Dealing with disease

— Mary, of Overeaters Anonymous: “Some doctors don’t believe (compulsive eating) is a health problem. That it’s our fault. It really isn’t anybody’s fault when they have a disease, and this is a disease. Like cancer, it’s nobody’s fault that they got it, but they got it.”

“None of my health problems have anything to do with my weight ... losing weight would help with the other problems, but it’s not the root cause like with diabetes and heart disease.”

— Debby Joling of TOPS Inc. (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly): “We had a member who recently died because obesity got the best of her. She told me she wished she had found our group sooner because it would have helped her feel better about herself, helped with her self esteem.”

“Internally all people have the same desires: find friends, achieve good things in life, work hard.”

A matter of respect

— Debby Joling: “I think there is a lack of respect toward people who are obese because of their size, a lack of being taken seriously ... Weight is such a visible thing that the people looking at them can look harshly and be judgmental about them ... They can be the most highly effective president of a company and feel they haven’t been able to do this one task of taking care of themselves.”

— Laura Dietrick: “Me? I don’t care what other people think.”

— Patrice Haywood: “It took me a long time to get to that.”

— Valeria Hyde: “I don’t fit into a box. This is me.”

— Mary: “How would I like people to respond to anybody that’s obese? Like they would to anybody else. We are normal people. You treat an obese person the same way you treat anybody else ... I was in a restaurant in Kenosha and a heavier woman was getting food for herself and her children, and people were poking their fingers at her and laughing ... ”

Just the way we are

— Valeria Hyde: “(Our men) love us just the way we are. My husband doesn’t want me to lose any more weight ... some men prefer curves.”

— Laura Dietrick: “Mine just wants me to be healthy. I do yoga, zumba, walk a lot.”

— Patrice Haywood: “There’s nothing wrong with being plus size, nothing wrong with being thin. Love the life you’re in. Love who you’re in. Dress your curves ... Size 14 is the average now. We are the norm.”

— Valeria Hyde: “I just want everybody to feel comfortable in the skin they’re in ... The myth is that we’re lazy, eating chocolate all day and diabetic.”

— Laura Dietrick: “Society needs not to look at us and think we’re lazy. There are a variety of reasons (people gain excessive weight) ... You should look at people like they’re people.”

— Valeria Hyde: “Unfortunately we don’t live in that world.”

— Patrice Haywood: “I was told by a doctor I was morbidly obese, and it made me cry. At the time, I thought he was being insensitive. I didn’t feel it was helping me. Give me the tools to help me ... I think they (doctors) need sensitivity training.”

— Valeria Hyde: “That happened to me in California. My doctor said, ‘Don’t you want to be healthy and happy for your kids?’ I said, ‘Damn it, I am!’ ”

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