Yesterday, as I was browsing the news feed on Facebook, I came across a girl from my high school.
I didn’t know her that well back then because she was a few years younger than me, but I have been following her weight loss journey since we became FB friends about 2 or 3 years ago.
This was her post:
This girl has undergone a complete transformation.
I have been able to watch this girl literally shrink before my eyes.
We connected via FB messages and I told her how inspired I was by her and she responded the same to me.
As I thought back over the last year and a half, I thought about how I have seen countless status updates and pictures of her going to the gym, spinning, running a half marathon (70 lbs heavier no less), and just constantly being active and healthy.
It occurred to me that there was
to how she had lost all that weight.
There was no magic trick or diet pills.
There was no weight loss surgery or expensive trainers.
There was nothing but sheer will and determination to live the best life possible.
Did I mention that this girl also beat Leukemia a few years back as well?
Ya, she is pretty badass.
I realized that how we get back to healthy
is no mystery.
We all know the science.
That is not what this post is about.
I believe the missing piece of the obesity puzzle
is actually figuring out how we got to the
in the first place.
As I look back over my life, I realize I like to play the “I was just always fat,” card.
But as you can see, I wasn’t fat out of the womb. 🙂
That’s me on the left with the blond hair. See, I was skinny once.
And pretty darn adorable.
But by second grade, I was already getting chubby.
How does that happen by age 7?
Why was I the one in my family who turned to food?
When everyone else was normal sized?
My mom used to joke that when I was a kid, she would always know where I had been
because of the trail of plastic American cheese wrappers I left behind.
I think that issues with food start small and it starts young.
I was the middle child and I know I had middle child syndrome.
I think I always intrinsically felt inferior to my older sister, even though I completely looked up to her and loved her.
Actually maybe because of how much I looked up to her.
I was more on the shy side where she was more outgoing.
She was super smart and super talented, reading and showing off her artistic skills at a very young age.
I know I always felt that I was in her shadow.
I don’t think it was anything that anyone did.
My parents never made me feel bad about my weight.
They were always super supportive of when I would try to be healthy.
They were always there with a shoulder to cry on when I got sick and tired of being the fat girl.
I had an extremely blessed and happy life growing up.
This is not some tale of a childhood trauma that made me who I am.
I think sometimes it can just happen because of life’s circumstances.
It started young
and then that became who I was.
I don’t remember the first time I was called fat, I just know that I always WAS.
I just always saw myself that way.
I knew it wasn’t normal and I knew that there was something wrong with me
(in my little kid mind anyway).
I started sneaking food and I started mindlessly picking.
Being in my house meant I was rummaging through kitchen cupboards, in search of my next snack.
I knew all of my mom’s hiding spots for cookies or treats and would regularly check to see what was in the stash.
I’m not talking cookie jar hiding spot here…
I’m talking about a underneath a cupboard in the dining room
in the upstairs hallway in a laundry basket.
If it was in the house, I would seek it out.
I had already become a sneaky eater…a habit I am trying to break still today.
I don’t blame my parents for how I turned out…(except for the good parts of course).
At the same time, I do think it is obvious that there a lot of little things along the way that contributed to my behaviors.
Not bad parenting things…normal human behavior-type things.
Things that I can do differently with my daughter.
1) I can’t sneak food…she will know.
And she will copy me.
2) I can’t use food as a reward or as a way to comfort.
Not for good grades
or a bad day
or because the Mets won the World Series
(a girl can dream, can’t she?)
(This is not one I credit my parents with either…I have realized it is just society in general that associates rewarding one’s accomplishments with food).
3) I can’t eat healthy leading up to some big event, like a vacation or a wedding…only to splurge and go nuts at said event with reckless abandon.
Healthy is all the time…not just a temporary thing.
Stick that yo-yo where the sun don’t shine.
4) Family time (though we will eat family dinners together) will not be centered around meals, restaurants, desserts, party food, etc. or watching TV
(or other activities equally proficient at the art of time suckage).
Family time will consist of board games, walks, sports, reading, etc…or any other non-food related activities that we enjoy.
This is not to imply that my parents didn’t do these things for me growing up.
We did have very active lives in many ways and I feel that I was pretty well rounded.
But it is the overall way of thinking that needs to be different.
Healthy living is all of the time…not some of the time.
Who knows all of the exact reasons why I turned out the way I did.
And in all honesty, I am not entirely upset that I spent two-thirds of my life being insecure, morbidly obese, and shy.
It gave me something to overcome
and as a result
I am stronger today.
And will continue to be strong for my daughter.
I mean, look at that face.