I just made up something but it was because I was not happy with myself and the fact I didn't like myself being fat and I felt ugly.
At the beginning of the year my weight was 20 stone. I have started to get Osteoarthritis in my legs and feet and the doctor warned me that if I do not lose weight I will end up in a wheel chair. So I have started to try to lose weight - it is a very slow process but it is working. I have lost 1 and a half stone, I know that I have to be positive about myself
I know that there are other ladies who may have become obese due to the same experience as me but it doesn't have to be the reason to stay that way. Also if I stay obese then I become a victim again. There is more to say but at the moment it is not the right time for me to say but one day due to my experience I will be able to help others. But first there is still more healing that needs to take place before I can help others.
This is why I think websites like Big Matters, Overeater Anonymous are very good - people can open up and feel safe.

Lisa
There is so much to say, I have been overweight for most of my life, I am now 40 years old, I was diagnosed some time ago with an under active thyroid gland and I take medication for it, I did not take it seriously to begin with and did not take my medication daily, then when we moved to Switzerland I had to visit my doctors and on the first visit I could not fit in his chair the panic and shame I felt were enormous I never visited that doctors again. I was about two years without medication. The isolation of being an obese person and an ex pat in a small village suffocated me, most days I would sleep in bed, because it was easier than facing life, sleep and alcohol and chocolates were the easy alternative to facing life, and facing a challenge to lose weight and get fit, I had previously yo yo dieted for 20 years and the effects of that and not accepting the responsibility for myself led me to an all-time high weight of approximately 420 lbs. Shame had engulfed me, I had given up the hill just felt too big to climb and I had attempted it so many times before, however each time I fell I returned to old habits instead of forgiving myself and continuing my challenge of weight loss.

After so long without the medication together with the ever increasing weight gain, and phobias of going out the house, I was very depressed, the lowest point ever in my life, visiting my children’s school, shopping, attending social functions and yes even stepping out into my garden had become such burdens they smothered the voice of my self-confidence. My loving husband took me to our local Frauen Arz, who was able to help me with my thyroid medication since then I am making great progress, feeling less tired. The one thing which made a huge difference to my losing weight and being in control this time, is the fact that I accepted the responsibility for myself that I and only I can do this, and I want to live a normal life more than I want to eat sugary foods. Accepting and this sort of calm realisation that I just have to get on with things has been the main key to my success this time. Every day I wake up I am stronger, and in control, I managed to get through several celebrations and staying on plan without feeling deprived for the first time in my life! That was a great feeling! No matter what people say to you, no matter how much one is loved and supported, it is only the obese people themselves that can make the initial decision to lose weight, once that responsibility is accepted then the surrounding support network of family, friends, doctors, slimming clubs will help to continue the necessary changes. Obesity is a complex health problem, not just physical but emotional too, it is not just a simple matter of following a weight loss or healthy eating plan, the battered emotions of an obese person need care too, self-esteem and nurturing, counselling provisions and self-help techniques coupled with fitness guidance support groups where the larger person can feel safe from feeling different, safe in the knowledge they are getting sound advice. This is a very important point to be recognised and that is bigger people feel vulnerable and need to feel safe and not under a spot light in protected surroundings.

