I’ve been overweight for nearly all of my life. I’ve also always been really, really short.
I can recall a time when I was in kindergarten, where I was so tiny, in both height and weight, that even the smallest size gym uniform (I went to a Catholic school) couldn’t fit me. I stayed about that size for the next few years.
Then third grade came. That’s the first time, when I look back through old yearbook pictures, that I’m able to notice my weight gain. I feel like this coincides with when my dad started running the household — when I was younger, my dad worked and my mom stayed at home and, as you’ll see, she has a much better grasp on “healthy” than my dad ever did or ever will.
So I started gaining weight. I loved pizza, Ranch dressing, and of course, pasta. My dad’s mom was Italian and therefore loved cooking for me whenever I would visit. Which was every weekend for a good three or four years, I’d say.
And the weight kept coming. I remember first worrying about my weight when I was in fifth grade. I feel like me and my friends were talking about how much we weighed, and they were all saying things in the 80s and 90s. And there I was, 10 years old, at over 100 lbs. I felt ashamed. But I couldn’t do anything about it, since I was 10 and pretty much completely under the control of my parents. Well, my dad mainly. My mom never really had a lot of say.
I remember sometime in middle school, I decided to start tracking my weight. In 7th grade, I was around 4’9 or 4’10 and weighed 123 lbs. It was the first and last time I wrote down my weight — I was too ashamed to look at the number, to even think about how fat I was.
In freshman year of high school, I took the mandatory PE class which included doing the Presidential Fitness Test, or whatever it’s called. The main thing is that it involved being weighed throughout the year, something I dreaded. Yet, because I was working out for about 30 minutes every day, I did lose some weight that year. I got down to around 134. And I was estactic! It ended up being a loss of maybe 5 lbs throughout the year (I still wasn’t able to change my eating habits — more about my own lack of self-control rather than my father, but he still played a big role).
Then, that summer, my family and I took a big week-long trip up to the mountains here in NC. It was a nice place, and the best thing? Buffets for every meal. I ate without worrying. That is, until we came back. I weighed myself, and I was 140 lbs. 140 lbs at 4’11. I was crushed. That one week had ruined everything my freshman year had accomplished! I don’t think I understood the concept of water weight and other things when I was 15, and that’s probably why that hit me so hard.
Throughout the rest of high school, my weight stayed pretty much the same, as far as I can remember. Participating in the school musicals would usually lead to a spring slimdown for me (doing rehearsals 4+ times a week that involved a lot of dancing really helped, hahaha).
And then college. My dad raised me with the idea that when you go out to eat, especially when it was a buffet situation, that you should eat your money’s worth. Well, this is sort of a problem when you have a dining hall that’s all-you-can-eat and the meal plan that cost over $1,000 — that’s a LOT of eating to get your money’s worth.
That, combined with a recent break-up, caused me to shoot up to 181 lbs by November of my freshman year. And I STILL didn’t do anything about it! I was too lazy, had too much free time, loved the internet too much, and was far too content to ignore the problem than to get off my ass and go to the gym that I was paying for with my tuition.
After my mom, sister, and I left the poisonous atmosphere that my dad created, I decided it was finally time to change. At the beginning of my sophomore year, my friends took me to a zumba class at my school’s rec center, and I fell in love. I initially only planned to go once or twice a week, but I ended up going four times a week, sometimes more when classes were held on the weekends. That, combined with a better eating mentality regarding the dining hall, is what caused my weight loss of 20 lbs in the fall of 2010.
And now it’s the spring of 2013 and I’ve officially stopped my deliberate journey to lose weight. I realized that focusing on calories consumed and calories burned was only stressing me out, and leading me down a path that may have ended in an eating disorder. My focus now is on health: eating well, moving my body, regardless of any sort of weight gain, loss, or maintenance that may occur.