Shenese Colwell is an OAC Community Member who found her OAC Action “hot spot” – eliminating weight bias! After struggling with obesity herself and watching her son live the same struggle, she’s more than aware of obesity stigma, bullying and discrimination.

Shenese is also a post-bariatric surgery patient, and while she’s found great success in choosing this treatment option, it’s made her aware of a different kind of weight bias — bias within the weight-loss surgery community.

Shenese now works actively as a personal fitness trainer and OAC advocate, fighting passionately to end weight bias and change the perception of obesity. In the above video and below interview, she’s captured some of most important parts of her story!

Q&A with Shenese Colwell

Hear OAC Community Member Shenese Colwell's perspective on weight biasQ: How have your own experiences with obesity, and your son’s experiences, impacted your understanding of obesity as a chronic disease?

It has taken away the burden of stigma, guilt and stress that I felt as a parent and as a person. To know that there are a number of things working together (genetics for example), but against me when it comes to my weight, helps me to want to do more to educate others so that people truly understand obesity as a chronic disease.

Q: Beyond physical impact, what effects has obesity had on you/your family?

Health issues alone were the hardest for me. The fear and loss of quality of life from my obesity-related co-morbidities took a toll on me emotionally, too. Watching my son suffer was painful. It was difficult to see the depression and bullying he dealt, as I wasn’t able to help him.

Q: What do you want society as a whole to know about obesity bias?

First – obesity is a disease that affects millions of people. Obesity bias, as a result, has become so common that many of us don’t realize it. We do it without thought. As people affected by obesity and people dealing with those affected by obesity, we have to be more aware as to what obesity bias IS so that we can take the appropriate steps to end it.

Q: How do you think OAC supporters can work to end obesity bias?

Follow, like and share OAC posts across your social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)! Call out obesity bias offenders and report incidents. We probably all know someone who is affected by obesity, and in that way, we are all connected and able to take action by educating others and working to end obesity bias!

To share your own story or perspective, CLICK HERE.