by Kelly Moen
Kelly Moen is an active patient advocate and vice-chair of the Obesity Canada Public Engagement Committee. Kelly and his wife Cathy gave a talk about living with obesity and the impact on family earlier this year. This topic has inspired Kelly’s family to write a series for our CONDUIT newsletter. In this first installment Kelly gives his perspective.
I have always wanted to be a dad. I didn’t think there was anything greater than being a dad, and I always wanted a family. What I didn’t plan on was being the fat dad, or a fat husband. I remember always being the larger kid. The earliest diet I can remember I was put on was in grade four. It was then I recall understanding I was not an average body type. I was large. No matter the number of times I would work toward being smaller, I would, in the end, become larger. Over time I can remember telling myself, “Kelly, come on, you can do this, you don’t want to be the fat dad.” Yet, here I am, still fighting obesity with two amazing kids and one amazing wife.
Although I fought becoming a fat dad through diet and exercise, the fat was still there, and I only became larger. While I still work towards better health every day, I wanted to make sure my family never suffered weight bias the way I had in life.
When my two boys came into my life, I wondered how I was going to protect them, and how to model positive, healthy behaviours rather than my insecurities. It was at that point that I made the decision to move forward, past the shame weight bias promotes, past the looks, the comments and model confidence, self-worth, character and integrity.
Promoting my newfound tenacity to move past shame was one of the most vulnerable places I had ever gone, and I had to have the best game face when I needed it: in front of the kids. Being vulnerable meant picking up the hockey stick, basketball or anything to play with at the park after school. It also meant every weekend was putting on skates, hiking shoes or a swimsuit, regardless of the looks, laughs and comments. For the most part, we are successful with our weekends; however, there was always some form of weight bias to deal with. However, the incident only created resilience, and I would get to practice my poker face teaching my kids to come up higher, and, that all people matter, even the ones who discriminate against those who have obesity.
The years I have spent working my plan of vulnerability, the resilience I have gained, the amazing character my kids demonstrate, even at a young age, I consider a success.
I have lost some weight, which I have managed to keep off with various tools. This has helped me gain a healthier body, and it has moved me closer to my health and fitness goal. I have also found new respect for myself and others.
Most of all, I have found a new definition of fat. My life with my family as the fat dad will never belong to shame, because everybody matters, and we will always be Fabulous And Together. F.A.T.