DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel like sometimes my weight gets in the way of my dreams. I know that sounds really insecure, but I honestly believe that's why I haven't progressed much. I want to do so much, but I feel like people see my weight before they see my talent. I'm tired of it. I'm tired of being told, "You're (blank) for a big girl." Just because I may weigh more, that doesn't mean I can't do anything like anyone else. Everyone always sees my weight first.
There are tons of things that I do well, but I don't even get recognized for that. It's always about my weight. My mom constantly makes comments about it. How do I get people to see me as more than just the "big girl"? My weight doesn't define me personally, but somehow that's my identifier when it comes to others. I want to be seen for my good qualities. My weight is just an addition to everything else about me. -- More Than I Look, Allentown, Pennsylvania
DEAR MORE THAN I LOOK: Sadly, we live in a world that does judge people for how they look, even though it is illegal in the workplace and in school. You can start with your mother. Drum up the courage to talk to her. Tell her how uncomfortable it makes you feel that she constantly comments about your weight. Tell her that you need her to support you for who you are, not for how much you weigh. Like it or not, you may have to work a little harder because you look different than the average. While unfair, that's life for many people.
I will add that if you believe that your weight could be impacting your health, you may also want to reconsider what you eat and how you exercise. This is for your own life and health. Working to be healthy while still wanting to be respected as you are, need not be mutually exclusive.