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Sex Love and Obesity Part 1

I believe that there is a part of the weight loss journey that we don’t talk about nearly enough. The way obesity affects the decisions we make regarding sex, love and relationships.

I wasn’t always an Obesity Rebel. There have been times in my life that Obesity kicked my ass and suffering from this disease lead me to make some bad decisions in when it came to these things. There were times when I was 100% convinced that losing weight would fix all my relationship-oriented problems. Times I believed I would miraculously find Mr. Right if my waist size wasn’t in the high double digits or if the number on my scale didn’t start with a 2, 3 or 4.

In this next blog series, “Sex, Love and Obesity” I’m going to share some of my thoughts and experiences on this topic with you. 

Sex Love and Obesity Part 1: I thought losing weight was going to fix my love life.

When I first started my weight loss journey I was in the middle of a failing marriage. The marriage was already over honestly and there wasn’t really anything left to fix ; we’d already grown apart. I couldn’t tell you what was going through his mind at the time, but I had decided that after losing all that weight I was finally in a position where men might actually *WANT* to date me, and I was curious if something more fulfilling was out there.

I’d never really done that. The dating thing. As someone who suffered from obesity since childhood, my dating background was sort of slim. I had a high school sweetheart that was also a bit overweight. So, he was very accepting of me.

We broke up not long after graduation. I was 18 then and the internet had just become a thing. I met a 24-year-old guy in an AOL chat room. He was a computer geek, gamer, and wasn’t exactly the epitome of slender himself. I moved in with him within a month of dating him and together our poor lifestyle habits lead to an even more overweight me. Our relationship sexually was rather boring, so I started looking for more excitement in online sex chat rooms.

Cyber sex filled a void in my life.

It provided a venue for me to experience the sort of passionate romantic and exciting sexual escapades I was looking for without my weight being a hard limitation. However, as soon as anyone got close enough to me that they asked for a photo and realized how overweight I was, I’d feel the sting of their rejection.

As the number on the scale climbed, I probably weighed somewhere between 200-250 pounds. In the world of the internet chat room and internet chat lingo, I was what was referred to as a BBW, (Big Beautiful Woman) only nobody really thought big was beautiful and most the times the posts I would see from men advertising that they were looking for someone would exclude me. “No BBWs please,” was a common line in the online profiles I read.

In my search for men that were accepting of my size, I would often start-up chat conversations with just about anyone that didn’t post a weight restriction in their profile. I’d feel them out, avoid the part of the conversations where they would ask for photos, and try to build a relationship based on my personality first. I figured eventually I’d find someone who would like me for who I was and then what I looked like wouldn’t be so important.

I did meet someone like that. Someone that didn’t really care much about what I weighed or what I looked like. He was more focused on how I behaved. Particularly how submissive I was. He introduced me to the BDSM, (Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, Masochism) community. I was about 19 years old then. If you read erotica I’d say my life varied somewhere between The Story of O and the John Normal Gor Novels.

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Before Photo – Taken approx. 2001 – 400 lb.

I was owned, I was considered property, and I was used sexually.

Strangely, my lack-of-self-confidence made this all justifiable in my mind. I was proud to be such a good submissive, slave, or whatever label you wanted to put on it, that men wanted to own me. Being owned was a privilege. Being hand selected by a man to be his property made me special. That’s what I was taught, and that was the way I lived my life for the next thirteen years.

I entered into relationships as if they were contracts. I had rules that I had to follow. Rules that determined things like how I could speak, what I could wear, what changes I could make to my hair or my body, what music I could listen to, what television shows I could watch. If I broke the rules, I was punished. Sometimes the punishments were physical, sometimes they were emotional. But I spent my life striving to be so obedient that I was rarely punished.

In the beginning I had several owners. The alternative lifestyle community kind of promotes open relationships. Many of the men involved in these types of relationships have no problem sharing the women they own with others. This is often acceptable because they either wish to participate in sexual experiences with other women themselves or because they own more than one woman at a time. Swinging, poly amorous relationships and “sharing” were a common occurrence in these relationships.

