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Sex Love and Obesity Part 6

Before we move on in this Sex Love and Obesity Series I need to roll back time a little bit and tell you about the guy before my husband.

Sometimes I think that how a relationship starts determines very much how it will finish. This relationship started before my husband and I had become anything more than friends. It started with him having a free trial to the phone sex service I was working for and a phone call that he made to a girl he thought looked exactly like I wished I looked in my head and exactly like the photo that was plastered all over my advertisement.

As we talked and got to know each other there was one prevailing thought in my mind the entire time. “He will never love me.” – because who would love me.

I weighed over 420 pounds. In my mind I was complete unlovable.

We continued to talk, a lot. Relationships that develop over the phone have an interesting dynamic – you don’t sit around watching TV and doing the mundane everyday life things together, you must talk to one another, converse the entire time. Which means there is a lot more communication; he knew absolutely everything there was to know about me.

He was out of my league. I knew that. He was a young attractive man with aspirations to be a movie star. I was a 420-pound phone sex operator allowing him to believe I was the woman in the photos I used for my new phone sex business.

I’d used fake photos to meet people online a dozen times before this. I always knew in the back of my mind when I did it that it would end badly. I knew when they found out who the real me was they would be angry that I lied to them, stop talking to me, and that my struggle with obesity made love an impossibility in my life.

But I loved him, and more than anything in the world, I wanted him to love me back the same way.

Our telephone conversations included lots of discussions about how amazing our sex life would be if we were together. He was the first man in my entire life that made me feel wanted. I’m not talking about wanted as in I want you around me, I’m talking I want to grab you, throw you down on the bed and screw your brains out kind of wanted. Something I had never, ever experienced in life because of my weight.

Although the rational side of my brain knew that this was all a façade based on the lies and misconceptions I was selling, as time went on, I grew to love him more and more.

But my husband came along, I found a relationship that was real, not just some telephone fantasy relationship I wished could be real, and I moved on to the life I could have instead of the life I wanted.

I never really let go though. Closure isn’t really my thing. For several years into my marriage, with my husband knowing about it, I continued to converse with him. He helped me build my business. He wrote blogs for my website, he did voice acting work for recordings I sold repeatedly, he tolerated the emotional roller coaster and yo-yo relationship I offered where I pulled him closer and then pushed him away. We’d make plans to meet, and I would come up with amazing excuses for why I couldn’t show up. Essentially, I catfished him. For the better part of 12 years.

There was a moment, where I tried to tell the truth.

About four years into my marriage, when things started going south, when I had gained back all my weight, found out that my husband was having online affairs he was lying to me about, I went to this man and told him the truth.

In my mind, at this moment, I thought, it’s been 5 years, he knows me. The real me, the person I am on the inside. Maybe, just maybe my weight won’t matter. My husband had taught me that was a possibility, in the beginning he didn’t want to be with me because of my weight. I had lost the weight, we had started a relationship, and when I gained all the weight back it didn’t become a deal breaker in the relationship.

I was unhappy in my marriage. For a million reasons I’ve already stated. But there was another issue at play too, I wasn’t sure if I had ever REALLY loved my husband. In the back of my head there was this haunting voice that constantly reminded me that perhaps I had settled for the man who would love me, instead of the man I loved.

So, after 5 years, I told him the truth.

I laid it all out there, I sent him my real photos and I explained that I had done everything I had done because I didn’t think he would love me if he knew what I really looked like.

He very kindly ended the relationship. He gave me a ton of reasons at the time. None of which were “You are overweight, and I am not attracted to you.” – but no matter what he said, THAT is what I heard.

I couldn’t take the rejection. I was devastated. I loved this man I had never met more than I had loved any man before. Not having him as a part of my life wasn’t an option. So, I back peddled. I told him that I had sent the photos to test him. To see how much he really loved me, to see if our relationship was just about what I looked like. I told him that he had failed my test and for the next couple of years, we hardly spoke. When we did speak, I would remind him how much he had hurt me. How he had let me slip through his fingertips, how he didn’t love me enough.

In some small way, his remorse over the situation comforted me.

It told me that I was worthy. He regretted his decision, he mourned losing me, and in my mind, I twisted this into, “he’s the bad guy, he didn’t love me because of my weight and he lost the wonderful person I am and a woman who loved him to ends of the earth because of it.” It was his loss.

It was somewhere around 2007 now – I had regained 100 pounds since I had gotten married. The man I loved didn’t love me back. The man I had settled on and learned to love was busy having online affairs when I was there in his home trying to be everything he wanted. Nothing was going right. I blamed EVERYTHING that was going wrong on the fact that I was overweight. Obesity was ruining my life. All I wanted was someone to love me the way I wanted to be loved and nobody did, all because I was fat.

But there was nothing I could do to fix it. I had tried and failed. I had lost weight and gained it all back. The only sex life I had was the one I had on the phone with my clients. I hated my job now. All it did was serve as a constant reminder of what I couldn’t have. I resented answering the phone. I resented the two men in my life for not loving me. I slipped into a deep dark depression.

