My 400 lb life may seem like click bait; but I promise you it is not! My name is AP and I really am 400+ lbs…440 (depending on the day lol) to be exact. Most of you reading this are probably cringing at the very thought of ever being my size. It’s probably made you want to chuck the carbs and go on keto. However, what you feel is none of my business.
I’m just here to share what life is like at this size and how I feel about it.
A Little Background
One doesn’t wake up and say, ” I want to step on a scale and be over 400 lbs.” I mean, it’s a possibility someone could, but I certainly didn’t. Around the age 11, I started to realize my weight was climbing. By the time I hit high school I was anywhere between 230-250 depending on the day.
I was a very active as young kid and even as a teenager. Believe it or not, I ran, jumped hurdles and walked everywhere. I didn’t have a super healthy diet, but I also didn’t eat much different than my peers.
It wasn’t long before I desired to be smaller because everyone around me was seemingly slimmer than me. Jenny Craig and Slim Fast advertisements were common on television and my doctor made me feel awful. My family made jokes about my weight, all in good fun; but it hurt nonetheless. I developed an unhealthy view of food and dieting and eventually became a binge eater up until I got pregnant.
Through my early twenties to late twenties I hovered between 300 and 360 lbs for years. This never impeded my quality of life, never stopped me finding romance, or doing the things I wanted to do.
How Did I Get to Be Over 400 lbs
Honestly, I don’t have an answer. It could be several different factors. Health issues, change in eating habits, developing arthritis lead to a more sedentary lifestyle, depression, stress and the list can go on and on. I honestly stopped looking for an answer because all it did was upset me.
Learning I was over 400 lbs hit me like a ton of bricks because it felt so sudden. The reality is, my weight had started climbing gradually without my noticing. There were signs like my clothes fitting different, but physically I felt normal for the most part. My knees hurt a bit more, and I definitely felt more winded than I had in the past.
I didn’t feel like my life was falling apart. I was still having an active sex life with my husband, I was still walking around, going to the store, being active at my kids school, going out socially etc. The truth is, I didn’t really feel different….at first.
What Changed After Hitting the 400 lb Mark
A lot of things changed after exceeding 400lbs, but the things that changed the most weren’t because I gained weight. When I first found out I had arthritis, I convinced myself it was because I was fat. The orthopedic doctor kindly explained I had a genetic defect that caused it. However, excess weight definitely makes the pain worse.
The thyroidectomy contributes to weight gain; but I didn’t have to have it removed because of my weight. However, there was a guilt there for a moment because according to the professionals; weight is the cause of every bad thing. I believed that for so long.
Being over 400lbs definitely changed my ability to shop in store, fit comfortably in seats in public spaces. I also found myself being bombarded more by strangers on the internet offering teas, a “lifestyle” change, keto diets, AIP , cleanses etc. Being visibly larger than I was was became like an open invitation for commentary on my body and lifestyle regardless of people not knowing me.
What Didn’t Change
Thankfully, my confidence and resilience didn’t change due to weight gain. I’ve had far more depression episodes over my arthritis and thyroid woes than I have my weight. My husband still loves me the same and my sex life is still great. My friends are still my friends, my kids are who they’ve always been and the quality of my life is not contingent on my weight.
You know what else didn’t change? People having an unconscious bias to my unapologetic existence. The same unsolicited ideas and thoughts fly, just more pervasively.
The Take Away
I don’t know what you expected to learn reading this; my hope is you’ve learned something. I am not encouraging anyone to gain weight or live a specific lifestyle that leads to being my size. But I’m also not condemning myself or anyone who is my size or larger. Who I am, the content of my character; none of these things are because of my weight.
My point in sharing this story is I could be anyone. There’s nothing extraordinary about being my size or my lifestyle! My existence isn’t some amazing feat. My wearing sleeveless shirts, dresses, crop tops, going out in public is not an act of bravery that should be applauded nor is it a reason for your disgust, disrespect or pity.
The reality is, a person’s weight is none of your business (unless they choose to discuss it with you). Offering up your unsolicited advice or thoughts about a person’s weight is just rude and unnecessary ESPECIALLY if you’re only compelled to do this when you see an obese person.
Whatever size I am, where ever my health journey takes me; I am committed to loving myself at all stages of the process.
Thank you for coming to my Ted x Talk!