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The journey to discovering what it means to be loved…

Using a combination of health and wellbeing coaching, and lived experience, I’ll help you break your body shame chains for good.

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What does it feel like to be free from obesity?

It had been a week since my last cappuccino and I was desperate for the frothy, milky, coffee drink. After ordering, I sat with my friend Jean, in the sunshine beneath gum trees. This was a refreshing place to be after a week in hospital.

Trees swayed in the wind and birds chirped and jumped from branch to branch. The seats around us were filled with others enjoying coffee as they chatted with their friends.

But something was different. I noticed there was silence. This was a silence I had never experienced in my life. It was powerful, making insignificant the voices of those around me. There was no ‘static’ in the air, no distraction from the present moment.

I looked around at the happy faces, not one person was staring at me. For a moment I wondered if I was imagining it, so I asked my friend if she could see anyone looking our way. She turned her head to search the seats surrounding us, “No. No one is looking”.

I asked, “What did they used to do?” ”They would mock and laugh,” she said.

For the first time in my life, I was not the object of shame in a public setting. Like an elephant in the room, the attention had been focussed on me. From a small child I had been a source of mocking and bullying, an object of scorn and shame. The feelings of shame were all too familiar. Without lifting my head, I knew others were staring at me, having rubbernecked toward my direction. The critical stares penetrated deep into my soul, destroying my self-esteem.

I knew what they thought. “How could she be that fat?”, “She mustn’t have any self-respect”, “Why doesn’t she do anything about it?”. And I had never known any different. But today was different. I had just undergone surgery to remove excess skin and flesh. My body no longer drew attention. I was free, free of the shallow judgment for my appearance. Now I could be comfortable in public. Pure joy filled me. I was invisible. It had taken a dramatic change in lifestyle to get to this point. There were no easy solutions for me, just small steps. Morbidly obese from early childhood, stress had been part of my life and food was comfort for my emotional pain. I had reached over 250 kg and I was tired, depressed, my body ached, and walking any distance was nearly impossible.

But my life was changed dramatically by the discovery that I mattered, was loved, and valued. This gave me the will to live and the inspiration to create a new life. Over time I lost over half my body weight and have maintained it since. I have not been on a weight loss journey, but a journey to discover what it means to be loved.

In love, Jenny

MBA FMCHC Member of HCANZA

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