I didn’t really want to share someone’s love and attention.

This presented a problem for me. I never really wanted that sort of relationship. I found myself constantly seeking a man who wanted only one slave. I envisioned the romanticized version of these relationships where in exchange for my undying love and devout submission, I was provided for, emotionally, mentally, physically and financially.

After the better part of 6 years, I found the type of Master I believed I wanted. But by that point my relationship with food and my habit of feeding my feelings had caused me to gain a tremendous amount of weight. I weighed nearly 420 lb. and even though I had found my equivalent of Prince Charming in my BDSM fairy-tale.  My happy ending came with a caveat, I had to lose weight if I wanted to be owned by him.

When he presented my weight as an obstacle to a relationship he was kind about it. He let me know that it wasn’t just about what I looked like and his level of physical attraction to me, it was also about not wanting to be with someone who was unhealthy. He had concerns about the physical ailments and medical ramifications associated with obesity. He wanted me to be healthy if he was going to make a lifelong commitment to owning me.

When he presented this issue to me, in my mind, any loyal submissive that truly wanted the commitment of ownership from a man on the level that I did, would do anything asked of them to earn it. So, I decided, for the first time in my entire life of struggling with obesity to make a commitment to losing the weight. I started dieting and exercising and the weight started melting off.

In just a little over a year, I had shed 195 pounds and moved to another state to be closer to him. I achieved that coveted title of being his slave. About 9 months later he decided we should get married. It made sense at the time. It sealed our commitment to each other in a way the world recognized. It would allow him to make medical decisions for me as my “Husband” that he wouldn’t be able to make as my “Master.” – I was elated. I thought I had found my 50 Shades of Gray version of happily ever after and my fairy-tale ending.

I also thought I was correct in my interpretation that losing weight would miraculously solve all my love life problems.

But my romantic problems were just beginning.

My struggle with obesity was nowhere near over and every decision I had made in my love life thus far was more an act of desperation than an act of love.

I had no idea how much suffering from obesity had damaged my self-worth. I was unaware how much it had caused me to devalue myself. I was oblivious to how it was affecting my decisions when it came to sex, love and relationships. But, I was about to find out.

Stay tuned next week the next part of this blog series.

Sex Love and Obesity Part 2 – How Gaining & Losing Weight Ruined My Marriage

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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.

Ellen says “Fitch, Please” to Weight Discrimination

I had every intention of writing a blog today about my wonderful weekend at the WLSFA Event. I have so many great things to share, but I am afraid that will have to wait, something more important to our community is on my mind this morning.

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Yesterday Ellen Degeneres weighed in on the current controversy surrounding a public statement by Abercrombie and Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries that the brand was “Absolutely Exclusionary” and only “wants to market to cool, good-looking people.”

 

The original comment was made in 2006 interview with Robin Lewis, co-author of a new book, “The New Rules of Retail.” But let this be a lesson that they things we say can often times bite us in the butt later, right Mr. Jeffries? Because he’s now publicly apologizing for the comment nearly seven years later.

There are a few aspects of this issue that I want to address. First and foremost let me say that as a small business owner I believe all business have the right to target to their selected audience and target demographics and to choose who that audience is. There is a big difference between however between a positive message being sent to your selected demographic audience and a discriminatory message that tells other people they are not good enough to wear your clothes. What was inferred Mr. Jeffries comment was not, young beautiful people wear are clothing it was, people of size are not cool or good-looking. The error is in the delivery of the message, and it was a big error that bit him in the butt down the road.

Ellen’s monologue on the topic was great, and in true Ellen style, delivered the positive message that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and has very little to do with how you dress, what you wear or how much you weigh. Which, let’s face it, is a pretty important message to get to our younger generation in a society where weight bias, weight discrimination and bullying and name calling is an often accepted act.

