I’ve only been at a normal, healthy weight once in my adult life… for about eight months.
My weight has always been a focus for me.
I remember being a young child and hating my cheeks. I was at a normal weight but I thought that because I had dimples, I was fat. I would sit at the mirror and try to pull my dimples off.
As for exercise, I do not remember it being important. My only memories of fitness programs all center around PE at school, when I would struggle to run a mile because my lungs were burning with asthma (that no one knew I had) or be chosen last for every team sport because I was uncoordinated.
I was always happiest alone in my room, playing with pretend food.
When the Cabbage Patch Doll craze hit, I wanted one of those dolls so badly! Unfortunately, since money was always tight, when the finances left room for a Cabbage Patch Doll, they were sold out. My mother wanted me to be happy and had a friend make a homemade version. The doll was overstuffed and had dimples. I remember looking at it and being disgusted because the lady said she had made her to look like me. She meant that she gave the doll blonde hair and blue eyes, but all I saw was the chubby doll’s arms and legs that could not bend or be cuddled.
In my preteen years, I wanted someone to love me. All of my friends were getting boyfriends, and I thought all of my troubles would be fixed. In my eyes, my body just didn’t measure up like the other girls. I spent a lot of time depressed and claiming to be sick so I could stay home from school.
Finances were extremely difficult for my parents and my mother would fret over whether or not we had money for groceries. She would wait until we fixed our plates before fixing her own. I would eat everything on my plate and clean up any scraps or gravy with a piece of bread. I think I was afraid of hunger.
During this delicate time, I experimented with binging and purging. I had never heard of bulimia, but it just seemed like a natural connection to me… if you eat food and food makes you fat, then vomiting the food out would still give you the satisfaction of being full without the weight gain. My parents never learned about my eating disorder and I gave it up after several months because I did not like to vomit (and I still don’t).
As a freshman in high school, I remember sitting on my bed imagining a way to cut the fat off my thighs. My friends and even strangers would talk about how amazing my legs were, but in my mind, all I saw was fat.
Still no boyfriend and thinking I was unloveable. Still seeing myself as fat. My inward focus warped into this angry, depressed young lady who decided to become an overachiever… and Lord help you if you got in my way.
Questioning the food obsession
Why was I so obsessed about food and weight? I have never seen a therapist for these issues but I *think* it would be because every family gathering was focused on food, but it was always confusing because as I would fix my plate, I would hear my overweight family members discussing their weight, why they “shouldn’t be eating this,” and how they were sure to lose weight with the newest fad diet. Then, someone would turn to me and say one of two things: 1) “Is that all you are eating? You are going to dry up and blow away!” or 2) “Don’t eat too much or you will get fat!”
Sadly, no one lost a pound, and my confusion grew.
I could blame a lot of people and a lot of situations for my current weight, but if I am going to be brutally honest, the majority of my weight problem rests on an unhealthy relationship with food.
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