At 19 years old and 300 pounds, Friedrichsen was given a wake-up call during a visit to the doctor. At such a young age, she was forced to come to terms with the fact that her obesity was becoming a serious health hazard. According to her doctor, unless the young woman shed the weight, her odds of living past 40 years old were slim.
Her issues with overeating stemmed from her parents' divorce when she was 5 years old. As her parents’ relationship began to wither, her dependency on food grew stronger. According to the Daily Mail, Friedrichsen would consume a whopping 8,000 calories a day.
“I would snack almost nonstop after having dinner,” she told Daily Mail. “I always ate until the food was literally up to my throat, but I just couldn’t stop.”
Eating became Friedrichsen’s coping mechanism, an addiction that would linger for years to come.
We’ve all heard the term “comfort food,” and it wouldn’t surprise me if more than half of us have had our fair share. We reward ourselves with food (cake to celebrate another year living), and we console ourselves with food (drowning our broken hearts in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s). There are those who develop eating disorders against food consumption and those who consume too much. Somehow the severity of both emotional imbalances has been lost in translation over the years. One is considered a disease, while the other a lack of self-control.
“Most people think it’s because you're lazy, stupid and not able to take care of yourself,” Friedrichsen continued. “But it’s not always about that. It’s about having deep issues with food.”
Some people are addicted to caffeine to get them through the day. Others are obsessed with making it to the gym six times a week to make sure their bodies don't lose tone. A handful of people cannot go a few hours without a drag to calm their nerves. We all have our coping mechanisms, so who are we to judge others for their own?
There are those who become overweight because of health issues, others as a result to apathy, but there is a majority of overweight women and men who look to food as comfort and genuinely get carried away. There are so many emotional factors that play a role in obesity, and it is disappointing just how many people can look at someone overweight and judge them.
Friedrichsen's story is a prime example of how the overweight community is often misunderstood. Unfortunately our society is built upon assumption. We see what we want to see, and if it does not make sense to us, then it is dismissed. Every person has a story, and whether they are a size 0 and starving or a size 20 and bingeing, they each deserve not only our compassion but a significantly closer look.
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