Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Keeping it real . . .

Last night Todd and I watched the first episode in a series on the BBC, entitled Miriam's Big Fat Adventure.  I really enjoyed it and found it quite enlightening.  It is a documentary presented by  Miriam Margoyles, who is herself an overweight woman, and it is about living with obesity. I could really identify with a lot of the people and situations that were presented on the program and I highly recommend the show. 

First quickly, some statistics about obesity in the UK.  (And I think you will find things to be pretty much the same in most Westernised nations, but I could be wrong, so don't quote me on that.)

Adult obesity in England 

The Health Survey for England 2017 estimates that 28.7% of adults in England are obese and a further 35.6% are overweight but not obese. Obesity is usually defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above. BMI between 25 and 30 is classified as ‘overweight’. The survey found that men are more likely than women to be overweight or obese (67.2% of men, 61.5% of women). People aged 65-74 are most likely to be overweight or obese.

In the most deprived areas in England, prevalence of excess weight is 11 percentage points higher than the least deprived areas.

Childhood obesity in England

9.5% of reception age children (age 4-5) are obese, with a further 12.8% overweight. At age 10-11 (year 6), 20.1% are obese and 14.2% overweight.Children living in deprived areas are more likely to be obese.

At age 4-5, 6.4% of those in the least deprived areas are obese, compared with 12.4% of those in the most deprived areas. At age 10-11, 13.3% of children in the least deprived areas are obese, compared with 26.7% in the most deprived areas. This gap has increased over the last decade.

Seeing that these statistics are from 3 years ago, you can almost guarantee that they are higher now.

You can read more about this television program here.

I  thought that many points brought out in the show were valid.  Fat people are marginalised, laughed at, held in contempt etc. in a way that most other groups of people would never be.  I guess what I mean by that is that a comedian for instance can make fun of fat people and the audience will join in and jeer and laugh right along with him, and nobody thinks twice about it. But if  he was making fun of gay people, or black people, etc. in the same way, modern society would boo him off the stage.  But fat people are people too.  Their feelings matter just as much as any other marginalised sector of society.  You wouldn't point and jeer openly at a transexual person, but many do just that to a fat person. 

I am a fat person.  I was not always a fat person.  I think I was quite normal sized as a child.  

This is me at age 8 or 9  think.  Perfectly normal sized. My mother had been overweight as a child, and her children were not going to be overweight.  She regulated very strictly what we ate or didn't eat.  My father struggled with his weight and has been obese or on the edge of obesity most of his adult life, as has many of his family.  My maternal Grandmother was obese as was my Aunt Freda, my mother's youngest sister.  I think it is safe to say that in our family there is a propensity towards being overweight. 


I got a bit chubby when I was 13 and 14, but that is quite common in girls I think, when they are going through puberty.  I slimmed down, got married, put on weight, took off weight, etc.  and this is a photo of me after having had five children. My youngest is about 8 or 9 months old in this photo.  I don't think I look too bad for having had all those babies. 

And then I quite smoking.  And I had my tubes tied.  All around this same time. Quitting smoking was probably one of the best things I ever did for myself, and I don't regret it one bit.  In fact I can no longer remember what it was like to smoke and I am grateful for that!  Having my tubes tied was something else.  It wasn't something I really wanted to do, but was forced to do. It was a terrible experience for me. The operation itself went well but when I went to get into the car to go home afterwards everything turned to chaos and I had to quickly be taken back into hospital, etc.  A totally horrendous experience.

I remember sitting in the bath about a week later on and crying.  Motherhood was so important to me, having babies, etc. I wanted a large family. I had always wanted a large family. Ten children would not have been too many for me.  I was very distraught that my ability to have more children had been taken away from me. 

Anyways, that is when the weight started to pile on.   And I dieted.  For the past thirty years I have tried every diet under the sun.  I have taken off tons of weight, and put tons of weight back on and more. I have walked millions of miles on treadmills.


What you see here is the result of years and years of dieting.  I think for every two pounds I have taken off I have put back on three.  I am obese, and what is clinically called morbidly obese.  I hate and loathe my body.  It scares me. A lot of my health problems can be directly related to my weight. I know it.  Nobody has to tell me.  I see it every time I look in the mirror.  I try to eat healthy most of the time, but I don't get enough exercise.  Osteo arthritis has stolen away a lot of my mobility.  Most days I cannot walk very far without being in excruciating pain.  My back. My hips. My knees. My ankles.  My neck.  Most days I am in pain from head to toe, but I do my best.  I really do. 

Healthy food is expensive.  At least it is here in the UK.  The government moans about how our children are getting fatter and fatter, but the fact is so long as a packet of green beans costs twice as much as a packet of sausage rolls, that's not going to get any better. 

