Obesity among teens is causing many to miss out on prom, a high school rite of passage, but a group of adults who avoided prom when they were younger because of their size is now staging a second chance dance.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five teenagers is obese.
Afrikus Hart and Nikki Massey have something to celebrate. Each woman lost more than 100 pounds through bariatric surgery, and now they’re ready to mark that achievement by recreating a milestone they feel they missed out on when they were overweight teens.
“It’s to give a do-over. That way, if you weren’t able to go to your prom because you were overweight or couldn’t fit into that dress or your tux was too tight, now here’s your chance to get dressed up and come out and celebrate the new you,” Hart said.
The friends, who met in a surgical weight loss support group, are hosting a prom for people of all ages with bariatric success stories. Hart said she always regretted being too embarrassed to attend her own senior prom.
“I didn’t go to my prom because of my weight and I didn’t like how I looked. I couldn’t fit in the dress that I really wanted to get, so I didn’t go because I didn’t want to be uncomfortable or humiliated,” Hart said.
Massey didn’t miss the big dance in high school, but she said the event was overshadowed by insecurities about her weight.
“At the time, I wasn’t really fond of taking pictures. I wasn’t a very happy or smiley person. I was looking back on my first prom experience, thinking, ‘I wish I could do it over again and get dressed up in this body with this confidence and be able to go out and have a good time in a nice, formal environment,'” Massey said.
The women said they are excited to ditch their old clothes and get the dress shopping experience of which they always dreamed. They’re hopeful that their success stories will inspire others who may feel defeated by years of failed dieting attempts to take control of their health.
“The journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step, so reach out to your doctor or a nutritionist. Take advantage of your health insurance. Do something as simple as going for a walk — that can really, really help you. You don’t have to make every change all at once. Just start with one thing and build from there,” Massey said.
The bariatric prom will be held in November in north Baltimore and is open to all bariatric patients and their supporters. To learn more about the event, click on the link above.