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My names is Angela Chesworth and I’m a person living with obesity. 

I have spent 38 years trying to control my increasing body weight and I believe I always will. 7 years ago, I received Bariatric Surgery as a treatment for the complex Disease of Obesity. A Gastric Bypass really was my only chance to achieve a healthy weight after many years of following the Eat Less Move More advice, no matter how hard I tried I would lose weight only to regain it and more. 

Now that I know more about the Disease of Obesity, I know Eat Less and Move more. Alone will never make me healthy. Obesity is complex and needs a complex toolbox of treatments and support tailored to the individual’s needs. If we eat healthy nutritional foods and be as active as possible, this will assist ANYBODY live healthier. However if you live with Obesity there are so many complexities which contribute to how our body functions.

Biology, Metabolism, Sleep Pattens, Environment, Comorbidities to name a few.

The benefits of Bariatric Surgery are that weight loss tends to be rapid with good long-term results for many, and patients often see swift improvements in Obesity related health conditions. My sleep Apnea has been placed in full remission. In my opinion Bariatric Surgery as a treatment for Obesity is not just about losing weight. Bariatric Surgery more importantly is about Gaining Better Health. 

As Covid19 has unravelled, I have been on a roller coaster of emotions and challenges. Like many people who live with Obesity I have numerous other health issues, one being Anxiety. 

Please watch the video below to witness the effects of a panic attack which I filmed approximately 3-4 weeks into the start of the pandemic. 

Covid19 has magnified my Anxiety bring new barriers I have to overcome, in order to live a health happy life. My internal thoughts of, over thinking, fear, and feelings of being out of control have been overwhelming at times. 

Do my health issues put me at a higher risk of death if I contract Covid19 ? 

I might have lost 10 stone but what if 30 years of living with obesity has damaged my organs?

On paper my BMI does not put me at high risk but what if the damage is already done? 

Feelings of pure excitement at the thought of a vaccine protecting me against this invisible killer. Quickly overpowered by concern and fear. 

  • Is it safe? 
  • Do I want the vaccine? 
  • Who do I listen too? 

Media around the world reporting contradictory articles. People living with Obesity included in the high-risk category, being spoken about on T.V, Radio and Newspapers, in such a damaging weight bias way of reporting. Fuelling the resentment some members of society already have, because they believe we have brought it on ourselves, that we are uneducated, unmotivated, weak, lazy and gluttons.

Healthcare professionals debating facts and data. 

Governments telling us we must ACT ON THE SCIENTIFIC FACTS, yet they choose not to act on the scientific evidence that proves OBESITY IS A DISEASE!!  WHY??? 

In the mix of confusion, speculation, and fear. People have shown their true community spirt, reaching out to neighbours in need. Volunteers putting themselves at risk to provide help and support and our key workers standing strong for the good of others whilst facing their own challenges. 

At the age of 48 I am not yet vaccinated; I protect myself the only way I can. I wear a mask; I keep my distance and I only go out of the house if it’s necessary. Not only to protect me but to protect others. I follow the guidelines the government advise but even they do not fully understand Covid19 or how it will develop in the future. 

In these uncertain times all I can control is ME!

Pre-Covid19 I worked so hard to educate myself to the nutritional value of food, changing my mindset to viewing food as a fuel and not as a comfort or punishment. 

I addressed my phycological issues regarding weight stigma and bias which I have been subjected to over the years. I surrounded myself with likeminded people who see me as Angela and not just what I Weigh. I would be active, enjoying my newfound freedom to be outside, taking part in activities I would only ever spectate. All thanks to the tool of my Bariatric Surgery. 

We have all experienced the feeling of isolation, loneliness and being restricted to living life. In my experiences as a person living with Obesity This has been nothing new!! 

At 24 stone I would stay at home for fear of judgement and ridicule. 

The feeling of being alone because people assumed I was not trying hard enough to lose weight, like it was a choice to live in my body. Not wanting to be in situations that I had no control over, for example friends choosing a restaurant unaware I would struggle to sit in the small chairs, or even worse a booth and do not forget the new trend of high stools!! The humiliation and embarrassment would be pure torture. 

My hope for the future as we approach lockdown restrictions being lifted would be:

  • That we learn by this experience and remain vigilant.
  • That we continue the importance to be kind not only as individuals but as communities. 
  • That we appreciate the small things in life that we have taken for granted. A Hug, A Chat, A Smile. 
  • That we recognise the phenomenal work ALL our Key Workers achieve on a daily basis and treat them with respect. 

My biggest hope is that we continue to listen to the scientific evidence regarding ALL health conditions and our Governments, Policy Makers, Media and Society as a whole act accordingly. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring, but what I do know is that this vaccine is my greatest protection against something that is out of my control. Until I receive my much-awaited invitation I will continue to achieve everything I possibly can to live happy and healthy. 

I eat nutritional food as a fuel. 

I keep active with walks and gardening. 

I protect my mental health only listening to trusted sources of information. 

And I value the people I have in my life. 

I will choose to be vaccinated to help my body fight against Covid19, just like I chose Bariatric Surgery as a treatment to help my body fight against the Disease of Obesity. 

Wishing you Good Health and Happiness.

Written by Angela Chesworth (Person living with obesity), Monday 12th April 2021