In case you don’t know this, I consider myself an Obesity Rebel.

Desperately Seeking Slender

A Rebel, is someone who rises in opposition or armed resistance against. An Obesity Rebel is someone who opposes obesity. I firmly believe that obesity is a disease. There are some people who would argue and debate that with me. In fact,  we’ve been debating whether obesity is a disease quite heatedly for over a decade. Regardless of anyone’s opinion, the American Medical Association agrees with me, because they defined obesity as a disease back in 2013.

There are plenty of topics to discuss when it comes to Obesity. Plenty of issues to raise awareness to. We could talk about how people who suffer from obesity do not always get access to care and treatment for their disease. Or, we could discuss the prevalence of weight bias in the world today. How society still thinks that it alright to judge, shame and ridicule those who suffer from obesity. As an Obesity Rebel, both of these things are issues I rise in opposition to.

More importantly though, is the issue that obesity is a disease, and the only way to beat a disease is to fight against it. If you choose to do nothing, nothing will change. If you choose to simply live with obesity, as harsh as this may sound, there is very likely chance that you won’t live very long. So to me, being an Obesity Rebel means I am fighting against obesity. I am refusing to allow it to take away precious years of my life. By choosing action over inaction and choosing treatment over acceptance. I am choosing to fight my disease and not allow it to win.

But, I wasn’t always an Obesity Rebel.

Back in my early thirties after diet failure after diet failure, I had given up hope. I weighed over 400 lbs. I was confident that I was going to die before I ever saw forty.  Sadly, I accepted this fact. Studies show that being effected by obesity increases the risk of developing many other diseases. These include diseases such as, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high-cholesterol, sleep apnea, edema, and depression. In fact, in 2002 studies showed that over 25{6e74c841b8f362d8aea590534016dc569fd3035eeb9e530df8846b42682c6656} of individuals effected by sever obesity were being treated for six or more obesity-related conditions. Sadly, I suffered from all of the ones that I listed.

I wasn’t eating healthy, I wasn’t exercising and I wasn’t choosing to fight my disease. I was accepting it. Choosing to live with it. Choosing to allow doctors to keep treating me for my obesity-related diseases to try to keep me alive. Yet, I knew deep inside that I was still dying. I knew, that if I didn’t do something drastic, obesity wasn’t just going to kick my ass and make my life miserable, it was going to kill me.

Obesity Rebel Pandora Williams Before Photo

But, I did not believe that I could evoke change. In fact, I was pretty sure that no matter what I ever did, when it came to losing weight, I was an epic failure. Nothing had worked for me. When you suffer from sever obesity, the task ahead of you seems daunting and unattainable. You look at a world where “most people” need to lose 10-20 lb., when you need to lose 100-200 lb., and it is easy to get discouraged. Understandably so, when you try and fail at something repeatedly, it is easy to fall into the “why bother?” mindset.

If you are asking yourself “Why Bother?”, the answer is really simple.

Because YOU matter. That is why. Because you matter. Whether you even realize it or not yet. Your existence is not irrelevant. Your life has great meaning. You matter to those that love you. And, you matter to the people whose lives you haven’t even realized you will touch yet.

I get it though. I understand, because as I said before, I wasn’t always an Obesity Rebel. There was a time that I chose acceptance. I didn’t think that I mattered. I didn’t consider the people in my life, how my early death might affect them. Consequently, I never imaged a world where you were sitting here, reading a blog I was writing about how I changed my life and the possibility that something I said might help you find the strength to change yours.

My “Why Bother?” answer came in the fashion of my 83-year-old father telling me that he was concerned about my health. “You’re digging a grave with a fork and spoon kiddo. I’m worried that you’re going to die before me,” those words had a profound impact on me. Even though I wasn’t in a place where I was ready to fight for myself. The concept of my elderly father spending the final years of his life stressed out and concerned about my health provided me a reason to fight for him. I mattered to him. He mattered to me. I had to do something. So, I chose action over inaction. I chose to make a change. That metamorphosis, that moment of mental transformation, that is the moment I became an Obesity Rebel.

The fight against Obesity is not easy and you’re not always successful.

But it is a fight worth fighting. Because you are worth it. You matter. There will be days that all you want to do is eat your favorite feel good food and give up. Inevitably, there will be days that it is hard to muster up the energy to get a work-out in. There will be times you step on the scale and it hasn’t moved. Or, worse, it moves in the wrong direction. Those days, are the days that your determination to fight your disease is most important.

There will be times you feel defeated and ashamed. Moments that you wonder why everyone else can be slender and you can’t. Days that you feel like a failure. There will be times that someone you don’t know, says or does something that shows you that they don’t understand your struggle. Even worse, there will be moments that people you know and love will do the same. This is the sad truth that those of us suffering from obesity, a disease we wear on the outside for the whole word to see, face. This is a prevalent example of the weight bias exhibited in the world today.

You’ll find yourself in the fast food drive through line. There will be times that you let a bad decision procreate and lead to another bad decision. You’ll probably even find that you have countless days where you fall into that “I’ll start again on Monday mentality.” It’s normal. It’s okay, and it doesn’t mean that you give up. It means you search deep down inside you and find the resilience to keep fighting back against obesity. Why? Because you matter. Trust me, I have these days too. Being an Obesity Rebel doesn’t mean you’re perfect. It means that you never stop trying.

Being an Obesity Rebel means you don’t give up.

Obesity Rebel Pandora Williams with fellow OAC Member

Being an Obesity Rebel means you continue to be willing to fight obesity. In moments like this you have to remind yourself that the only way you fail is if you quite trying. As long as you continue to try, you never fail. You have some unsuccessful moments. You have some triumphs. That’s just how life goes. Ups, downs, spirals, rounded corners. There is no straight line from point A to point B. There’s a bunch of swirling, twisting, turning, looping lines to get there.

Having a support system helps a lot. Sometimes that support system comes in the fashion of family and friends. I didn’t have a lot of that in my journey. Instead, I had to look for it elsewhere.

I found my support system online, on forums, in discussion groups, and by becoming a member of the Obesity Action Coalition ( OAC ), a nonprofit organization dedicated to giving a voice to individuals effected with the disease of obesity. Having people I could talk to about my journey that not only understood, but knew of the struggle in the fight against obesity first hand was encouraging for me in the times that I wanted to give up.

As an Obesity Rebel I try to help others fight obesity.

I do that through my career as a Personal Trainer and weight loss coach. Through my membership with the OAC. By calling out weight bias when ever I see it. But, most recently I’ve decided to do it by giving other people who want to fight obesity a place to gather in that fight. My new Obesity Rebels Facebook Group.

Obesity Rebel Facebook Group

To me, being an Obesity Rebel means that not only am I still willing to fight obesity, but I am willing to help others in that fight as well. I find that helping others offers me a level of accountability that I wouldn’t otherwise have. This has been a significant key to my own personal successful weight maintenance. No matter what the cause is. Together we are stronger. Since it is currently estimated that over 93 Million Americans are effected by obesity.

If you’re ready to fight obesity and looking for a place to gain strength, courage, motivation and inspiration from others who are ready to fight to, join my new Obesity Rebel Facebook Group.

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.