This story comes from the Weight Issues Network’s report The Personal Costs of Weight Issues in Australia 2020 and has been reproduced with permission.
For all of my life I have carried more weight than I would like. But, it was only after the birth of my daughter in 2009, that I became more conscious about the health implications of my weight. Prior to becoming a Mum, my life was taken up with a demanding career. I did long and odd hours at work hunched over my computer, and stress was simply a way of life, while health, sleep, exercise, and food were the last things on my mind.
Over the years, I have tried so many different approaches to lose weight – some harmful, some useful, but I also learned many valuable lessons by experimenting. I quickly learned that obesity is complex, and that the community understanding is both simplistic and inadequate. It was this dissatisfaction with the results of my own self-experiments, that spurred me to go back to University for a second time – this time to study health and to pursue academic research in weight-loss.
I am now five years down this path, and while I haven’t found the silver bullet – I do know that our progress in understanding obesity is deeply impacted by the way society thinks and acts about the issues. This won’t change – and solutions will not be found for individuals, nor for society without the perspectives of the people who live it. We need to be sitting at the table, being heard, and having our opinions respected.
Meeting like-minded people who care… then together establishing Weight Issues Network has been a work of hope and desire for change. I dream about finding some answers while tackling stigma, creating a safe space to speak about challenges, creating a platform to share perspectives and stories, helping to educate the medical and wider community.