On The Outside Looking Thin

Hi, everyone.  This is Tonya's friend, Julie (sometimes known as The New Mrs. Barr).

Tonya has asked me to do a guest blog for her about my experiences in the past year.  You may remember that I had lap-band surgery and have recently lost a lot of weight.  

Before we start, and just as a little background, my BMI at my heaviest was 42.   
According to the National Health Institute, a person with a BMI of over 30 is considered obese.   
Some BMI calculators say that if you have a BMI of over 40, you are considered morbidly obese.   
Now I’m down almost 90 pounds, my current BMI is 29.3, which puts me in the “overweight” category.  

For many naturally thin people, or for those who have never experiencing a weight problem, the life of an obese person is an unknown.  Since I’ve now experienced both sides of the spectrum, I’d like to shed a little insight on some of what obese people go through every day.

Sometimes, just sitting down is a scary thing:
There is a lot of publicity on the size of airline seats, and certainly for an obese person, asking for a seat belt extender can be a very humiliating experience (I had to do it on my honeymoon)…but some obese people can’t fit comfortably in a restaurant booth.

Imagine the hostess taking you to a table, and you are consciously trying to figure out if the booth is far enough from the table to fit your body.

When you are obese, this happens every time you go into a restaurant. You either have to ask for a different table or you squeeze yourself into a booth and hope that you can stand to be uncomfortable for the duration of the meal.

Another example is a bucket seat in a car. Or a seat in a movie theater. Or an office chair.  Every time I walked into a new place, I had to wonder if my butt was going to fit in the chair when I sat down.

Sometimes, People Ignore You:
I love people and I love to shop.  However, sometimes, in some places, I was ignored by salespeople simply because of my size.

Last summer when I was shopping with Tonya in a boutique, I was completely ignored by the saleswomen in the store.  Although the clothing in the store wasn't available to fit me, I picked up a pair of sunglasses that retailed for $500 - still no one came over to help me.  (The beauty of accessories is that they fit everyone, a lesson the salesperson needed to learn.) 

The sunglasses looked fabulous on me and had I been addressed and talked to by a salesperson, I may have bought the things.  Their loss.  My money is good other places too. 

I say that now, but I remember being very hurt by the experience.  It happened more than once that day…and happens a lot more than you think to obese people everywhere.

And speaking of boutiques, this brings us to....

Clothing options are at a premium:
A year ago, if I found something I liked at a store, I usually bought two of them in two different colors.  You see, when shopping at Lane Bryant, Torrid or other plus size stores, your options are limited.  So if you found something that you thought looked good on you, better to pick up a couple of them so you had a couple of options. 

Now that I've lost weight, I can shop in so many more places with so many more options.

The other day I was out shopping with another friend and was talking about buying the same sweater in two different colors and she said to me, “Why would you do that? There has to be another sweater out there that you like just as much, and then you will have more of a variety.”

Variety in clothing was a foreign concept to me. As an obese person, you have limited choices.

Things are different now. I can wear “straight” sizes and the options are endless when it comes to clothing. 

I know that some people don’t understand how it is to be obese, I thought I’d shed a little light on some of the things that obese people face every day. 

I'm happy that Tonya asked me to share with you all.  If you'd like to hear more about my weight loss journey, you can check out my blog, A Life with Walter.
Image from here.


  1. Thank you so much for your honest and heart felt post Julie. I'm so happy to her that you are not struggling with so many of these challenges anymore, but it surely does bring to light that many others are. It also reminds a girl like me to hush up when she gains 5lbs. I've been so blessed, and never had to deal with most of these challenges. It's easy to overlook others who are dealing with them, and whose day could be ruined by such an ordeal :(

    I'm heading over to your blog now!

  2. Great post, Julie!! As your friend who only knows the skinny you, it brings tears to my eyes to read this. I admire your strength. xoxo


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