I have always been fat. Every stage of my life, at least the ones I remember. My mom’s side of the family was all overweight so I didn’t know that it was a problem until I was told. I have never had a healthy relationship with food, I was never taught one. My family has always used food as a love language. Happy, sad, celebratory, grieving, the setting did not matter food would be at the center. Our house was always stocked with all of the best snacks and the fridge full of every sugary drink out there. When you have these things at your disposal and you don’t yet have self control you’re going to eat them. Growing up I was made to eat things I didn’t like and I couldn’t leave the table until my plate was clean. These are great ideas in theory but in practice they are confusing for a child. It teaches the mind to eat just to eat instead of eating because you are hungry.
I lucked out for the most part in regards to bullying. Having a cool older brother helps you out a lot in school. I got in with the cool kids at a young enough age that I was always accepted. Of course kids are cruel so I did not walk away unscathed. One of the things that has stayed with me the most was not meant as bullying but to this day it still haunts me. My brother and all of his friends would refer to me as “Big E”. I would be walking down the hallways and hear that being shouted, I know it was just a nickname and they really meant no harm, it stung anyway. Gym class was my worst nightmare. I was always the last one running, I could do the least pushups, pullups, etc. It was embarrassing and I spent a lot of nights crying myself to sleep.
My mom put me on weight watchers more times than I can count. I would write down everything I ate and when I hit the points I could not have anything else regardless of if I felt hungry or not. I would often sneak to the kitchen late at night and binge on things and then cover it up so no one knew. At twenty-nine I still do that at times, old habits die hard. I tried it all: fad diets, not eating, purging, supplements. All of this was so detrimental to how I viewed myself. I started taking a razor to my stomach, I just wanted it gone. I prayed for the day that I would be skinny.
That day has never come but at twenty-nine I have more days of loving myself than hating myself and that matters most to me. I have learned you can love yourself as you are and still work on bettering yourself. I put food that is good for me in my body, I do not deprive myself of the things that I want, I go on walks, ride a stationary bike, I hike, and I do these things because they make me feel good instead of doing them because I feel the need to lose weight. And I have finally stopped letting my weight hold me back from doing things I want to do. I have traveled all over the world and I do not plan on slowing down, I wear two piece bathing suits, I have sex, I wear things that make me feel pretty out in public. Most importantly I look in the mirror most days and I like what I see. I have come so far from the little girl crying herself to sleep because she never thought she would be pretty enough. We should all be a little bit kinder to ourselves, you deserve the empathy you pass along to others.