I did not grow up thinking I was fat. I had a happy early childhood and don’t remember having any younger year issues with my size or how my size related to the world. I did, however, weigh more than other children in my age/height range. I am convinced, to this day, that I just have dense bones. ;>
My mother was overweight and struggled with her weight her whole
life. When I was 11, in an effort to make sure I didn’t turn out just
like her, she put me on a 600 calorie a day diet. I don’t remember all
that I was able to eat, but I remember an abundance of nonfat yogurt,
string cheese and deli turkey slices. I remember having to regulate
myself, with her help, and track calories. I lost 15-ish pounds and my
mom seemed happy so I guess I was happy, too. Right?
Wrong. I felt insecure and unsure of who I was and where I fit in
with all the others who were more “normal” (aka more slim) than me.
Entering the early stages of puberty, I felt like I wasn’t good enough
just as I was. I had to slim down to fit in. And I was so so so hungry.
In my mother’s attempt to not make me like her, she made me just like
her… weight and food obsessed, low self-esteem and a deep sense that
being heavy makes one unworthy of the best life has to offer. Bless her
heart, she really did (and does) the best she can. Dieting by the age of
11 set up the foundation for a deprivation issue that I struggle with
to this very day – when I don’t think there is going to be enough food
for me, I panic. Deep, primal, pure panic. And if I get very hungry, I
kind of flip out… deprivation mentality at its best.
The overarching message I heard from 11 onward was that when I lost
some weight… when I was a smaller size… when I was a more “normal”
weight … then I’d get the friends, the boyfriend, the social life I so
desired. I was a social kid but didn’t have an abundance of friends (and
certainly no boyfriends), and over time, I didn’t think I really
deserved them. I took what I could get, putting me in a lot of strange
and borderline abusive friendships, and eventually, relationships.
junior year of high school I started dating “M”, two years my senior,
who went to another high school and I was with him, off and on, for
three years. It was a mess. I was a mess. While I’ll go into that
relationship more in Part Two, it was my very first relationship
(albeit, not my last) that could be classified as “love addiction.” I
couldn’t let him go… and I was dieting constantly…. Even eating/drinking
nothing more than breath mints to try to drop a few pounds. My
self-esteem dropped lower and lower. And then high school was over and
it was time for college (Stay tuned for Part Two)!
I look back on my life thus far, I think in terms of “what I weighed
when”. When I was 11 I was 135 pounds and got down to 118. I started
high school at probably 145 and I took my senior pictures at 175 and I
graduated high school at 185. While college and beyond will be covered
more in Part Two, I hope that I can think of my life, eventually, in
terms of accomplishments, successes, adventures, love stories and
beautiful moments. After all, it is all of these things, and more, that
define who we are, not a number on a scale or a size on a tag. We are
more than our weight; we are AMAZING!
Stay tuned to read The Story of Us (Me and My Fat) – Part Two – The Middle years (19-26)