The Shame and Guilt of Morbid Obesity

I really hate the term Morbid Obesity, but it is my reality at this time. I’m severely overweight and I’m struggling every day to deal with it. I’m not at my biggest (and, of course, nowhere near my smallest) but I’m not healthy (yet) and I want to change my ways. There’s no magic pill or magic formula for me at this weight, but I don’t have to live with the shame and guilt of Morbid Obesity every day and I’m putting it all out there (as I always do) this week in this Fatty Friday post.

You may have noticed that I didn’t post last week for Fatty Friday. I don’t know how many people are following my struggle, but if you are, I apologize. I needed a break. I took a break. I needed to wallow in my sadness, shame, and guilt because I gained last week.

I gained 2.4 lbs last week.

There it is for you, folks. I’m back under 40 lbs lost again and I was/am bummed about it. I keep these posts going for the accountability and for the sharing of my journey, but I failed. I didn’t want to be accountable for the cake that I ate at my son’s SpongeBob SquarePants party. I didn’t want to be accountable for the pizza and nachos that I ate. I didn’t want to be accountable for the days following that weekend when I just didn’t eat “right” for several days in a row. I took the lazy, hiding, shameful route and I just didn’t post. That’s the full truth of it all.

Following that weekend, I decided to get back on track and eat “right” again and things would be okay. I’ve gained before during this journey and bounced right back and lost even more than I gained. Remember over the holidays when I gained and then lost it all the next week? Well, my “plan” didn’t work. I just kept eating. I kept craving sweets and giving in to the cravings. At one point during this past week, I text my husband at least three times saying I wanted chocolate cake. I do this to him from time to time as a joke, but he figured after three texts that I was serious. I was. I wanted chocolate cake. That night I ate chocolate cake.

So, when Howard said that he needed to be off the appetite suppressants this week because he’s on antibiotics and that we could technically skip a week of weigh in because I would have two weeks of meds, then I just breathed a sigh of relief and decided that I could restart (again) and recommit (again) to get back on track. I’m not going to lie and say I’ve been perfect, but I’ve had a couple of days where I ate “right” according to our plan and on those days I felt great. I had one day where I just gave in to the cravings/convenience foods and the following day I felt hungry and sluggish and guilty. So, I ate right again and now I think I’m back on it for the long haul.

Will I fail again (probably)? Will I have guilt over it (probably)? Will I continue to shame myself over it (probably)?

“Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” ~Oliver Goldsmith

The Shame and Guilt of Morbid Obesity

I know that everyone experiences life in different ways so I can only assume that people experience Morbid Obesity in different ways as well. Here are a few things that have struck me in the past and that I live with every day.

  • When I go to a buffet restaurant, I am always fully aware of all the people looking at me when I approach the restaurant, approach my table, and approach the buffet. Generally I don’t even visit the buffet more than once (that drives Howard insane because he says I don’t eat enough to make the buffet price worth it) and sometimes I might go back for more. I always imagine people looking at the fat girl going for more food and that’s why she’s fat. I have left places still hungry because I was too ashamed to get up and get something else, even it was a salad bar.
  • When I go to a restaurant and order something healthy, like a salad, or a particular meal minus the potatoes or rice, I always watch the server for an eye roll or a “whatever” type of look. Howard is particularly sensitive to this one as well because he likes to order a burger minus the bun, but still with all the veggies on it. Most waiters are fine with all of that, but we have seen a couple of “huh?” looks before. I just imagine that they are thinking, “look at the fat girl who is pretending to eat healthy”.
  • When I visit my son at school for a party or visit his teacher for a conference and I’m scared of sitting on those little chairs because I don’t want to hit the ground when they break. I’ve learned a way to “perch” on them so it looks like I’m sitting, but I’m really just sort of squatting. I can imagine the other moms thinking “look at the fatty who is going to break the kids’ chair”.
  • Finally, booths…we just can’t do them. When we enter a place that asks if we want a table or a booth and Benjamin LOVES to sit in booths and we have to say table. We also have to make sure that the table chosen for us is not too close to another table because we have to pull the chair out further than most people. I’ve had to wait for a different table before because of this happening. The hostess was so super nice about it, but I was mortified. Benjamin’s goal for us (he’s our cheerleader for now) is to get our “tummies smaller” so we can sit in a booth as a family.
  • And one more…our boy. I just don’t want him to get to the age where his friends or classmates start telling him that his parents are fat or treating him different because of this. He knows we’re fat. He knows he doesn’t want to be fat. He cheers us on to losing weight and we cheer him on for eating healthy with us and “gaining” weight as he gets taller. In some ways, I’m glad he’s seeing our struggle so that he can be different than us, but in other ways, I’m just ashamed that I couldn’t lose the weight before he started to notice.

