I was never fat as a kid. Not even baby fat.
(I apologize in advance for the poor picture quality. I had scanner issues so I had to go ghetto and take a picture of a picture)
I ran around outside all day until it was time to take come in and take a bath. I grew up eating relatively healthy. Sure we still ate corn dogs and chicken nuggets (Schwans brand...the best kind!) but for the most part all of our meals were very balanced. Our dinners consisted of a meat, a vegetable, salad, and milk or water. Our school lunches never had juice boxes or fruit snacks. We had a sandwich, water, and carrots with ranch. A big treat for us was to have an iced oatmeal cookie or chips. That single cookie was enough to make my whole day!
My mom just didn't really buy a whole lot of processed junk. And actually looking back I don't think it really had a whole lot to do with health on my moms end....it was out of money and simplicity. We could only afford the basic staples and that's just how we ate. If you didn't like what was for dinner it didn't matter. And simply going without dinner was not an option. If you didn't eat it right then and there at the dinner table you got to eat it cold for breakfast in the morning. I made the mistake once of thinking my mom was bluffing.....she was not! And I couldn't have picked a worse meal to test her. She had made breakfast burritos for dinner. Cold scrambled eggs in a soggy tortilla was torture to eat as a 5 year old.....but I most definitely learned my lesson! I am grateful that my mother was strict about food and didn't pump us full of junk.
At a young age I became very interested in cooking. Some of my earliest memories are of me sitting on the counter helping my mom bake homemade bread. By the 3rd grade my mom was letting me cook dinner a few days a week. Within just a few years she was letting me write the shopping lists based off the ads and cooking all the meals. The joke was that she just pushed the cart and wrote the check. My love for cooking was apparent to everyone and the seed for a career in food was planted.
Fast forward to the 8th grade. While most girls my age were getting clothes and make up for Christmas, I was getting cast iron skillets, peppermills, and a deep fryer. I spent all my time reading recipe books, watching Food Network, and experimenting with new dishes. This is probably where things started to go down hill.
I had a SERIOUS love affair with potatoes. When I was little I even wrote an entire menu and plans for a restaurant I had in my head called "The Potato Palace." (real original name huh? lol) With my handy dandy new deep fryer I was making homemade potato chips and french fries daily. No joke
And while trying to teach myself new cooking techniques I just had to make cheese sauce to go on top of those fries. Sure I was teaching myself great things.....how to make a roux....how to make a bechamel.....but I was always making myself fat....REALLY fat! Sure I sort of noticed.....but I was so into what I was doing I don't think I really paid that much attention.
I remember getting my final report card. I had gained exactly 20lbs from the beginning of the 8th grade until the end. I went from 120 to 140 in only 9 months. That's insane!! I remember being upset by it....but obviously not enough to really check myself. It also didn't help that that year I decided to go all "different' and chop all my long hair off. Short hair around an already round and getting rounder by the day face did not help at all!
|Beginning of 8th Grade: 120 lbs|
|The last time I had a chin for years to come|
|End of 8th grade 140 lbs.|
Over the summer before high school things got even worse! Remember how I said my mom never used to buy junk when we were little? Well that kind of changed as I got older. I think it was for a combination of reasons. When I was little she didn't work so she had more time to cook and plan. Now she was working and we depended a little more on convenience foods. I was kid #4 and with just 2 of us were left in the house I think we all just became more lazy. Our freezer started filling with banquet meals and frozen burritos and the nights that I didn't cook dinner everyone just fended for themselves on junk. Health(ier) meals around the table just didn't happen anymore.
She also started buying Kool Aid fruit punch. I had NEVER had it as a child and I fell madly and deeply in love with it. I was like a sheltered child let out into the world....only this new world was consisted of sugar and crap. I went crazy! I was making it by the gallon and drinking it all by myself. I now refer to it as "Cruel Aid" because it was a major contributing factor to my weight gain. The pounds kept piling on.
I started high school as a new kid who didn't know a single soul. As if that wasn't bad enough....I had to start a new school as a fat girl. I was so incredibly insecure and sad. My elementary school never had the type of PE classes where you had to dress out. This was a major anxiety for me my Freshman year. I would always change in a stall and wore the baggiest clothes possible. That class was torture for me everyday. I couldn't help but admire all the other girls and beat myself up every single day for how I had let myself get this way.
It also didn't help that I had terrible eating habits as far as time goes that effed my metabolism even more. I rarely ate breakfast because of how early I had to wake up and I didn't want to be a burden on my parents and ask for lunch money so I also would go all day without eating anything until I got home from school. I remember the short walk from my bus stop to my house being brutal because I would feel on the verge of passing out. Being absolutely starving I would gorge myself on fried chicken and spaghetti banquet meals (my 2 favorites) or anything other junk I could get my hands on as soon as possible.
|First semester Freshman year|
The first day of second semester I was mistakenly put into a beginners dance class. For a split second I was sort of excited about it. I had always wanted to dance as a kid and I thought maybe this was finally a way for me to get into it just a little bit. The excitement was short lived when once again I looked around the room at all the girls. I was the biggest one there and only making myself look even bigger by wearing a bulky sweatshirt. The decision was made final when the teacher herself said that this was a class where you had to feel comfortable putting on a leotard. Nope!! I marched my fat ass over to the counselors office on my lunch hour and begged to be switched to a different class that hour. I remember even tearing up as I talked. The counselor was a woman and I'm pretty sure she understood why I was so upset. Thankfully I was switched to another class.
At the end of that semester I went with my friends to the dance recital. Again I teared up watching because I had so badly wanted to be a part of it but couldn't let myself because of my weight. That night I went home and cried some more.....all the while stuffing my face with food. It's a vicious cycle.
|End of Freshman year|
I spent that summer just as fat as usual...swimming at my friends house in shorts and a tankini while everyone else got to where cute bikinis. I felt like the token fat girl of our group.
The first semester of my Sophmore year brought my sister Heather's wedding. I was so excited to be a bridesmaid. She paid for me to go tanning and I had grown out my hair a little and gone darker but I was bigger than ever!
I remember when we went to pick up my sister and nieces from the airport when they flew in for the wedding. I had always been close with my niece Katie but she hadn't seen me in quite some time since they had moved away for the army. We communicated mostly over the phone. We were sitting together in the backseat when she said to me in her cute little kid voice, "I remember when you were skinny" Just like that. So matter of fact. Leave it to a kid to tell it like it is. I was speechless at first but then finally responded. "Yea....me too."
The wedding day arrived and I actually don't remember feeling that bad about myself though oddly enough. I think it was just exciting to get my hair and make up done and wear a nice dress.....all things I had never really experienced before.
It wasn't until the pictures came back from the photographer that reality fully set in. The pictures made me cry. I was HUGE. I had a mental picture in my head.... I actually don't think it was a delusional thought of what I thought I looked like....but more of what I so desperately WISHED I had looked like in that dress. The wish versus the reality was so painful.
About another month passed...again with no changes to any of my habits. I was standing in the hallway waiting for my Athletic Training class to open, when one of my classmates walked up to me. It was the oddest encounter of my life. I had never talked to this girl. Sure we had the same class.....but we had never spoken a single word to one another. Despite this lack of previous interaction, she walked up to me and started twirling my hair around her finger. WTF?? And then came the kicker. She asked me...."are you pregnant?"
|End first semester Sophmore year|
|Highest weight and always wearing a baggy sweatshirt|
That was it. I'd had it. I was humiliated and angry. Angry at her for even daring to ask me and angry at myself for getting to this disgusting point.