Obesity dilemmas: Narrations of the "fat" body amongst the self-identified overweight and obese

Authors: Greener, J., Douglas, F. and van Teijlingen, E.

Pages: 93-108

ISBN: 9781619428249


This paper is based on in-depth interviews carried out with 34 participants who self-identified as being overweight or obese. The respondents engaged in diverse narratives which both emphasised their own =bad' weight-gain related behaviours but also the influence of factors outside of their control. We conceptualise respondents' beliefs regarding their own body weight as a dilemma where, on the one hand, they were grappling with a moral discourse regarding the perfect body, and on the other, a contrary daily lived experience of excessive consumption and constrained opportunities for active living. Associated with this was the belief that some form of biomedical intervention in conjunction with =getting motivated' was required to achieve their desires of a perfect body. The contradiction for the respondents was a mismatch between the apparently easily applicable =rules' of weight loss versus the complexity of the lived reality of weight gain. The individuals in this study were engaged in a dilemma between emphasising their autonomous individual power and therefore accepting the spoiled identity of a fat person, or subverting responsibility through =excuse accounts'. Their outlook on their own weight problem seemed to highlight both personal responsibility and a challenging lived reality. © 2012 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

Source: Scopus