Meet Karen Secord.
“I was born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, moved all over and spent my elementary years in Burlington, Ontario. I moved to Ottawa in grade 11. Now I live in Hintonburg and I love the small village feel to it. I live and work in a very small area, and I can do almost anything I need to do in that area. I raised my children out in the country, but I did that for them, as I’m much more of a city girl. It’s where I am most happy and most comfortable.
“I spent my entire life over 300 pounds. I had a gastric bypass six years ago. I lost 140 pounds and have gained a bit back since then. Every morning I wake up and still think I weigh over 300 pounds. I don’t recognize my face now in the mirror, and I think that is a bad thing. It’s been a hard road. People ask me if I would do it again, and I say ‘No I would not.’
“I do some travelling with my job. It’s a lot easier than it was before. People treat me differently now than they did then. I have also made a lot of inroads in the food security industry in Ottawa as a smaller person. I don’t like it when people say I look better, because I was exactly the same person as before… just as charming and wonderful!
“I am adamant that we need to give people in poverty better and more healthy food choices. It is immoral for us to do anything different. If you look at areas of poverty, people have access to unhealthy food more than they do healthy food. We have sold out to big corporations. Why does the City of Ottawa have pop machines in every recreation centre? We don’t offer that unhealthy option at the food bank.
“A lot of my life, people have told me ‘Don’t do that,’ or ‘Don’t do this,’ but I’m a colourful character and live by the words ‘Be yourself.” Collected by Ellen Bond
Humans of Kitchissippi is a special street photography project designed to introduce readers to some of the people who live, work, and play in Kitchissippi. Each instalment of HOK contains three elements: a photo, a name, and a quote from the subject that reveals a little bit about who they are. View our collection of humans right here.