January is such an incredibly significant month for me. It brings the beginning of a New Year, it brings my Birthday on the 4th – I have been on this Earth for 54 years now, and today, January 12, is my 12 year surgeversary – the anniversary of the day that I received life changing bariatric surgery in 2009. 12 years post-surgery and I have maintained a loss of 135 pounds. It has NOT been easy. I am no longer 505 pounds, but I am still hated.

375 pounds… what an achievement! So many victories during a life journey where obesity has plagued me for 42 plus years. So much has changed for me. What hasn’t changed though is the weight bias, the fat-shaming, the bullying, the name calling, the incredible insensitivity that has been hurled at me again and again over those last 42 years of my life. Hurled at me, and those who live with the chronic disease of obesity – for no other reason than that we carry extra weight.

Each day that I breathe, each day that I am given another day, I fight to change how the world sees those who live with obesity. We are people. We have feelings – we laugh, we cry. Obesity affects every single family in the world – even those who are hurling the hurtful, biased words or comments. We all know someone who lives with obesity… a mother, a father, a sibling, an aunt or uncle, a grandparent, a cousin, a best friend, a co-worker… they are hurting.

For the last 42 years of my life, shaming, bias, bullying, hating… HAS NOT WORKED!!! Let’s try understanding… let’s try compassion… let’s try kindness… let’s try dignity and respect.

On this, the 12th anniversary of my bariatric surgery, 130 pounds lighter, feeling AMAZING, I am still considered to be morbidly obese… and I still regularly endure weight bias and hate.

Let’s make the world a better place people, for every single person who inhabits it.

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