Alina Constantin

Languages Spoken: English, French, Romanian

Country: France

A woman in a floral top smiles for the camera.

Describe yourself in 3 words:

Outspoken, determined, empathetic

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I have lived with overweight since my puberty, but my personal journey with obesity started before birth, with my genetic background, with my family’s culture, with life events that finally brought me to have the condition in my twenties, among other chronic diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, binge eating disorder and ADHD. I know there is not one single or simple obesity, but many, and my own has been a lifelong complex struggle and victory.     Therefore, I found advocacy as the right way for me to act for the common good and live life to the full potential. I am a local, national and international patient advocate engaged in patient-to-patient peer support, teaching, conferences, consulting, public relations.     Volunteer for a local patient organization near Bordeaux since 2017, I organize public events and perennial activities for its’ members living with obesity, such as physical activities and support groups.    I am an active member of several ONGs related to chronic conditions, therapeutic education, against weight bias and stigma, and of AFERO, the scientific society for obesity in France.    I am also the President of the Patients’ Council at the Ligue nationale contre l’obésité, a national ONG. The position allowed me to take a stand within the French Obesity Coalition with various stakeholders, and co-build projects in medical and social research, policy, and communication campaigns against weight bias and stigma.     As an International Patient Advocate, my mission is to take part in the united and coordinated effort for the cause of obesity, within the community, which is very rewarding and fulfilling.    Another mission is advocacy for patient centered healthcare, by participating in a work group at the Haute Autorité de Santé (national health assessment agency), and therefore co-author the recent French obesity guidelines.     I also identify as a spokesperson in the media and events for people living with obesity, promoting education in obesity science and better recognition for obesity as a chronic disease.

Where do you live:

Near Bordeaux, France

What are some of your interests:     

I express a lot of interest in visual art and music, reading, nature and animals, cats in particular (I am the proud “parent” to eight of them).   I also love to dance, to take long walks with friends, to travel and visit new places, discover new cultures and the people.   I am a fan of Korean, Lebanese and Greek food, and I love to cook.   I enjoy the self-care through cosmetics and fashion and use it to empower myself.  Most importantly, I love being around people and talk with them, I feed on ideas and emotions.

What is your personal experience with obesity:

I am a person that evolved in time with obesity. I identify now as an intuitive eater, an active outdoor activities practitioner, a resilient and strong person who is empowered, no longer shamed by society’s biased mentality about larger bodies.     When I was younger, I experienced psychological and physical trauma, which led to binge eating disorder and low poor esteem.     I also experienced from an early age medical stigma, bullying at school, injustice and discrimination in the work field, as well as for my social and economic status.     For several years now, I am on a constructive, individualized healthcare pathway, with healthcare providers who are on “my side”, who sometimes became friends.     After a long preparative process, I got bariatric surgery, with a positive outcome.    Therefore, I am no longer afraid of what the future might bring, and am ready to learn, evolve and adapt to new technologies, treatments and therapies, in my long life follow up for obesity.