Words like "fat" and "hate" get thrown around so casually that we might forget the emotion those very words elicit. In her memoir, Designated Fat Girl, WRAL reporter Jennifer Joyner tackles the reality of what it means to be morbidly obese and emotionally beaten by your label. Taking readers on a personal journey of recovery from her food addiction, Joyner writes that for an overwhelming majority of Americans, food, rather than drugs or alcohol, is their substance of abuse. As recent data from the CDC points out, 26.7 percent of all Americans are obese, and those numbers are incrementally rising.
Joyner argues that obesity isn't just a matter of dieting or even willpower—the emotional void food fills is just as serious as the void drugs or alcohol fill, and eventually addictions isolate the user. Joyner writes, "Fat women don't even acknowledge other fat women, because doing so means you are one of them and most of us want to deny that as long as possible." At her highest weight of 336 pounds, she had a gastric bypass operation. However, we're told that the world Joyner discovers after her surgery is where the real story begins. —Rebekah L. Cowell