Ground Zero

Houston's been the No. 1 city in America in the obesity crisis. But hype doesn't mean help.

However, she adds, "The outer stuff isn't as important to me as the stuff on the inside. And I have fought and struggled to get where I am on the inside. I don't have all the answers. I'm still struggling to be the person God wants me to be.

"But I've come a long way."


Haraway's descent from 314 pounds required 
surgeries and major lifestyle changes.
Daniel Kramer
Haraway's descent from 314 pounds required surgeries and major lifestyle changes.
Buying a deli was the undoing of Davis, who has finally 
shed nearly half of his 60-inch waist.
Daniel Kramer
Buying a deli was the undoing of Davis, who has finally shed nearly half of his 60-inch waist.

Beth Haraway had warned her psychologist on her first day of therapy: "I know I'm morbidly obese, but that's not why I'm here. Talking about my weight is not going to fix it."

And sure enough, they didn't discuss it through years of therapy. Didn't discuss it until this September, when Haraway knew, finally, that she looked great.

She had a second surgery, two and a half years after her first, to remove pounds of extra skin. "I was fortunate," she says. "I could grab and hold it, but it didn't hang to my knees." Another procedure tightened her stomach muscles.

She's now where she wanted to be -- or at least close. After all, she's at 166 and she'd planned to stay at 160.

However, she worries over the possibility of losing control completely. "I would be all right being six pounds over if I could promise myself that's all it would ever be. If I knew I could stop. Or even if I got to 175. I'd be okay if I could stop it there."

She looks down at her toast. "But I know that it would keep moving.

"I remember how hard it was in the beginning to go without food," she says. "I cried a lot because I wanted to eat. And I find myself thinking, I'm not sure I could do that again."

It's a battle, every day. And Haraway knows she can never fully win. "We're never going to be normal people," she says.

She has a mantra about lost weight: "It's not gone forever. It's looking for you. You left it, but it's looking. And there's a part of you that's looking for it, too."

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