Written By: Leta Stevens
Photography By: @KarloGomez
“I bet she’s pushing 190,” you hear them snicker.
“No way, she’s already way past that. I bet she’s 200 or more now.”
You cringe. They are talking about you. You hate how you look. You want to cry. You want to break down. Most of all, you want to run home into the arms of your loving family and hear that you’re perfect just the way you are, no matter your size. But the reality is... you can’t.
You are home. It’s your family that’s making fun of you. It’s your family that’s talking about your weight as if you aren’t there, as if your feelings don’t even matter.
This was Kathy Nam’s reality.
For most adolescent women, school could be it’s own little hell: awkward phases, hormonal changes in our bodies, being bullied for having gone through these changes earlier (or later) than the other girls our age. For most, home was the safe haven from torment, bullies, and judgemental peers. Unfortunately for Kathy, the place that should be filled with unconditional love, was just another place of ridicule and teasing.
Kathy grew up overweight. Her mother, the woman who should have instilled confidence and body positivity in her daughter, instead doted solely Kathy’s sister, the daughter born with supermodel genetics. Leaving Kathy to fend for herself. She couldn’t escape the pain. So, she turned to food for comfort. Whenever she was upset, hurt, or feeling down, food was her fix.
At only 5’6” tall, Kathy reached her heaviest weight, 215 lbs. At home, her family would exploit her size and take bets on how much she weighed, benefitting from her suffering and not reaching out to offer a helping hand. Food was the one thing that was there for her in her time of need, that is until she joined an online empowerment group.
This online group consisted of both men and women who shared their life stories and helped build each other up and not tear each other down. She was not used to the empowerment or the kind words. It touched her in a way she never expected. The stories of the group resonated with Kathy. Slowly but surely she found herself more and more motivated. She started to eat less. Her reduced food intake alone was enough to get the weight to start to fall off. As she lost more weight, the more motivation she gained. It was no longer enough to just watch what she ate, she wanted to hit the gym.
It wasn’t long before the joy and comfort she once found in food was found in the gym. She often found herself at going to workout for hours, not once, but twice a day. The weight continued to melt off.
A new Kathy was born.
She loves the body she has built. Kathy has finally found a place of self-love and acceptance. A place where she doesn’t feel the need to please anyone but herself. Her happiness is her top priority.
She doesn’t regret her past, as she knows that she is wiser because of it. Stretch Marks may cover her body, but she isn’t ashamed of them, as she knows they help her tell her story. As Kathy will tell you, “They remind me of who I am and who I was and they remind me that I am so powerful.”
To see more of Kathy and her journey please visit her at @Kathykwoww