Food is and will always be my default – I do not reach for alcohol, cigarettes or any other such “vice”. It is my friend who listens, the friend who understands and makes me forget. But my friend is a Jekyll and Hyde – on one hand, it is comforting and supportive, but on the other hand devastating and destructive.

From the age of 18 years of age, food took hold of my life. All happy and sad times were celebrated through food – sometimes secretive, sometimes not. The weight started to pile on. At times, I have wished that I had a “normal” disease where there is less of a stigma, many options of support and guidance and an overall feeling that it can be overcome. Obesity is a highly stigmatised disease that a large percentage of the population do not or refuse to accept or understand.

My career to date has been administrative by nature. Being an executive assistant for high profile companies has led me to develop excellent organisational and communicative skills. At the large global bank that I work at in London, I am the Finance Chair for the Diversity & Inclusion Council, as well as a committee member for our UK Wellbeing Team.

I describe myself as an intelligent, thoughtful and empathetic individual. I have experienced extreme sadness in my life, which I feel has shaped my personality, in order to be able to deal with issues of gravitas and to also understand how others feel.

I am a skilled orator – my passion is evident when I speak, and I can eloquently and persuasively get my point across in an informative and non-confrontational manner. I am equally comfortable in talking to large groups, or on an individual basis. Approaching individuals that I do not know and putting forward my comments and opinions in a well-constructed and non-threatening manner is also one of my skills. However, one of the most important skills to possess is the ability to listen. Many people hear and but do not listen. I actively process what has been said, understand it and then respond back with a thoughtful response.

I am proud to be an OEN UK Champion and I am ready to tackle the misconceptions, ignorance and lack of empathy towards this problem. I encourage everyone out there to raise your voice and join OEN to lobby for change!