I don't eat sausage rolls, or potato chips, or chocolate bars, etc. I don't drink sugary drinks.  I drink sparkling water and . . . every night, a small glass of prune juice. (Thank you diverticulitis.) I eat an apple every day.  I try not to eat bread and, when I do, I eat whole wheat bread.  I do have a weakness for potatoes and pasta.  I limit the amount of potatoes I have and when I eat pasta most of the time it is whole wheat pasta.  I eat on a sandwich plate, not a regular sized plate.  I can't remember the last time I ate a whole dessert.  I do like a taste, and feel quite deprived when I can't have one. 

One of the main reasons I did not fly back to Canada during the last few years of my mother's life (aside from my lack of money) was the fact that I am fat and I did not want to disappoint her.  I knew how my mother had looked at and judged fat people through the years and how much they disgusted her and so I did not want her to look at me and be disgusted.  Not that she would have, or at least I hope that she would not have  . . . but in my mind I could always hear her voice talking about other fat people and she was talking about me. 

Most fat people are not happy being fat.  Most fat people really do loathe their bodies.  Most fat people feel hopeless and helpless.  These are facts.  But, fat people have feelings too.  And just as you shouldn't marginalise gays, or muslims, or blacks, or aboriginals, or any number of other minorities (?) on the planet . . .  or poke fun at their expense, etc. you shouldn't do it to fat people either. 

I do not see myself as ever being thin.  That dream has died.  I decided a few years ago that all I was going to strive to do was to be/eat/act healthier or as healthy as I could and that's what I have done.  I will probably always dislike my body.  I will probably always wish I was thinner.  But I can still be happy.  I don't need to be judged by people who have never walked in my shoes or lived my life.  I probably know more about nutrition and food and eating than most people. I don't need educating. I am me, and . . .  aside from my weight . . .  I like me. I am a good person.  Laughing at me, or looking at me with disgust will not make me thinner.  Neither will judging me.

Just what was on my mind this morning. 


  1. Well, you are not alone in this battle, Marie!! I had toxemia with the first child and have had a horrid time of this ever since. I have heard that is not unusual with having had it. What you share is so very true...people think nothing of making fun of being in-laws were masters at this...funny thing, not a one of them minded putting their feet under my table however!! Some of them also managed to get fat with age...and heh, no more fat jokes!! Imagine that!! So I say in some ways, Time is the Great Equalizer!! I have often wondered if those who so hate fat people, think we stay awake at night praying to GOD to make us fatter!! There is one thing about it, were there a famine, we might be the last ones to survive it too!!
    Elizabeth xoxo

    1. People can be very cruel and mean without even realising it Elizabeth. We would either survive longer than them in a famine, or they would have a great feast off of us. I bet we would taste pretty goo in comparison, lol (what a horrible thought! Love is the answer to most things. If you just treat people like you care a out them or how you would like to be treated, that would go a long way! Love and hugs, oxoxo

    2. You are right we might taste sweet!! I DID make my very best recipes whenever those people came to stay a few days...usually they all GAINED weight at my table. I always tried to fix balanced meals, made from scratch, and healthy foods was not all treats by any means!! I know they did not eat hubby has had some adjustments to make in his eating habits with me...and also in the Navy he learned to eat a lot more variety as the food was really good there. We do the best we can...and I observed years ago that a lot of the more skinny folks were proud and did not guard at all what they said to time my dad (one of those types) was going on about how he CONTROLLED what he ate...etc etc etc. I replied:"Well, most people I have known have one of 2 problems...either what they put in their mouths or what comes out and if I have to have one or the other of these problems, then I choose it to be what I put in my mouth!" END of that conversation!! Haha...
      Elizabeth xoxo

  2. Replies
    1. I know you know what I am talking about Monique! Mean is mean. Love you! xoxo

  3. Marie, this post touched me deeply. I understand and have felt every word you wrote this morning.
    As a child I was obese. As a family, we had severe food insecurity and what we often ate wasn't healthy. You could never allow food to go to waste.
    As an adolescent and then as a young adult I carried that same mentality of "eat it while you can'. That state of mind helped me to pile on weight till I was morbidly obese.... Oh how I hate that phrase! And so I decided to do something about it. I stopped eating, and began exercising to extremes. The weight came off, you bet. But then when I began to eat again it piled back on, and the battle began in earnest.
    The yo-yoing has nearly killed me on more than one occasion when I was anorexic and had to be hospitalized and taught to eat again. I battle every single day... every single day my eating disorder rears it's ugly head.
    The jeers, the cruel words still ring in my ears. My family and more than once, my own Mother telling me that I would be so pretty if I lost weight. As though my weight was the only thing that defined me as a person.
    People do not realize the damage they can cause through their words and actions. They treat fat as though it is the worst thing you could possibly be. It angers me so much.
    No one has the right to judge another, no one has walked a mile in their shoes. I am now what my doctor calls a healthy weight and I don't believe that when people see me they would ever know the damage done. No one calls me names any more when I walk down the street but it's too late. Those wounds seldom heal. I can tell you this, I think I am a more compassionate person, and I hope more careful of my words than I might have been had I not endured. I think we all know there are worse things than being fat.

