Madrid (EFE).- “They operate on your stomach, but not on your head or heart.” Federico Moya weighed 187 kilos and is now less than half after a long pilgrimage carrying the stigma of obesity: “You go in for many consultations and, as soon as you see you, without even knowing what you are going to, they already have the phrase: ‘Shut your mouth and walk’”.
“This begins in the womb,” the secretary of the Híspalis Nacional Bariatric Association, Association of Bariatric Patients and Obesity, tells EFE, from which it works hand in hand with scientific societies dedicated to the study of obesity so that institutions and society recognize it as a chronic disease.
Federico started swimming at the age of 6 and even entered school competitions, but the two tenths that separated him from a national competition made him hang up his swimsuit at 12. That’s when he started: “Nobody teaches you that if you had eaten up to then So, from there you had to start doing it in a different way”, he says.
The stigmatization of society and professionals
And in 2008, when his mother passed away, “the boom came. I got to eat 18 donuts with two liters of Coca Cola, and that on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and start again. She did it in her room after dinner. “It was like my refuge.”
In the morning, he would go out with a backpack with the remains of the food that had been left. “I wasn’t doing it consciously, but my mind was happy eating.”
At 30 years old, and 187 kilos, something activated in his head when his father had to help him tie his shoelaces; so he went to his family doctor, who took him “the Xeroxed 1,500-2,000 calorie diet” and didn’t agree to refer him to an endocrinologist until a year later.
“You go into many doctors’ offices and, as soon as they see you, without even knowing what you’re going to, they already have the phrase: ‘Shut up and walk’ or ‘Get lost weight and then come back.’ The stigmatization is evident, from society in general and from health professionals”, he censors.
30% of people who have surgery relapse
When she finally underwent bariatric surgery in 2014, two and a half years had passed since her first visit in Primary Care and a year and a half since her consultation with the endocrinologist. It is the surgery with the longest waiting list, close to 400 days.
The Marqués de Valdecilla Hospital where it was performed does not have a multidisciplinary unit specialized in obesity like the one requested by experts and patients, and they notice that.
He left the operating room with a sheet of paper in his pocket “with 15 days for liquids, 15 for purees and 15 for solids” as the only strategy. No one told him that he had to drink his first glass of water from a stopper and in small sips and he did it as always, in one long gulp, so he left just as he entered.
30% of the people who undergo surgery relapse, but this has not been the case; His specialist advises him to lose another 10, but Federico believes that he is already at what he calls “a healthy weight”, which “is not the one that marks the scale, it is where you feel good”.
“Nobody helps you psychologically for a makeover either”; in fact, when looking in the mirror, he covered his neck with a bandage from the impact of seeing the clavicle bone that the kilos had hidden from him for 20 years. “It will seem silly, but it is so.”
To the environment of people with obesity: Support and understanding
Good proof of everything he says was seen recently at the Goya gala, when actress Berta Vázquez’s weight gain dominated the comments on social networks for three days. Fatphobia is such that in her association she sees “people who even turn to the other side and go on to bulimia or anorexia for fear of gaining weight again.”
It is precisely the cinema that is making visible the stigma that patients with obesity carry: “It’s just the way it is”, responds resoundingly to the question of whether the protagonists of “Cerdita” and “La Ballena” -an adolescent victim of bullying played by Laura Galán and a morbidly obese professor who lives in seclusion at home played by Brendan Fraser- reflect a reality. Of course, the chosen titles squeak a bit.
What would you say to people like him? “First, recognize that they have a serious health problem, it is a chronic and multifactorial disease that will be for life and they are the ones who have to want to put their hands on the matter.”
To those around him, “what a lot of support and understanding.”
And what about the health professionals who still blame their patients? “Go to a sports store, buy a camping backpack, fill it with bottles and try to spend an hour with it on. Let them lie down and get up with her. Let’s see if that’s how they keep telling them to shut their mouths and walk”.