The scarring obese people carry in their minds and hearts is devastating, and a pivotal point on the road to successful weight loss and exercise routines. Governments and professional’s alike talk produce papers and discuss the obesity problem of today’s modern society, it is my belief that they are possibly not asking enough of the right type of questions and naturally are they asking the right people? In that I mean obese people themselves or people who have successfully lost weight and can empathise to a greater degree with the emotional and practical problems that are a burden in the everyday lives of bigger people.
It is really good to see sites like big matters highlighting the needs of obese people. From my own experience it is the emotional problems which compound bad eating habits, and this is where I feel it would benefit obese people greatly to have counselling and other types of support offered to them, also action heart group, surely it would be better if local health authority offered placements within action heart fitness centres, where trained people can help obese people who may be prime candidates for heart disease? Prevention is better than cure; I feel this type of help will be the answer to helping bigger people become healthier, emotional support and fitness support.
At the present moment I am losing weight and walking every day no matter how small a route it is, I recognise that building a routine into my life with exercise is very important. On the emotional side of things I can’t begin to explain the heart ache I have felt and sadness that I have missed out on so many years of doing normal family activities with my four children, holidays and family outings became a nightmare situation, mainly because I felt ashamed to be seen struggling to walk in public let alone take my children swimming or other activities. I believe I would have gone swimming or joined a fitness group if I could have found a 'big people only group'. At the moment I am very fortunate that our new home affords me privacy to a great extent so that I can go out walking without the stress of people looking at me and my feeling anxious about having to expose myself in this way.
My progress is still gathering momentum, I am nearly registering on normal bathroom scales, and once I have reached that goal I will have lost almost 100lbs! Which will make me 150k I have still a lot of weight to lose but for today I know I can do it, this epiphany which happened to me and I have heard other people talk about, is something which I am sure I have experienced. I feel I was close to dying emotionally, and physically I was deteriorating fast, I believe that emotional decay is the biggest killer, because our self-identity and self-belief is where confidence and positive feelings grow. After speaking to friends and relatives about this change in me, and other peoples experiences, epiphanies are a real thing, a very special mode of recovery, a light is switched on in our heads and for once the answers seem so simple, all the complexity and feelings of being lost and giving up on life are suddenly swept away. This is what happened to me. A dawning and understanding and most of all an acceptance and sure knowledge in the pit of my stomach that it is my time, and I have to take that route and stick to it. I have no idea what next year holds or even tomorrow, but the only sure way for me to lose 20 stone or even 20 lbs. that is to just take it one day and one meal at a time, I focus on getting through one day only, and this method of focusing gives me small goals which will add up to lots of days and eventually achieving my larger goal, and that is to lead an easier physical life, because when a person similar to me has more than a hundred pounds to lose, the desire to lose weight becomes much more than vanity.

Michelle
Hi I’m Michelle and I’m 29 years old. Ever since I can remember I have been overweight and I had let it interfere with everything in my life.
At school I always had great friends but I was always aware of being bigger than them. I was always making excuses to get out of PE. I would be the first one to make fun of my size before anyone else could. I'm sure most fat people do, people think 'oh she’s fat but she’s a good laugh!' When really you just wanted to go and hide in a corner and cry. When we would go out they would all dress up and I would be the tom boy, baggy jeans and tops to hide my size, which by the way just made me look worse!!!
And so it went on depression, not going out and hating myself. Until I reached a weird point in my life last summer, I decided to embrace my size and wear shorts!!!!!I know this may sound pathetic but it was the acceptance of my size that made me want to do something about it, before that time I think I was in denial of how obese I was and all my friends and family were far too polite to say 'hey, you need to do something about your size'
My youngest son started school full time last Sept and as I don't work, due to lack of confidence!, I decided enough was enough I needed to do something for me. I picked up the local paper and found a ladies only gym only 10 mines from my home so before I could talk myself out of it I rang and made an appointment. That was best thing I’ve ever done!!! I went, feeling sick all the way, and was surprised to find that most of the ladies were like me or used to be like me and were reaping the benefits of healthy eating and exercise. I now go to the gym 3 times a week and love it, it has also helped with socialising, talking to other likeminded people.
I thought about joining a slimming club but I had done that more times than I can remember, I also thought about the faddy diets, no carbs, no fat but I knew if I wanted this badly my whole lifestyle had to change. So I just put my knowledge to use and started eating healthily. I have 3 meals a day, maybe a treat every now and then!, well I am human!
The changes have been fantastic. When I started I weighed in at 18st 3lbs and wore a size 26, now I weigh 13st 6lbs and wear a size 18.
I'm proof that it can be done but you have to find a way that works for you and you have to want it bad enough to change for life.
I hope this will inspire people to make changes, the benefits are worth it. I can now play with my 3 kids at the park, play footie and go swimming with them, they and my husband are very proud of me and reap the benefits of a healthier more active Good Luckxxx