All in all, my motivation for losing weight and feeling healthy is to just be healthy. I’m motivated by my boy and keeping up with him. I’m motivated by wanting to be around for him for many, many years. I’m motivated by the feeling I get on the days when I eat well. Today, I feel motivated. I’ll be back next week to let you know how I did with eating, starting to exercise, and weighing in after taking a week off.

Do you experience the shame and guilt of Morbid Obesity?

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  1. Kelly says:

    You’re already on the road to making positive changes in your diet and to your health. Don’t allow yourself to over think things and convince yourself you can’t do this or you’re failing. You can do this. You are doing this. Take it day by day, meal by meal, snack by snack. I know this is probably simplifying things, but my 5 year old is learning about choices and we’re really trying to empower and encourage her to make good choices and stack good choice upon good choice. I think the logic here could be used for anything, even food. Your quote says it all – you are going to fall, you just have to get up and keep going. You can do this, Janet! ((Hugs))

    • janet says:

      I love this idea of stacking one good choice on another good choice. It will definitely help me in my days of choosing what I eat. I can almost always start my day out right, but then I get off track later in the day.

  2. Brandi says:

    Janet, how brave of you to be willing to share your weight gain with us. The thing is, you are not unaware. You are human. You are good enough, and you can get healthy and you WILL get healthy. Those 2.4 pounds don’t mean that you’re a failure. I’m not obese, but I’m tremendously out of shape. I walked with Ayva to the store today, and walking up the hill, I had to stop and sit on the sidewalk because I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest. We start somewhere, though, and we try again.

    • janet says:

      Getting in shape is so far off my radar right now, but I know that it will be another struggle when I’m ready. Accountability is huge for me so posting weekly about my weight loss struggle has been a great thing for me. My life is about awareness of my addictions and I think that is the only way I am still here.

  3. Stacey says:

    I think that being healthy is so much more important that the numbers on the scale. When you are making healthy choices, the numbers work themselves out in the end. Good for you for making a commitment to try again and again! A healthy lifestyle takes a lot of practice and it’s definitely ok to fail from time to time! I hope you find more support and fewer eye rollers or judgmental judy’s during your journey!

    • janet says:

      Thank you, Stacey. This week turned out a lot better than I had hoped and I think putting it all out on the blog and getting support really helps!

  4. Rachel says:

    I have been there! Last year I was a #Mamavation mom and lost about seventy pounds, since then I have gained back more then I ever thought I would due to some unexpected health issues.

    Sometimes the best thing you can do is just take a step back, take some deep breaths and go back at it again when you are ready. There is no perfect formula, but you will get there. The biggest thing to remember is this is a marathon, not a sprint. Baby steps are going to make the longest, most life changing changes. 🙂

    • janet says:

      Thank you for the encouragement and congrats on the weight loss! Im sure you can lose it again. I’ve lost and gained 90 lbs and the last 3 yrs and I’m on my way to losing it again.

  5. Mo says:

    I just lost 30 pounds. Well, it took me months. But I did it. It’s not easy. I had knee surgery almost 3 months ago and I’m having complications so I haven’t been working out. Which translates to me sitting around which translates to me eating which translates to me gaining weight. Although, I have never been obese, I was unhappy and uncomfortable in my former state. I have gained 7 pounds back, but am completely freaked out because I worked so damn hard to get to where I got. It’s a constant battle and there is no other word for it but that it sucks. Hang in there. Just take it one day at a time. You’ll do it. You have plenty of support!

    • janet says:

      Thank you for the support. I need all I can get!

