I would like to start off this series by writing about one of my first memories of my overweight body affecting my daily life
I wouldn’t say that I’ve always been fat; I do believe there were a few years in between birth and about 6 years old that I was a normal sized child, but the chubby years soon came for me. I don’t even think I have a good reason as to why I quickly became the fattest child in my elementary school, I mean, do any of us truly have a good reason for not taking care of ourselves?
Now, I know a lot of people quickly pointed blame to my mother, but it wasn’t her fault. She did everything she could to keep me away from the snacks, but I always found a way to satisfy my craving.
I found food comforting, supportive, and inclusive. It was the one thing in my young life that didn’t turn on me. My biological father was a scummy man who was not a part of my life, and even as a young child I found myself wondering why I wasn’t good enough to receive a real father. Surrounded by my classmates with two parents, I felt like a real loser. For some reason, God didn’t see fit to give me a biological father who loved me, raised me, and taught me to play sports, and at such a young age, I didn’t understand the role my grandfather would play in my life, or how much love my mother would give me; all I saw was a child who didn’t deserve the love of two parents. I didn’t need to earn the love of food. Oatmeal crème pies didn’t care what I looked like or how many parents I had, they were just there, waiting to be consumed. So, as my early years progressed, so did my bad eating habits.
Growing up in a small town, most of our stores were cute little boutiques downtown that my single mother with one income couldn’t afford, and most of our shopping was done at the local Walmart. A large majority of my classmates would travel to the big city of Billings, Montana to buy their new school supplies and clothing, but this was another luxury we couldn’t indulge in, making my Walmart brand clothing that much more lackluster. Nonetheless, my mother did everything in her power to make sure I was clothed and arrived at school with the needed supplies.
Around my fourth grade year, at the age of 10, I was getting pretty chubby. I remember going shopping in early August for my new clothes and not being able to find anything that fit me right. I was just a little too chubby for the girls large, but not fat enough (yet) for the juniors small sizes; I was stuck in the middle. Mom and I tried on clothing for what felt like hours, only to have a few shirts in our cart. I remember feeling sad knowing that I was wasting my mother’s time, and embarrassed knowing I wouldn’t have any clothes to wear to school. Eventually we reached a small section of folded sweatpants that happened to be on clearance and my mom grabbed a pair for me to try on. I waddled myself over to the fitting room and almost cried when they pulled all the way up; at last, we had found some pants. Mom bought several pairs of sweatpants that day, and for most of the school year, including the hot months, I wore them.
I’ll never forget the ridicule I faced for wearing sweatpants all year long, and I’ll never forget the feelings of embarrassment, sadness, and shame that hit me every morning. At 10 years old I had already been dealing with the feelings of being unwanted and not good enough for a father, and now I had to deal with being too fat for Walmart clothing.
But I didn’t stop eating.
The next 17 years would be filled with gaining more and more weight, and feeling even more shame.
I tell this story in hopes of helping others understand obesity. Did I do this to myself? YES. I watched every single piece of food enter my mouth these past 27 years, and I deal with the consequences of those choices. But, it isn’t always a black and white issue. As a young girl I turned to food for comfort. My mother and grandparents did their best to teach me healthy habits, but back then, we didn’t understand that these healthy habits need to be paired with a healthy brain. My feelings of being unwanted led me to develop unhealthy eating habits, which led me to develop unhealthy feelings of self-worth, feelings that I still deal with today. I hope you will join me on this journey of Fat Girls Never Win, and learn more about my journey to who I am today.