Jennifer Lee is part of a 'fat activist" movement, which claims that correlations between weight and health are exaggerated and unfairly shame fat people. 'You can't actually tell someone's lifestyle or health by looking at them," she says. Jennifer says that after trying countless diets since a very young age, she is no longer trying to lose weight. Jennifer Lee is a lecturer at Victoria University.
Leeann and Breanna Cox
Leeann Cox and her 20-year-old daughter Breanna both underwent lap band surgery last year after a string of failed diets. A year after her surgery, Leeann has lost 46kg and couldn’t be happier. 'It's definitely not the easy option but it's a tool for you to work with," she says. After seeing her Mum’s success, Breanna decided to have the surgery too. At the time she weighed 85kg and said diets and exercise hadn’t helped. 'I was hungry all the time," she says. Since she had the surgery six months ago, Breanna has lost 22kg.
Kate Finlay says she tried everything to lose weight before resorting to surgery "” from pills bought on the internet, to the Beyoncé lemon detox diet. Within months of having lap band surgery, Kate had lost 52kg. 'I thought I was king of the world," she says. But soon after, things started to go wrong. She was vomiting daily, was constipated for up to 20 days at a time and had liver failure. She also had complications after having plastic surgery to remove excess skin.
Wendy Brown has performed about 1,000 lap band operations over the last ten years. The surgery is usually recommended for people with a body mass index (BMI) of over 40, or those with a body mass index over 35 who also have obesity-related conditions such as diabetes. While the surgery is not risk-free, Wendy says 'currently, the only durably effective treatment for obesity is bariatric surgery". Wendy Brown is the director of the Centre for Obesity Research and Education, and is an associate professor in the Department of Surgery at Monash University.
Godefa B G’her
Godefa B G’her weighed 48kg when he migrated to Australia from Ethiopia. Within just a few years his weight nearly doubled. 'As a refugee you live in a very desperate situation and once you come to Australia, you've got everything. You've got the food," he says. He became so big he struggled to put on his shoes. But when he visited Ethiopia at his heavier weight, his friends and family thought he looked good. Godefa eventually lost about 20kg through exercise and diet.