Aspects of well-being when struggling with obesity
Journal article, Peer reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionHaga, B.M., Furnes, B., Dysvik, E. et al. (2019) International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 14(1) 10.1080/17482631.2019.1699637
Purpose: We aimed to gain deeper insight into how people struggling with obesity handle their life situation by addressing how well-being might unfold. For many people, obesity becomes a lifelong condition characterized by repeated weight fluctuations while their weight increases gradually. From an existential perspective, constantly waiting for weight loss can cause an experience of not reaching one’s full potential. How people with obesity experience well-being, within their perceived limitations, is less reflected in previous research. Methods: We established a qualitative study using in-depth interviews with seven men and 14 women with obesity (body mass index 335 kg/m2) aged 18–59 years. The study had an exploratory design including a phenomenological–hermeneutic perspective, with a lifeworld approach. Results: Three themes describing aspects of well-being were developed: coming to terms with the body, restoring the broken relational balance and reorienting the pivot in life. The thematic findings were abstracted into a main theme: striving to make living bearable. The movement towards well-being can be seen as a struggle towards an experience of balance to make bearable living. Conclusions: We suggest that well-being as a dialectic between vulnerability and freedom might become a health-facilitating experience for people struggling with obesity.