There was nothing, absolutely nothing that made me feel better… other than food.

I’d binge eat to make myself feel better and then only end up more depressed because in the end I knew that it only made things worse. It was a vicious cycle. I wanted to die.

I accepted that this was the life I was destined to lead. I didn’t really understand why. What I had done so bad to deserve such a horrible fate? I resolved myself to the fact that I was going to die this way, overweight, unloved and never getting the chance to experience the love I had been dreaming about since I was a little girl.

I had thought that losing weight would fix everything. I believed that after I lost the weight I would suddenly be happy. I was looking for myself and thought I would find her on the other side of obesity. But what I quickly found is that there is no “u” in weight loss. If you are looking for you in life after weight loss, you’re not going to find it until you start looking within yourself and asking yourself what drove you to obesity to begin with. Losing the weight doesn’t fix you, and if you haven’t figured out what the actual issues are, the chances are, you will end up right back where you started.

My marriage was already over, even if I didn’t really know it yet, and my relationship with this man who had come before my husband, hadn’t even really begun.

Stay tuned for Sex Love and Obesity Part 7 – Meeting Superman

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies. Her training and coaching services are offered exclusively through GoGirl Fitness Studio.

Nicole Arbour’s Perfect Example of Fat-Shaming

A new video entitled “Dear Fat People” hit YouTube a few days ago. This video features Nicole Arbour, a Canadian comedian, recording artist, actor, writer, choreographer and producer displaying very prominent views of weight bias and fat-shaming.

NicoleArbourDearFatPeople

Well Miss Arbour, you’re right about one thing, some people are already offended and I’m one of them.

Fat-Shaming is very much a thing. It’s an unproductive and emotionally damaging thing.

The saddest part of fat-shaming is that ridiculously cruel people like yourself think that it’s okay.

Your video makes it very clear that you believe that being affected by obesity simply means that you should eat less and move more. While taking in fewer calories and getting in more movement is definitely two of the key ingredients to weight loss, that formula doesn’t work for everyone.

I never sat in my doctor’s office and accused him of fat shaming when he told me that as a woman affected by morbid obesity I was at a higher risk of illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, sleep apnea, severe edema, chronic depression and some forms of cancer. I took those things pretty seriously actually. In fact since my struggle with obesity lead me to all of those conditions if anything I was scared to death that I was going to be dead before I turned forty.

Oh you’re not talking to me? That’s great. Thanks for excluding me from your negative body image campaign. But wait, you are talking to me because I too was once affected by the disease of obesity.

Let me define obesity for you. Obesity is a condition that is associated with having excess body fat, defined by genetic and environmental causes that are difficult to control while dieting. Individuals affected by obesity should not be defined as being their disease. You don’t tell someone with cancer that they are cancer. You don’t tell someone with depression that they are depression. You don’t tell someone with AIDS that they are AIDS. Miss Arbour, human beings are not defined by diseases and illnesses they suffer from diseases and illnesses and making light of people’s suffering is a really unkind and inhumane action.

People that suffer from obesity wear it externally. The can’t hide it.

You can tell by just looking at them that they suffer from the disease. Unfortunately for them people like you seem to think that because they wear their disease in a physical way that it’s alright to make fun of them, belittle them and sadly, try shame them into fighting their disease in the manner that you see fit.

The problem with that is that you can not tell by looking at someone what actions they are taking to fight their disease. You can not tell if they suffer from some other illness that caused them to gain weight. You can not distinguish whether they have been so emotionally and physically abused that they used food as a coping mechanism. You can not tell whether they went to the gym this morning. You can not tell whether they suffer from depression. You can not tell if they are eating 900 calories a day or eating 3500 calories a day. But because they wear their disease in a way you can see it you assume it’s okay to attack them and tell them that they should be making better choices.

Most people who suffer from obesity are not sitting there intentionally making choices that cause them to gain weight. As someone who once weighed over four hundred pounds I can honestly say that I never consciously sat there going “Oh let me see what I can do to gain more weight today.”  

Most people who suffer from obesity would love guidance and help with weight loss. That’s where the theory of eat less and move more fails. Because for most of us that have suffered from obesity the problems go much deeper than simple calories in and calories out. Most of us have tried that method to recovery from obesity and failed over and over again.

The comparison of being a shop-a-holic to obesity as a disease is asinine. While some people who suffer from obesity do in fact also suffer from food addictions comparing a disease to an addiction is like comparing people to dinosaurs. Some people who suffer from cancer do so because of an addiction to cigarettes and nicotine. Last time I checked though the only damage anyone has ever done through a shopping addiction was to their bank account and possibly their emotional well-being.

You’ve done a really good job at showing the world what fat-shaming, weight bias and weight discrimination is all about.

