Caregivers are special people. They give to others because they love people, and they enjoy opportunities to make a difference in the world . But there are many caregivers who struggle with weight issues, and have felt the eyes of judgement, shame and discrimination from others. And many times, these people are not strangers at all, but family and friends!!
How do you think obese caregivers are treated socially in the world of public opinion?
Lori became obese after having a baby in her mid-forties. Hormonal imbalances caused her to become 85 pounds heavier than she was in her twenties and when she would see people in social situations, she was shocked to see how she was being received. In the past, when she was beautiful and thin, people were upbeat and positive (especially the men.) But once Lori became obese, some people (not many, but enough to hurt), were not only thoughtless, but outwardly cruel to her. And many times these people were not strangers, but family friends!
Lori saw a friend, (a social worker by profession who was a guest at her wedding), at a mountain retreat in upstate NY after not seeing her for years and the woman, in front of 8 people said, "Wow, I (pause with a shocked look on her face), "I didn't recognize you at all !" As Lori went to hug her, she pushed her away. Later, at the same retreat, Lori was standing in the food line holding a paper plate and the woman in front of her (a doctor), looked at her with a (Why are you eating? You are so fat!), look on her face said, "Are you having another baby? You've got quite a pouch on you?"
A month later a very close friend of Lori's died suddenly in a car accident. Lori didn't go to his funeral because she felt people would judge her because of her weight gain.
Lori's mother had a 75th birthday party. Lori, who was petrified to face her relatives, hadn't been home in over 4 years because of her weight gain- joined Curves, went on a diet and literally starved herself for 6 months before the party. When the party day happened, there was a slideshow. In the slideshow there was a picture of Lori and her mother on her wedding day. Lori was 125 pounds in the picture. When the crowd of 50-plus friends and family saw the picture, there was a large GASP in the audience. The entire crowd in that second brought the message of judgement back to Lori in a very public way, who was now obese.
What people don't realize is that obese people don't want to be fat, and that calorie control alone is not always the answer for people like Lori with hormonally induced obesity. Lori was not an over eater, or lazy. Family members would anonymously send diet tips to her email inbox thinking she was gorging herself with food all day, unable to control her caloric intake. And one family member, every time she would return to her home state would give her a lecture on the dangers of weight gain. Lori truly wanted to die feeling shame and public humiliation by her newly found appearance, and at her mother's 75th Birthday party wanted to shrivel up in a corner and die.
A year later, Lori opened a Facebook account, and a few days later attended a weekend retreat in the country. A woman took candid pictures of Lori when she was registering for the retreat. When she returned from her trip, she opened Facebook, and saw her picture was circulating around the world. And the captions underneath were not complementary. Two women were making comments on Lori's weight.
Lori bumped into another friend a few years ago who she hadn't seen in over 20 years. "What happened to you?" Lori thought she was talking about where she had been. "You have really let yourself go. You used to be so pretty. Aren't you worried about your health?" Lori stopped attending retreats, and started isolating herself from people, and from social situations.
Recently, after using a life-changing nutritional product ( www.caregiversgetfit.isagenix.com), Lori dropped 60 pounds. She literally felt fabulous and her self esteem was flourishing. She started going out in public on dates with her husband again (the first time in 13 years), and scheduling social activities with friends.
When Lori gained back 25 of the 60 pounds from becoming a 24/7 caregiver, she started becoming camera shy again. Her family didn't understand why she wanted to edit their Facebook pictures of her, or why she would be angry if they would post things that showed her looking even a little heavy, without giving her the satisfaction of seeing the photos first. There would be conflict, and disagreements over this. Was Lori being a little extra sensitive? "It's just a picture!"
But until someone has worked hard every day to lose 85 pounds of extra weight for 15 years, and has seen the cruelty first hand in a few (and it only takes a few), people's words, eyes and actions causing social isolation - maybe they just don't know. Maybe they just don't know.
Copyright 2015 Caregivers Get Fit! Mama Nicey
The information in this blog is information. It is not meant to be a replacement for getting medical advice from your own health professional regarding your own individual health challenge or condition. Dr. Denise will not diagnose, treat, or give direct personal consultations/advice to you on this blog for any medical condition, but will give general examples, and scientific research on many different health topics. How you decide to use the information is between you and your own medical/ health professional.