'I'm a mid-size woman taking a weight loss drug. Please stop saying I'm part of the 'problem'.

Warning: This story includes descriptions of disordered eating. 

A year ago, I caught up with an old friend. 

The first thing I noticed about her was she was slimmer - and beaming about it. She couldn’t wait to tell me that she’d tried a new weight loss drug and had lost the weight she'd wanted to with ease. 

While you're here, watch: Why Lindy West will never be 'thin'. Story continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

I left that meet up with the name of the drug on a receipt in my purse, and a sense of excitement. 

I'm in my late twenties and I've always struggled with my weight. It doesn't help that I have 14H breasts, which according to a cursory Google search, stacks about an extra 2.8kg on the front of my body. 

I have been in therapy for about 12 years tackling my body image issues along with what I like to term my 'party bag' of other mental health challenges. Also, like most girls in my high school, I was diagnosed with bulimia at 17. 

All of this makes dealing with any extra weight extremely difficult for me.

After seeing my friend and learning about an apparently effective new weight loss drug, I went to see my GP. 

She ran blood tests and confirmed that while I am generally healthy, I have a few issues that are likely down to my weight, and she recommended weight loss.


I mentioned the drug that I'd heard of, but first she wanted me to research other weight management solutions, and sent me to a nutritionist for three sessions. 

After doing what she had asked, I returned, still keen to be prescribed the drug I was sure would help me. 

My BMI indicated that I was overweight in medical terms but not obese, and therefore under the weight required to receive the drug without comorbidities (related issues). Understanding that my large chest caused me back pain, some minor joint issues, and generally made my life more difficult, my GP made the call and provided the prescription. 

I’m aware that having heavy breasts doesn’t exactly put me on the United Nations Global Issues to Address list. The fact that I can even afford a weight loss drug in the first place means I have a lot of privilege. 

However, my doctor and the other health professionals agreed that a weight loss drug would be a less invasive way of helping me combat my issues than something as drastic as a breast reduction surgery. 

Soon I started taking the drug. 

I lost weight within the first two weeks. It was falling off me. It made exercise easier; it made my food choices easier. I was drinking less and feeling more like my body was mine, and we could work together. 

For a variety of factors, I stopped taking the medication for a period of around eight months, and about half the weight I lost crept back on.

It’s hard for anyone to work on their weight. It’s even harder if you have lived with an eating disorder. Anything that whiffs of a diet sends you back into a spiral of obsession. Any food control feels scary and learning to eat intuitively means unlearning a lifetime of falsehoods about food. 


Ultimately, I struggled with this. When I felt comfortable to do so, I asked if I could go back on the drug.

My GP agreed and I’ve now been back on it for six weeks. 

The weight hasn’t shed as fast this time and I have to be conscious that I am eating properly and giving my body what it needs, instead of trying to rush it. 

I have also received no shortage of opinions from anyone who knows I am on this drug and I've been witness to the debate raging around me. Here are my key takeaways: we know the conversation about weight, women’s weight in particular, is complicated and ongoing. 

We don’t know how much of the dialogue is actually health-based and how much is our lingering cultural disdain for larger women. Regardless, we still have to live in this world. 

Like Hannah, tennis professional Jelena Dokic experienced disordered eating too. On this episode of The Quicky, we find out why women aren't taken seriously unless they fit a certain look. Post continues after podcast.

I like being a curvy woman. I do feel womanly and I do feel sexy, particularly when I feel strong. I also still struggle to buy affordable clothes and bras that work for me and don’t either hurt or leave me at risk of the ever looming nip slip. I still catch the looks and comments from people around me who find my breasts bawdy and overtly sexual. I can never seem to find the balance of dressing for modesty and feeling matronly, or flaunting my curves in an effort to celebrate them and risking the judgement. At a lower weight, less pressure on my joints makes everything easier, from working out to holding my nephew. 


I have fewer ankle or knee injuries holding me back. I can run for the train if I need to without taking an eye out, and I am happier.

We know that even the medical community is not without bias. One of the ‘medical’ arguments against drugs like this is that they make weight loss “too easy”- as though it should still be held as a marker of the elite. It is also not without risk. 

The pamphlet warns of pancreatitis, potential increased cancer risk, and a host of issues that would be far harder to cope with than my jiggly bits, sore ankles and cumbersome chest. 

Is this drug one that should be taken lightly? No. Is it, or its counterparts going anywhere? No. More are on the way. 

I’d only caution that before we demonise anyone who - worthy or not in our eyes - is willing to risk it to drop a dress size, to first consider the myriad factors that brought them to the decision. 

When you decide where you would draw the line on who is and isn’t allowed, who would be left on other side of it? And if you’re a straight sized person ready to criticise, ask first, would you swap places?

For help and support for eating disorders, contact the Butterfly Foundation’s National Support line and online service on 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673).

Feature Image: Getty

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