Monday, October 26, 2015

What You Don’t Know about the Obese Woman You’re Judging

Sad woman holding a bathroom scale is leaning against wall

She carefully inspects a carton of strawberries in the produce section of the grocery store and, after she approves, she places it into her shopping cart. She continues shopping for the items on her grocery list. Dressed comfortably in yoga pants, a sweat shirt, and flip flops, she self-consciously pulls at her sweatshirt where it stretches snugly at her hips.

She breathes a quiet sigh as she adds blueberries, raspberries, bananas, avocados, tomatoes, spinach, carrots, and broccoli to her cart, a rainbow of produce accumulating with each item.

Maybe you are her, perhaps you’ve been her in the past, but at very least—you’ve seen her before. She has a story that the core of her being has been built upon but it’s a story left untold.

She’s not a woman who packed on extra weight after settling down and having children, occasionally reminiscing about the perfect figure that she had in her youth—the one her husband fell in love with.

This isn’t her first diet.

She hasn’t let herself go, although that’s what it looks like upon seeing her and many assume that’s the case.

She has been on diets since she was a child.

She has been bullied and rejected.

As much as she tries, she has never been able to escape the heaviness that she has built around herself. Pain wraps around her soul like the excess flesh that wraps around her waist.

In high school, she wore the largest size gym uniform available and it was still too tight—the shorts would ride up with every rub of her thighs.

On graduation day, she worried that the gown would be too small.

On her first day of college she worried that she wouldn’t fit in the desks.

She desperately tried to convince herself that she felt pretty on her wedding day in the dress which a tailor had to let the seams out of because she had gained more weight.

Pregnancy made her feel even uglier—a time that was supposed to be filled with happiness was filled with shame. Her doctor told her she wouldn’t deliver her baby if she weighed a pound more and it shattered her heart and broke her spirit.

Every single event of her life has been tainted by obesity. It has stolen her happiness and every ounce of self-esteem. She wishes she could forget the heartbreak and that the pain would evaporate, but the memories linger and the weight remains.

Occasionally, the pain overflows and slowly runs down her cheeks. When you ask her what’s wrong, she can’t explain. It’s a lifetime of pain and she doesn’t know where to begin—so it’s a story that’s left untold and she simply carries the memories in her heavy heart.

She continues shopping, marking each item off of her grocery list. Once her cart is filled with the best of intentions, she pays for the items and drives home. Ready to begin on Monday, she’s hopeful that this will finally be the time she sheds the extra weight for good.

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