Elly Jeurissen

Elly Jeurissen

I am a statistician and a scientist by heart and I have been living with obesity for many years now. I was not fat as a child, but gained some weight when I was about 18 years old, which turned out to be common for some women in my father’s family. Thus, I started to diet for weight loss, at first only 3 kgs, but because I gained more weight than I lost with each weight loss attempt, that quickly turned into efforts to lose 5kg, 10kg, 15kg… and I started to develop eating habits that are considered disordered eating. After many “health teas” and my first attempt to regurgitate, I sort of woke up, and decided that losing weight only to gain an eating disorder was not a healthy option. Thus about 30 years ago, I decided not to undertake weight loss diets anymore.

Following this decision I did gain more weight, as I needed to learn to eat in a normal way again, but I stabilised and maintained that weight for a number of years. Then I became ill, and gained a lot of weight, due to both the illness and a total lack of energy to engage in physical activity.. After I regained most of my health, I worked on my physical condition, and then slowly lost the extra weight again.

As I also had lost my sense of boundaries for what healthy food was, I used the help of a professional dietician. The resulting change to healthy food and more movement did lead to weight loss. Because of my history of disturbed eating, I did need to be careful not to develop an eating disorder again, and the dietician worked with that. Part of that is psychological, so we focused on health, not on weight loss. Weight loss can be, and has been a result, but it was never the focus goal. Health was and still is.

I have now reached a sort of stable weight, where I can vary a few kgs up or down, but need not focus on the weight to stay within these boundaries. I keep focussing on healthy eating; as we know, the current food environment provides many ways to get calories, but not so many ways to get healthy food if you are in a hurry, on the road or have no time to cook.

One frustration I have is that, while the ‘goal’ for weight-loss is 5-10%, and I have lost more than that, almost every new health profesional I meet wants me to lose weight. And it is very hard for me to get them to discuss the science with me.