In May 2020, I turned 40 and weighed myself for the first time in a long time. I was working on the front line of the COVID pandemic and evidence was emerging that fat doctors were more likely to die of COVID than thine ones. Suffice it to say I panicked when I realised that I was 40kg overweight with a BMI of over 40. That was one too many 40s for my liking.
So I did what any sensible person would do in my situation. I went on a diet. I followed the NHS advice and reduced my calorie intake to under 1400kcal. I made sure I was exercising every day and over a relatively short period of time I was able to lose an impressive amount of weight.
But as in the case in up to 95% of people, I wasn’t able to sustain my diet for very long and before I knew it my mental health had taken a turn of the worse and I was ready to give up on everything including my blog. It was around this time that a very good friend of mine suggested I consider writing a post that revealed the truth about how I was feeling rather than trying to remain upbeat and positive.
And so I wrote the post Fatdoctor: Unplugged, and whilst he will never admit, I am not sure that is quite what my friend had in mind. it was around this time that I discovered the body acceptance community and started to learn about Health At Every Size, Fat acceptance and Intuitive Eating. I met some incredible people who helped me understand how weight stigma and weight based discrimination had shaped my whole life, and before I knew it I had become an advocate for weight-inclusive medicine.
I was born in 1980 in North London to two immigrant parents. My mother was an Asheknazi Jew and she died of pancreatic cancer in 2013. My father is Armenian Cypriot and he is also a narcissist. I have a younger sister who is a singer/songwriter and storyteller and whilst we are very different people, we are also cut from the same cloth. I am separated from most of my family either through distance or because they disowned me. However, I am fortunate enough to have made a new family for myself over the years and I am a true believer that the family you create is just as good, if not better than the family you were born into.
I am married to an incredible man whom I have been together with for over half my life. We have three children and a dog named Milo. At the beginning of 2021, I began an Intuitive Eating course which changed my life. I also co-founded an organisation called Health Professionals Against Weight Stigma.
I first came out as queer in 1994 to a very mixed reaction. I have always been part of the LGBTQ community but there were times when I wasn’t as open about it as I am now. In November 2021, after a good deal of soul searching and therapy, I came out as non-binary. I changed my name to Asher and my pronouns to they/them. It took 41 years for me to finally admit that I am transgender, even though I have known in some way or another since I was a small child.
I have struggled with mental health issues since I was a teenager. My sister has bipolar and several of my family members including my maternal grandmother have been affected by serious mental health conditions. As a result, I am passionate about mental health and am fascinated by psychology. I have worked in a variety of mental health settings including a psychiatric inpatient facility and a medium security prison.
I graduated from Barts and The London Medical School in 2003. But I started my career in the NHS 5 years previously, working as a healthcare assistant in a hospice. Once graduating, I rotated through several hospital posts including General Medicine, General Surgery, OBGyn, Emergency Medicine, Geriatrics and Paediatrics. I started working in General Practice in 2007. I currently work part time at a practice in North Hertfordshire.
In addition to my clinical practice, I am also a GP appraiser and teacher. More recently I have been a guest lecturer at a university, appeared on This Morning, featured on a number of podcasts including once for CNN, and spoken at a variety of events. I am very active on social media and am in the process of launching my own podcast.
Here are 9 things you should definitely know about me:
1. I am not a role model. I don’t have all the answers and my life is most certainly not something to aspire to.
2. I am an open book. I have no problem baring my soul by documenting my lifelong battle with body acceptance.
3. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I hope that being an authentic version of myself will inspire others to do the same.
4. I am a fighter. I do not take things lying down. If you’re looking for someone who always tries to be the bigger person, then you’re in the wrong place. I may sometimes be the fattest person in the room, but I’m not always inclined to take the high road.
5. I am a left leaning liberal snowflake and I make no apologies for it.
6. I am often branded a “fat feminist b****”. I take that as a huge compliment.
7. I don’t want to be famous. In fact I can’t imagine anything worse. I have no desire to become an influencer either but if that is what it takes to change the world, then that is what I will do. That being said, I am not able to work for free either. In order to do what I do, I need to find a way to financially support myself. I promise to remain as ethical and responsible as I can about it.
8. I am trying to build a positive online community, which is almost an oxymoron in today’s polarized society. If you don’t already follow my on social media, then come join in the fun.
9. I love to talk and I could talk about weight stigma all day. I am hoping one day someone will want to pay me to do it, but until then I host an Insta Live every Friday at 5pm UK time.
10. I am many things. I am a woman. I am proudly queer. I am an ethnic minority. I am private school educated and therefore extremely privileged. I am a doctor. I am a wife and mother. And I am fat.