Jen Larsen has struggled with her weight for as long as she can remember. At her heaviest, she was more than 300 pounds, and she became desperate for a way out of the depression, anxiety and fear that plagued her. "I was afraid to be looked at. I was afraid to talk to people," she says. She became convinced that a dangerous weight loss surgery would change everything. Though it helped Jen lose nearly 200 pounds, her depression and feelings of inadequacy remained, a topic she details in her memoir, Stranger Here.
To better understand Jen's story, Jonas Elrod, star of the new OWN series "In Deep Shift with Jonas Elrod" travels to Jen's hometown to meet with her mother, Mary. Like her daughter, Mary has struggled with her weight since childhood.
"I always said, 'Watch your genes, you've got the Fitzgerald genes -- and that's chunky," Mary says she warned her daughter.
Jen's father passed away when she was 13 years old, a tragedy that has deeply affected both mother and daughter. When Jen began to put on weight after her father died, Mary says she didn't say she needed to lose the weight –- at least not outright.
"I didn't actually come out and tell her," Mary says. "I might have showed concern, because I knew what I went through because I was never slender. And I knew what she would go through being on the chunky side."
Mary feared her daughter would encounter the same childhood bullying that she experienced. "I was called 'Two Ton Milly,'" she says. "I wanted to buffer her from that type of situation."
Mary wasn't just hoping to protect her daughter from the teasing and name-calling that she had faced as a child. "No one's going to love a heavy person, are they?" Mary says. "Most people don't. Most people don't look at you, who you are -- for who you are."
In the video below, Jen Larsen joins HuffPost Live and shares how she found happiness and self-awareness after her weight loss.