    Noëlle xoxo

    1. I know all about food insecurity. I can remember as a child telling myself that when I grew up I was going to eat whatever I wanted to eat. When we would get our allowance we would go right to the shops and buy treats, potato chips, chocolate bars, butter tarts. We were hungry and I think we developed very unhealthy attitudes towards food. I tell myself all the time, its okay if there is only one cookie left, I don't have to eat it. I can always buy more! Yes you are right, the wounds we bear make us more compassionate and caring towards to others. Yes, there are far worse things to be than being fat! Love you my sweet friend. xoxo

  4. I like to think of myself as pleasingly plump and not fat. If I should ever get sick I have some extra weight on so I won't go down hill quite as quickly as someone that is slim. I don't diet any more. I like to eat and enjoy good food, so why should I put my self through that. Life is too short to be anything but happy in my books. I've been the same weight for several years and haven't had to change clothes sizes thanks to fabrics tht stretch. Ha! i need more exercise and am working on that one. Other wise I'm happy to be me and don't beat myself up for being pump. Sometimes you just have to appreciate yourself for who you are. Be yourself, an original is always better than a copy they say!

    1. I have gone way past being pleasingly plump Pam! haha I haven't put any weight on the last few years, but I also haven't lost. It has somehow redistributed itself however. I always love LOVE your positive attitude towards everything. You are a treasure. xoxo

  5. Hi Marie, oh boy, I can sure sympathise with your personal struggle with weight. I, too, quite smoking but that was 22 years ago so can't still use that as an excuse, can I. What upsets me the most is that people often equate being overweight as some sort of character flaw! Hate that! And I'm as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow that your mom loved you to the moon and back regardless of your weight. Take gentle care and know that you are loved. Hugs, Elaine

    1. Exactly. Its not a character flaw. Fat people have feelings and are more often than not very self conscious about their weight. Its another form of bullying in my opinion to judge them harshly or make fun of them. And helps nobody, if anything it makes them worse. Oh, I know my mom loved me, I don't doubt that. She would have been quite disappointed in my lack of willpower or inability to control my weight though. I really feel that to be so. Love you Elaine! xoxo

  6. Hi Marie~

    You are beautiful!! I was reading your post and thinking just how much we really think the same...we really are twins ;-) I think you are just beautiful!! When I looked at your photo I didn't think anything at all about weight. I thought..."She is so pretty", "what a beautiful smile", "Marie looks so pretty in blue" and "I love her eyebrows!" I think we are always harder on ourselves than we should be. I am way over weight and it seems like I am always working on it...but it's hard. I loved, Pam's comment, she's my kind of gal! We need to take her advise and not beat ourselves up.

    Last Fall my kids wanted to have a family picture taken, I bucked them the whole way, telling them that I had to lose weight - I didn't have anything to wear - I hated having my picture taken...nothing worked! I finally caved because it had been 18 years since we had taken family photos, I only had 3 grandchildren then, and only one of my kids was married. I was pretty ashamed of myself for acting that way. One of my granddaughters finally said, "I love you just like you are, and I want my grandchildren to see your beautiful face...please have pictures taken with us". Talk about guilt, I felt so bad. But it's true, we are who we are, and we are loved. I think that one of my problems is that I sometimes think about the past too much, about how I looked when I first got married, or when I was in high school...50 years ago! I need to remember that I have a husband who loves me just like I am, and that he would love me just the same if I lost weight, the same way he loves me now.

    My mother wasn't kind about my weight either, it used to hurt my feelings. As a child we were always dieting, I think that's why I feel the way I do today about weight and dieting. I'm pretty sure that if our mom's could tell us how they feel now, they would tell us to carry on and not worry about our weight. They would tell us that they love us just like we are, and can't wait to put their arms around us and give us a kiss.

    You are doing so good by staying the same weight and not gaining, I call that a victory!! I know so many who just go up and down the scale, and that's not healthy.

    Hang in there, Marie!! I'm always here to cheer you on, no matter what!! Love you XOXO

    Hugs and Love,

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts and words Barb. I do allow my photo to be taken sometimes, but it causes great anxiety for me. I only allow it because we have nil photos or very few of my maternal grandmother and that is because she wouldn't let anyone take them due to her weight issues. We all would so very much have loved to have some. So I let my photo be taken and then I don't look at it if I can help it, lol Oh, I can hear the moaning and groaning now when they have to carry my coffin, lol. I shouldn't laugh but there will be some severe complaining going on then! Love you Barb! xoxo


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