Parents are meant to support their children no matter what. But Jill Roberts grew up being constantly mocked by her father, who reminded her that she was the fat one in the family. It wouldn’t be long until she got her sweet payback though.
From Utah, Jill was the black sheep of the Roberts family. She had been overweight her entire life, and her father said she was a “fat baby.” He liked to repeatedly remind her of her size and would always fat shame. To him, her weight was simply offensive and shameful to their name.
Her father, Kirk Roberts, wanted her to have more self-control, and that’s why he would act the way he did. Her mother, on the other hand, didn’t agree with Kirk’s methods. She said that his rude comments made her “boil inside.”
Kirk said, “I do believe Jill has a problem with self-control.” He added, “She loves food and often she can’t stop. When she opens up the refrigerator, I’ll say ‘Jill, it’s after eight o’clock, you really don’t need anything to eat this late.’”
Jill had three older siblings, who, unlike her, were all slim and fit. They said that people never thought they were related to her because of how different they looked. Kirk always compared Jill to her sister who’s a runner, and he would question why she doesn’t also exercise to lose weight.
When Jill would indulge in something to eat, her father wouldn’t even need to say anything to make her feel bad. He would just give her a look. Her father says, “She knows what I mean – when I give her that look she knows exactly what I’m talking about.”
When she was 20 years old, and weighed 300 pounds, she decided enough was enough. In May 2005, she went on The Oprah Winfrey Show where she finally discussed her situation for the first time. To the uninformed eye, the Robertses appeared to be the perfect family, but her guest appearance finally underlined the truth.
This was the first time she had ever shared her sad feelings. In the past, she had always kept her emotions inside and pretended that the comments and looks didn’t bother her. But she knew it was time to tell her family how she really felt.
As her tearful siblings watched in the audience of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Jill said, “I use food to feel love because I, a lot of times, don’t feel love from my family. Food is a huge comfort for me. I’ll feel bad and automatically go to the fridge.”
Jill especially let her father know how much he hurt her. With teary eyes and a broken voice, she admitted, “My whole life he’s told me that I’m not pretty, that I’m overweight and that I need to lose weight. He’s just never been nice to me. I feel so much hatred towards my father because of the way he treats me.”
She said that all she’d ever wanted was acceptance from her father but she’d never got it. Instead, he pushed her away and made her feel alienated. She said, “I’ve wanted my dad to accept me my whole life. He treats me differently than he treats every other person in my family.”
Kirk said that hearing how his daughter truly feels was difficult because he loves her despite his problem with her size. “Does it bother me when we’re out in public that Jill’s overweight? It does, I’ll be honest. I’m ashamed of her weight, but I love my daughter dearly.”
While Jill couldn’t recognize it at the time, her father’s tough love would actually help her. A short time after appearing on Oprah, she made a life-changing decision. She decided that her life as the “fat one” would come to an end.
She started to diet and exercise with her new outlook on life. She then had gastric bypass surgery because she knew she didn’t have enough will power to lose weight properly without that extra help. After just a year and a half since being on Oprah, she had lost 170 pounds.
She was then happy for the first time in her life and it was because of her father’s cruel encouragement. “I was able to realize that he’s loved me all along and the things he said, he said out of concern. He wanted me to change so I could be happy.”
Jill was finally confident, and life was good. Then, in 2009, she married her husband Dave, and they were living the high life for two years before hearing some heart-breaking news. She found out that she couldn’t have children.
Jill said, “That was really difficult. I remember telling Dave I thought I did this to myself because I had gastric bypass and went through all these things, I took away the opportunity to be a mom. I felt really selfish, like I’d taken Dave’s opportunity to be a dad away from him all because I wanted a different life.”
But through the “incredible love” of her husband, she learned not to blame herself for what happened because there was no way of knowing. The gastric bypass had given her a new life and given her so much happiness anyway.
“I don’t regret getting the gastric bypass and I’d do it again tomorrow. The reason why is because before the gastric bypass, I didn’t go out places, I didn’t have friends. I didn’t put myself out there because I was so uncomfortable in my body.”
Ultimately, her weight loss has given her so much. She is now getting closer with her dad as their relationship grows stronger and her self-assurance is booming. We’ll never know if her father’s tough love prevented her from losing weight sooner or if it was the only catalyst for her to finally do it. Either way, we’re so pleased she finally found her happiness.