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I want to take a moment to say thank you to Ellen personally for standing up against this sort of discrimination and bullying and making sure to send a more positive message. While I may be able to fit into A&E clothes today if I wanted to, there was a time when I weighed 420 lb. and I couldn’t fit into the seat of airplane or a small car let alone some of Abercrombie and Fitch clothes. There was also a time, when I was that teenager getting called “Fatty,” listening to the fat jokes as I walked through the halls of my Southern California beach community high school, and pretty much being alienated from life because of my size. But more importantly, there was a time that my size 26 prom dress had me sitting in a bath tub trying to slit my wrists because of the hurtful, hateful, mean, and derogatory comments that people made to me made me feel helpless and worthless. I’m not telling you this for sympathy, I am telling you because I feel it’s important that we as a society understand how horrible comments and actions like these can be on a sixteen year old girl. The people who teased me had no idea WHY I was big. They had no clue how bad my home life was. They didn’t know that I had put on weight as a self-defense mechanism to the sexual abuse I had endured as a kid. They didn’t know me at all, all they knew was that I wasn’t “Normal Size” and so of course it must be ok to make fun of me and tease me.

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Of course, now, with her joke about a size 0 and size 00 clothing, Ellen has upset a whole new audience. But hang on a minute folks, you’re missing the point. Ellen isn’t saying there is anything wrong with being small, being petite or being thin, what Ellen is saying is that the way that such things are marketed and labeled are unhealthy to our society. What would you think if I walked up to someone and said “Hey you’re not here, you are invisible, you have no value.” or “You’re nothing,” or “You’re the lowest point or degree on a scale of human beings.” – It’s not the people who wear these sizes that Ellen is speaking out against, it is the clothing industry for the way they are labeling it. You notice she wasn’t joking about size extra-small, size small, or anything of that sort, she is making a point that the clothing industry is taking this too far. Several years ago there was an episode of One Tree Hill where the model stood on stage wearing a shirt that said “Zero is not a size,” The message here is NOT “you are too skinny, there is something wrong with you.” The message here is, “It is not ok for society to pressure you into eating disorders with their marketing strategy because they think beautiful is defined by a big fat zero whether it’s a size, a body fat percentage or part of a number you see on the scale. The message here is NOT shame on you for wearing a size 0, the message is shame on the clothing manufactures for making a size zero.

Now you can defend a size 0 all you want, but let me ask you something, why did they need to make it? Why must there be a size 0 to begin with? Because what a size 1 or 2 wasn’t small enough? Have you been shopping lately? I have, a lot, and you know what, I have clothes that range anywhere between a size 6 and a size 12, and you know what? Because everyone makes their clothes differently, some run big, some run small, some use metric sizes, some use centimeters, some use inches. Then there is Misses, Juniors, Petite, the list is endless. So why do we need a size 0? Why do we need a size NOTHING? Why do we need a size “I Don’t Exist?” Why wouldn’t clothing manufactures just make their smallest size a size one or an XXS? And what is next? When size 0s aren’t good enough will we go into negative digits? Why would anyone want to be defined as a zero to begin with? And why doesn’t our society see how damaging this is to our sense of self-worth?

Obesity is a disease that over one-third of our nation is fighting. It is one of the top killers in our country right now. People are dying every day from obesity related conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, cardio respiratory disease, sleep apnea and instead of standing up and battling this disease our society thinks it is ok to call them names, make fun of them, exploit them, and treat them like they are less than deserving and when we allow companies to do things like tell us that zero is a feasible size, and if you aren’t a size 10 or lower you aren’t beautiful or worthy of shopping where the beautiful people do, we are tolerating weight biased, weight prejudice and weight discrimination. I’d like to know how many people would tolerate the sort of behavior that is accepted against people who are overweight towards people battling some of the very diseases that obesity causes. Just think about that one for a moment.

Ellen DeGeneres is an amazing example of a human being and I hope that if I am ever in a position one day to impact so many with my voice and my words, that I am strong enough and brave enough to stand up and send the same sort of message she sent with her monologue “Fitch, Please.” I would buy this shirt in a heart beat if Ellen produced one, and I will always support anyone that stands up in the fight against obesity and size discrimination.

If you’d like to join the fight against weight bias, weight discrimination and help in the fight against obesity, I invite you to check out the following non-profit organizations. The Obesity Action Collation and the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America.
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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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