  6. Marta says:

    I’m so happy that you feel motivated again. KEEP IT UP. I think eating healthy/exercising is like any habit the more you do it the easier it is. The same happens when you “fall of the wagon” once you start eating brownies and not going to the gym it’s so easy to keep doing it. I think just remembering that even if you make me one mistake you don’t have to let it spiral into more is important. I’ve eaten way more than I should have in the last two weeks, but that doesn’t mean I have to do it today too. Today I can try to restart the healthy habits. I hope we can both keep up our motivation and not let past mistakes hold us back from tomorrow’s achievements!

    • janet says:

      I’ve definitely felt better this week and I’ll find out tomorrow if I did any more damage to the scale. 😉

  7. 2 years ago I was 224lbs today I am 137lbs. You will have bumps along the way. I still get cravings (I ate 2 chocolate cupcakes last night). You can have bumps just dont let them turn into mountains. Dont give up. I have found restricting myself always lead to failure. If I wanted sweets i ate them i just would eat smaller portions or find a healthier alternative. YOU CAN DO IT!

    PS. I promise people aren’t judging you at restaurants I never notice anyone . just my plate lol 🙂

    • janet says:

      I don’t know why I think people are judging me at restaurants. It’s not like I’m sitting around judging other people. Weird, huh?

  8. Kristin Estok says:

    Wow, your honesty in this post really moved me. Your words and realness are so beautiful. Seriously! Good for you speaking out about your struggles. That quote you put in this post is so true and beautiful. Your son will see you rising each time you fall and that will speak VOLUMES to him. That is one of the best lessons we can teach our babies. We will mess up. We will fall. We will make mistakes. But when they see mommy rise back up and give it a go again that shows our determination and our strength and motivation and that will raise up a strong willed, determined, and beautiful person. Oh, and stop worrying about those other eyes. If they have ugly thoughts and opinions towards you then forget about them! That is their problem and something they need to work on within their own soul. YOU are a beautiful person. I can’t wait to read more of your blog. I am your newest follower for sure! 🙂

    • janet says:

      Thank you, Kristin. I love finding out about new followers and by the way, I’m your newest follower, too. I just linked to your recent blog post about your dad in today’s post about my boy!

  9. Cynedra says:

    I could have written your post as so much of it is true. I just told someone that I really need to stay focused on me and eating healthy for a while, but I like food. I totally can relate to the chairs thing at school. I was so relieved today when I saw an adult size chair that I could sit it.

    • janet says:

      I love food, especially sweet food and savory food and edible food, really. Those little chairs at school…argh!

  10. Shell says:

    I’m fully convinced everyone’s weight fluctuates from week to week. So don’t let that get you down.

    It breaks my heart that you have so many worries when you are out and about- I wish you didn’t feel that anxiety or that judgment. xo

    • janet says:

      Thank you, Shell. I know that my weight can fluctuate and I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. I should just take my lumps (no pun intended..or maybe it was) when I eat something bad and just move on.

  11. MJ says:

    It’s a marathon, not a sprint, this getting healthy business. I wish you the best and hope you cut yourself some slack. You’re back on track, and that’s the important part. Dropping by from Shell’s!

    • janet says:

      Thank you, MJ, this week has been much better and I’m hoping for good news tomorrow at my weigh in!

