Putting life on hold: lived experiences of people with obesity
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionHaga, B.M., Furnes, B., Dysvik, E., Ueland, V. (2019) Putting life on hold: lived experiences of people with obesity. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 10.1111/scs.12756
Obesity presents challenges in everyday life, one of which involves the existential aspects of living life as a person with obesity. There is a need for understanding the existential experiences, but there is limited in‐depth research about these experiences of people with obesity. The aim of this study was to gain deeper insight into the existential experiences of people dealing with obesity. We performed a qualitative study that included in‐depth interviews with seven men and 14 women with obesity (body mass index ≥ 35 kg/m2) aged 18–59 years. The study took a phenomenological–hermeneutic approach in which the participants’ own experiences formed the basis for understanding their lifeworld. The lived experiences of people dealing with obesity were characterised by several existential challenges. One overarching theme—Putting life on hold when struggling with obesity—was developed based on three themes: The body as an impediment to living the desired life, to being oneself and to moving on in life. These findings illustrate the complex existential experience of life, body and existence faced by people dealing with obesity. Based on these findings, we discuss whether people with obesity who experience ‘putting life on hold’ are attuned to live their life to the fullest in some areas. Their embodied experiences seem to challenge them to experience the joy of life, to appear as a whole self and to live life in the moment. Reflecting on obesity in the context of life and life phenomena seems to provide deeper insights into the existence of people living with obesity and may help to advance a more comprehensive approach in obesity health care.