Friday, April 22, 2011


The first time I ever thought about how my body looked, I was 11 years old. I was at the park one night with a group of kids from my neighborhood. There was a girl there that was two years older, whom I really looked up to. She had large defined calves. I looked down at my legs, and they basically went straight down from my knees to my ankles, with a little taper. I remember thinking I needed to eat more, so my calves could look like hers, and I did.

The next thing I remember is, my dad told my mom I was, "flabby looking." I don't know how I found out he said this, but I felt so bad. I still remember the green and pink sweater I had on at the time. I walked up to the top of my driveway, sat down on the curb, and cried. I didn't know what to do about it, but it confused me. I didn't think there was anything wrong with me. My dad had been overweight as long as I could remember. Why was he talking to my mom about my weight? Was something wrong with me?

My mom was a fantastic cook, and our meals were extra tasty. They never lacked flavor, or fat. We ate lots of vegetables, full of butter and salt. We never talked about healthy food choices. I am not blaming anyone for anything. I am the only one in charge of me. In a way, I think it's good we didn't focus on weight. I think that's why it wasn't a concern for me for most of my life, not even until my twenties. I could pretty much eat whatever I wanted, and look fine.

I developed early, and got a bra in 4th grade, because I needed one. It was kind of embarrassing, but in a way, I liked it, as I felt more grown up.

I was average sized in Jr. high and high school. Not super skinny, not fat. Just average. I looked alright. I was very primpy in Jr. High, and spent a lot of time on my hair and make up. I woke up at 5 to get ready, and curl every piece of my big hair. I got a fair amount of attention from boys and girlfriends for my looks. I was still taller than many of the boys. Because of my early development, I looked older. I started to feel like I couldn't keep up with the clothes, and the clicks. I was never super emotional, and didn't understand girls who were. Sometimes I thought many of those girls were exhausting! Some of the friends I had, started making choices that were not in keeping with what I had been taught in church, and by my parents. I decided to change friends, and I don't know if those other girls even missed me. I sat by myself at lunch for a while, and ate with random people, until I met a great girl who I clicked with immediately. Our styles and body types were very different. She dressed in boy jeans, and flannel shirts. I did the same sometimes, but liked to be girly sometimes too. She would tease me about it, but it was fine. We understood each other.

I had girlfriends in high school who were not into hair and makeup, and I went along with it. I was happy. I was fine. I remember not thinking I was super thin, but I never was worried about it enough to do anything about it. I remember a few of the girls that were my friends, were into wearing guy jeans and plaid shirts. I tried to do this too a bit, and the jeans NEVER worked for my body. I am an hour glass. I had a few boy friends, and lots of guy friends. I was very naive, and didn't have a real understanding of attraction, and hormones. I had never been in love.

I went the day after I graduated from High school to be a nanny for my cousin and his family, for the three months before college started in the fall. Suddenly, the boys were interested in me. I had a couple boyfriends in one summer, and my mom and dad were even worried I would choose to get married rather than go to college. I started to see how boys reacted when I was all done up. I got really skinny. I wasn't really trying, but I just didn't think a lot about food, and I went to the gym whenever I got a chance, as I didn't really have any social connections there other than the few boyfriends. My mom asked me if I had an eating disorder. I didn't. I like food too much. The thought never even crossed my mind. So, I got on the scale, and I weighed 125 lbs.

Everything changed when I got to college. I don't know why, or how it happened. I was back into the hair and makeup. I went to a small community college where most kids didn't have much money, and the clothes I did have seemed so nice and plentiful. I made lots of friends, and had a fair amount of boys interested in me. I was starting to understand how things worked, and what guys liked (for the most part).

I tried out for Dance Co. and made it. I was now dancing hours and hours every day. I took every dance class I could fit into my schedule. I wanted to learn everything I could. I never got to have dance lessons as a kid, and I wanted/needed to make up for lost time! I didn't have much money for food, and I stayed around 125 to 127 lbs the whole time I was there. I was pure muscle. I was in shape! My life and my time were all about me. I wore a bikini, and I felt fine in it. Not one bit self conscious. Wow... I can't believe I am even saying that!

My second year in college, I won the Miss Snow pageant. It was my first time. I kind of did it as a joke. Then I won, and it became more serious, because I had to go to the Miss Utah competition and compete. Winning the competition gave me all sorts of confidence. When we got the results back from Miss Snow, I found out I won the swimsuit portion of the competition, hands down. I felt great about myself. In a way though, I started basing my self esteem on my looks. At Miss Utah, I was the only girl who didn't need supplementation in the bust. I was proud of myself. Still though, I didn't have to work for the body I had. I didn't worry about it. It was just there, no matter what I ate. I didn't do a single sit up, or intentional exercise. Just my dance and aerobics classes. Years later, I remember a friend of mine telling me about her struggle with depression. I remember thinking to myself... "Why is she depressed? She is skinny!" The reason I thought that, was when I have had feelings of depression over the years, it is mostly associated with my weight in some way or another.

When I moved back home after college, I was on a mission to date as much as possible, and I did. Many times, I would have three dates a day - breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I was happy when I was surrounded my males who wanted my attention. I was a tease, and I knew it. My mom wanted me to get a job, but I was having tons of fun, and considered dating my job. :)

I finally got a job at a company where I sat for eight to ten hours a day. I was still eating whatever I wanted, but the exercise had stopped. I started dating someone I thought was my soul mate. I thought we were for sure going to be together. Things were getting serious, and we had talked about marriage. He was very into me, and then one day, he grabbed my double chin (that I have no matter what size I am), and looked at me and asked, "what is this?" Then, a few weeks later we were bowling, and he told me his cousin told him I looked like I had gained some weight. He put his hand on my abdomen right after telling me that, and patted it as if to say, "I know you can make this go away." I hadn't noticed, or even thought about it. I went home and weighed myself, and the scale said 135lbs. I had gained 7lbs.

For anyone who knows me, they know I am big boned. I don't say this as an excuse. I say it, because I have hips, I have a chest. Even at my thinnest, my wrists are bigger than my mom's. I have larger hands and feet. I have never been petite; never even at my thinnest, when my mom thought I had an eating disorder, and told me I was too thin.

Anyway, that boyfriend continued working on me about my weight. I started to feel self conscious all the time. My personality changed from happy and friendly, to closed and insecure. Even my posture changed. I didn't know what to do about it. I had never tried to lose weight before, or needed to. I had never met anyone so concerned with my weight. He told me all sorts of things, like his uncle said, "Girls that dance when they are young, end up as fat adults." I still loved him, as unhealthy as it was. I was asking him one night what we could do to improve our relationship, and he looked me in the eye, and asked if I could just, "lose a little weight for him." That was the last thing he ever said to me about my weight. I was finished.

Looking back, I am so glad I got out, but wish I knew how to cope with the emotional aftermath of dating someone like that. It took me years to realize it was him with the problem, not me. My weight went up about 5lbs from there. I stayed at around 140lbs for years. 140 is totally fine, but I felt like a COW! I really thought I was obese. I am so mad and sad I gave such a selfish person so much control over me and my emotions.

Now I know... I am an emotional eater. I know I am. I eat when I am stressed. I eat when I am happy. I eat when I am bored. I eat to celebrate. I eat for many reasons.

I will continue this later. It is midnight, and I will need to feed a sweet hungry baby in a couple hours.

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