Amanda Sidwell Smith spent years of her life being insulted about her weight. The words were so harsh and so consistent that she internalized them and felt "less than human." The pain was so great that she decided to change her body through cosmetic surgery, which created a domino effect with disastrous results.
"I went through surgery after surgery after surgery, cosmetic surgeries, and then it finally ended with me nearly losing my life, all in a quest to look the way I thought people thought I should look," Smith told HuffPost Live's Nancy Redd.
She underwent a number of operations until things went terribly awry. In 2010, Smith's many surgeries caused a rare strangulated hernia that ruptured her abdominal wall and caused her to lose more than half of her intestine. A year later, her family revealed to her how bad it really was: "Right before you woke up, the doctor told us to start planning for your funeral," they told her.
Smith has come out of the experience with stronger-than-ever conviction about how fat-shaming can have a visceral, physical effect on people who are tormented endlessly for how they look. She took something else from the experience, too -- a husband. Smith's boyfriend proposed after her health debacle, when she was at her lowest point.
"When someone can come in and see beyond a ventilator and three different types of IVs and all these monitors, and to look up and see your blood pressure is 70/40 and say, 'Guess what? Marry me,' you realize your worth is so much more than all these numbers and so much more than this shape," she said.
See the full conversation about the violence of fat shaming at HuffPost Live HERE.