Your story about being at the airport and your experience with the “Fat Family” and “Jabba the Son” is classic example of these things. You assumed that because the boy you are talking about suffered from obesity that he wasn’t suffering from any other illness. You made this assumption based on his physical appearance and nothing more.  You decided that because “he was fine, he was just fat,”  it was alright to be rude, inconsiderate and mean. You decided that nothing else about that boy and his life mattered and that he should be making better choices based on absolutely nothing but his physical appearance.

What if that family’s son suffered from Prader-Willi syndrome? What if he suffered from Cushing’s syndrome? What if he suffered from a thyroid disorder? What if that family was on their way to a specialist to try to get their son help and treatment for his obesity? You have no clue what that family was going through or why that boy was considered disabled. But here you are showing your lack of education and empathy by expressing your disgust for the overweight boy sitting next to you on a plane and trying to brand it as caring.

“Shame people who have bad habits until they fucking stop.”

“If we offend you so much that you lose weight, I’m okay with that.”

“I don’t feel bad for you because you’re taking your body for granted.”

These comments are not caring. These comments are cruel and malicious. But somehow you think these comments  are okay because you put a disclaimer on them.

“I’m not saying all of this to be an asshole. I’m saying this because your friends should be saying it to you.”

Nobody’s friends should be saying these things to them.

As someone who once suffered from obesity I can say that nobody belittling me, making fun of me, making jokes about me, expressing disgust about me or trying to shame me into losing weight ever helped me.

All those things ever did was make the situation worse for me. Those very things drove me deeper into depression. They made me feel unworthy. They made me feel hopeless. They made me feel like I didn’t matter. As someone who suffered from a food addiction and had a relationship with food to try to compensate for the relationships that I couldn’t have with people it drove me deeper into the darkness.

When people like you talked to me like this I turned to food to make me feel better. People like you making me feel like I was repulsive, implying that I smelled bad and making me feel like my mere presence was an intrusion in their world made me feel like I didn’t deserve to be a part of it.

That Miss Arbour is assisted suicide.

Let me tell you what DID help me…

Support helped me. Kindness helped me. Someone talking to me in a way that expressed care and concern without making me feel ashamed of myself helped me. Education helped me. Access to treatment for the disease of obesity helped me.

You end this video by trying to redeem yourself with “The Truth”

“The truth is I will actually love you no matter what, but I really really hope this bomb of truth exploding into your face will act as shrapnel that seeps into your soul, makes you want to be healthier so that we can enjoy you as human beings longer on this planet.”

Miss Arbour the truth is, I don’t believe you. I don’t believe you care one small iota about those that struggle in the battle against obesity. What I believe is that you just used your fame and celebrity status to attempt to send a message and thought that the tough love and humor approach you chose to take would convey that message. You failed. What you did was make fun of a group of individuals that are already highly stigmatized.  I think you sought a laugh at the expense of others because you like many others in the world today believe that weight bias and fat shaming is acceptable because it is a commonly tolerated form of discrimination and hate.

“Think of me as one of your ride or dies.”

To all of those out there that suffer from obesity please hear me when I say this. Weight Bias, Weight Discrimination and Fat-Shaming are NOT okay.

Luckily for us though, there are some true ride or dies out there trying to make the world a better place and trying to raise awareness of this sort of behavior. I’m one of them.

After overcoming my own battle with obesity I changed my entire career path and went on to become a professional weight loss and wellness coach. I went on to gain an education in how to help others through coaching healthy behaviors and helping others with behavior modifications that would arm them with the tools they need to achieve weight loss and live happier and healthier lives.

After losing over 250 lb. I went on to become a fitness instructor in order to help inspire and motivate others to find the fun in fitness. I went on to try to teach others to use exercise as an emotional outlet to battle the sort of emotions of unworthiness, shame and hopelessness that people like Miss Arbour perpetuate in the world.

OAC-Member-BadgeAfter receiving access to care and treatment for obesity I went on to become a proud member and supporter of the Obesity Action Coalition, an organization that is dedicated to giving a voice to individuals affected by the disease of obesity and helping them along their journey towards better health through education, advocacy and support.

There are people out there like myself and over 50,000 other members of the OAC who are determined to fight to eliminate weight bias and weight discrimination and offer a community of support for the those affected by obesity.

Miss Arbour’s method and message are all wrong. We will never win the fight against obesity through shaming or making fun of the people affected by it. Obesity is not a joke. It is not something to be ashamed of. Obesity is a disease that comes with very serious health ramifications and many of us need more than “eat less and move more,” as a method of treatment.

But thankfully, like many of my fellow members and supporters of the OAC I will stand up and fight for that treatment and stand up and fight for you when someone like Miss Arbour tries to minimize and depreciate the complexity of this disease.

For anyone out there that saw this video or heard this message and felt ashamed of where you are in your battle with obesity, I am here to tell you that you are not the one that should be ashamed of your behavior. Miss Arbour and the people who sign her paychecks are the ones that should be ashamed of their behavior right now, not you.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies, a Motivational Speaker and Exercise Instructor at a women’s only fitness facility in Wilmington North Carolina.
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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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