  12. Mari says:

    I know everything you’re talking about here. The important thing is to not beat yourself up. (And I will say this…there’s no reason for your shame because we all know exactly what it’s like. We’ve been there and will probably (more than likely) be there again at some point. My WW leader would never let me use the word “shame” because we shouldn’t feel ashamed. But, we still do nonetheless.)
    I did notice your not posting last week, but I didn’t even think about it being because you were feeling bad. I wish that thought had crossed my mind.
    I know ALL ABOUT not being able to sit at a booth. I met a new friend for the first time at a restaurant two weeks ago. When I sat down, my boobs plopped themselves right on that table as if they were going to share my meal with me. WHAT WAS THAT????? Had I been with my husband, I would’ve asked for a table because this fatty was too fat for the booth. But, I was with this brand new (skinny) friend whom I had never met in person and I was horrified. (My husband is skinny, too, but he’s used to me.) I just prayed she didn’t notice.
    Last Friday night, we were getting ready to go out (NOT for Valentine’s Day, though) and I decided to actually put some decent clothes on. I have normal pants (Read: non-stretchy) and they fit, but they aren’t comfortable. So, I never wear them. I chose to wear them Friday night. Imagine my mom’s horror when she answered the phone to hear her daughter bawling hysterically so that she couldn’t even relay what the problem was. I finally was able to calm down enough and breathe enough to say, “Mom, my pants don’t fit.” I couldn’t even get them over my hips. (The real kicker is…I had just worn them two weeks ago. Yes, folks, I gain weight THAT fast.)
    You would’ve thought that would’ve been my motivation. I did great Saturday. Ok on Sunday, and that was it. Yesterday, I got weighed at the plasma center, and I decided right then and there that whatever is tempting me is “not worth it”. I go in twice a week and you wouldn’t believe the stress of having my blood pressure and my pulse at an acceptable range. If I didn’t eat like I do, I wouldn’t have a problem. But, I don’t, so I do.
    A year and a half ago, we went to visit my brother in law and his wife whom we had never met. (This is my husband’s brother.) They took some pictures of me while we were out doing whatever we were doing and sent them to me. I have never been so horrified in my life. I promised him that the next time he saw me, I would not be that big.
    He just announced today that he’ll be here to visit in 5 weeks. Not only am I still just as big as I was before, but I’m at least 30 pounds heavier. EEK!

    So, girl – I feel your pain. One thing I want to remind you is: remind yourself who you are in Christ. You are a treasure that He died for. And, He didn’t just die…He was tortured. Because He LOVES you. And you aren’t fat to him. You’re his daughter. (Imagine if Benjamin was obese. Other than your concern for his health and happiness, he’d be nothing other than your precious son. How much more does God love us?)

    • janet says:

      Mari, I thought about you all day Friday when I knew I wasn’t going to post. I knew you would notice and I felt guilty. I just needed a break from it and I wasn’t ready to blurt out to the world that I had gained. I’m fine with it now (not much I can do now, right?). On the other hand, I love reading your stories and you make me think we would be great friends in person as well. Boobs eating dinner with us is a regular occurrence, haha! Just know that we’re in this together and we’ll struggle until we get there or we get to Heaven and God takes all this struggle away from us. You made me cry when I read your words about God loving me because it never even crossed my mind. I think it might be time to get back into the word a little more often so these words I type on the blog are a little more uplifting to others AND to myself!

      • Mari says:

        Don’t feel guilty. I completely understand. Ever since I’ve read your initial post on Friday, the words to this song have not left my mind:
        There is no guilt here
        There is no shame
        No pointing fingers
        There is no blame
        What happened yesterday has disappeared
        The dirt has washed away And now it’s clear

        There’s only grace
        There’s only love
        There’s only mercy
        And believe me it’s enough
        Your sins are gone
        Without a trace
        There’s nothing left now
        There’s only grace

        You’re starting over now
        Under the sun
        You’re stepping forward now
        A new life has begun
        Your new life has begun

        And if you should fall again
        Get back up, get back up
        Reach out and take my hand
        Get back up, get back up
        Get back up again

        “Only Grace” by Matthew West

  13. I’m on a weight loss journey myself right now. Have a fallen off? Yes. Have I berated myself? Yes, but not as HARD as you have. Back up off of yourself, woman. It is what it is, but you are changing it! You are moving away from one place and toward another. One day at a time. I’m loving your accountability, and I need to be more accountable. This week I gave up white sugar – for my weight loss journey and my health. I messed up one time – I ate a bagel thinking that would be okay. It sent me on a sugar crave craze and I wanted to eat all day long. I’ve done pretty good since that day, although I haven’t exercised as much as I would have liked. My goal for next week is to have my physical exercise match my plan. I encourage you to speak to yourself with words of kindness and love, even when you fall down! You can do this.

    • janet says:

      Thank you, Elizabeth, for this. I hadn’t even realized that I was berating myself in this post until you told me to back off. I appreciate you saying it.

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