A WOMAN branded “fat” for 35 years has finally discovered that her size 36 frame is “not her fault”.
Nicky Gregory started gaining weight at the age of 13, so began extreme dieting throughout her adolescence.
Nicky, 50, was diagnosed with lipedema – a problem in the lymphatic system that leads to abnormal accumulation of fat in his legs and arms.
The nutritional therapist wears a size 34-36 on her lower half and a size 28 on the top and claims that she has had “degrading” comments, such as during a pelvic exam that her legs are “terribly” large and they have a desire to be invisible to be.
Just two years ago, Nicky of Andover, Hampshire was diagnosed with stage 3 lipedema and she said it was “so bad” to finally learn from a doctor that her weight was not her fault.
Nicky is now devoting her Instagram to posting about lipedema and even posing in bikinis – a “million miles” outside of her comfort zone – to end the social stigma surrounding the condition.
She was inundated with messages from people asking her about nude pictures despite posting “no sexual content” signs.
Nicky said that luckily Instagram is blocking a lot of the photos she receives from men.
She said, “I also get men who ask me about sexually explicit content. People just said, ‘Can you turn around? [nude] Can you walk away from the camera They just want to look at the body that way.
“I answered the first couple of times and said, ‘Why do you think this is acceptable?’ Why do you write to someone you don’t know and say such personal things? ‘ and the same answers kept coming back: “I really love tall women. I just love tall women “.
“Unfortunately, I think women with lipedema need to be careful because there is a new trend for men to pose as women and ask for photos.
“I got a number of messages from supposed women who said, ‘I’m just your character. I struggle with it, can you show me your butt? Can you show me your legs? ‘ And then it’s actually not difficult to find out that that’s not what they say. So that’s a pretty dark aspect. “
Nicky said she used Instagram as a tool to talk about the condition and show her bodies to other women who may be struggling with the same problem.
During her teenage years, Nicky started gaining weight and said it started with her legs and butt first. But now she says that she also has lipedema in her arms.
Nicky said, “I felt like I wanted to be invisible when I was growing up because you’re a square pen in a round hole. You don’t fit.
“I was bullied both physically and verbally at school.
“I never knew why, but it was probably considered a weakness because of my size. I can laugh about it now, but it was terrible at the time. I was an easy target.
“I liked sports, so I stood up for teams. My sports teacher always used me as a center forward in netball because you are in the middle and you can run in both directions and she was always yelling all over the field.” I put you there because you need more exercise, because you are too fat.
“These things stay with you for a lifetime. It’s like death by a thousand paper cuts, that’s how it is to live with lipedema because all the little comments add up.”
The condition is thought to affect 11 percent of women, and Nicky now leads a support group for others in their situation.
She remembers trying countless diets in her youth and shares how she was a member of a slimming club for 15 years.
Nicky said, “For 35 years I went to the doctor and said, ‘I can’t take off legs’.
“And unfortunately every single doctor, without exception, believed that I was obese and finally, because nothing has changed for me in so long, except that I have grown in size, I believed I was not compliant.
“Anyone who knows about lipedema knows that it doesn’t respond to diet or exercise.
“Diet and exercise can make it much worse, and someone like me who has been on strict diets all my life has made their lipedema worse.”
She said that many of the “taller women” she is in contact with are the ones who have been on the toughest diets of their lives.