Janet
” I have had problems with my weight since about the age 16yrs, I am now 35 yrs. and at my heaviest - minus 33lb that I have lost since March this year. I have tried many 'diets' from shakes only to shakes and flapjacks, slimming clubs, tablets. The tablets worked very well, but I soon began to have side effects and stopped taking them, as soon as I stopped I piled the weight.....and more....straight back on. The slimming club I joined worked very well for me, I lost 2 stone, that was several years ago, but I soon lost interest and piled that weight back on. I felt that I was not getting enough support and was blaming everyone else. I still do feel that there is not enough support for obese people. I was once sent to a dietician who advised me to eat low fat foods. Well, I didn’t go back because I do actually know what I should be doing, it’s the actual doing it that I find hard.
My weight has affected me greatly. I suffer from depression and I can honestly say that a lot of it is down to my weight. I absolutely know for a fact that I would be so outgoing and confident if I wasn't obese. I have stopped going out to pubs and discos and quite a few get together because of my weight. In the summer I wear clothes to cover up all my fat and end up hot and uncomfortable. People make me laugh when they come up to me and say, "you have such a pretty face". If only they knew how insulted I feel when they say that. It just means, you are really fat but at least you're not really ugly with it!
(It may seem that I am rambling but I am writing this as thoughts come in to my head, I have never actually written my feelings down before).
I now suffer with Osteo-arthritis, which I have had since about 1993/4. I wasn't as overweight as I am now, although I was still quite heavy. This hasn't helped, it is a vicious circle. I need to lose weight to ease the pain, but I need to exercise to lose weight, which is very hard when your movement is restricted due to pain.
This year started very badly for me. I felt so depressed. I was depressed because my pain was bad, my movement was very restricted, I stopped smoking and having tried for another baby for two years, everything just really got to me. After 2 1/2 months, I began to tell myself that it is me who is in control of my life, only me and only me that can make a change. I looked at all my problems and 90% of them was caused and are being caused by my obesity. I decided that enough is enough. I managed to give up smoking after 20 years so surely I can lose weight.
I began by walking, I walked 25 mins after taking my son to school and most days walked another 25 mins before picking him up. Just doing that, I began to feel different. On these walks I had a good think about things...I realised that I should concentrate firstly on getting fit. I had my son 5 years ago by emergency C Section and since then I hadn't done anything to rebuild my stomach muscles and I thought that now is the time to do it before getting pregnant....maybe that is why I have not got pregnant yet...it wouldn't be very healthy and would probably have problems afterwards. When I had my son it took many weeks for me to recover due to the fact that I was overweight.
So my aim is to get fitter so that I can have a chance at getting pregnant and having a happy healthy pregnancy.
This has made me think back to a very sad moment. When I went for my first scan when I was pregnant with my son, they were unable to get a very good picture because I was fat!
To help me to reach my aim, I am continuing to walk most days, I had an appointment at the Gym on 31st March and I have re-joined the slimming club. At this moment in time I feel positive and I pray that it continues this way. I have failed many times, but this time I am doing it for me...for me and my beautiful son and hopefully future children.”

 

 

 

 

 

 


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All content within Big Matters website is provided for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Big Matters Ltd is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any individual, including all independant consultants on this site, any commercial product or service mentioned or advised any of the sites including nutritional information supplied herein. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions regarding a medical condition, your diet or before embarking on any exercise program or if you're in any way concerned about your health. Under no circumstances shall Big Matters be liable for any loss, damage or harm caused by a User's reliance on information obtained through this site. It is the responsibility of a User to evaluate the information, opinion, advice or other Content available on Big Matters website.Jessica Villa, Leigh Brandon & Richard Krijgsman are all independant consultants.

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