I always remember being fat. In preschool I can remember kids calling me names and teasing me about my weight. Now looking back on it, in pictures of myself when I was little, I don’t seem any bigger then the other kids. At least not until I was about 8. Then you can really start to see the difference between me and the other kids in school photos. Pudging belly, still rounded baby face. And to add insult to injury, we were poor. So to compliment my widening belly, I was also almost always outfitted in sweat pants and a sweat shirt, that my grandmother, who worked for Hanes Mill, got from the discount store at the mill.
I grew up in a generation of kids who were raised by the first generation of single, working, professional mothers. Mom’s of the 80’s, who were independent, career women. Women who had been abandoned by their husbands. Men who, unlike their fathers, did not stick around and take care of their families, no matter how unhappy they were. So my Mom focused on providing for me, and did a hell of a job. She taught me how to be responsible, independent, and strong. But she in turn, did not remember to teach me how to take care of myself, because she didn’t remember to take care of herself. There was no time for that.
Many nights, dinner consisted of a slice (or 2 or 3) of white bread, topped with pasta sauce from the jar and a slice of american cheese, toasted in the oven. Or a box of mac and cheese with cut up hot dogs in it. Hey, I don’t blame her. I’m a single Mom now, and it’s hard as hell. She was in the generation of the “founding fathers” of single motherhood. She had no one to teach her the rights and wrongs of how to balance being soccer Mom and working Mom.
So needless to say with Mom working all the time, I didn’t do sports or any type of activities like my friends did. No cheerleading or softball. I finally did play a year of softball my fifth grade year, but I was so big by that time, almost 100 pounds, the equipment and uniforms didn’t fit me right, and some of the other girls made fun of me. So that put an end to that.
The point of this small tale is not a sob story of a fat kid. But what I hope to be the basis of this blog. Most people don’t just magically get fat as an adult. They learn poor eating habits as a child and most people, who truly struggle with weight, do so their whole lives. People turn to food for different reasons. Boredom, trauma, comfort, distraction. The list goes on. In my case it was a mixture of comfort and boredom, from the loneliness of being a latch key kid. And for me, eventually food turned into a safety blanket when I was sad, mad, or hurt. It also turned in to a way to celebrate success. Something good happens? Lets go out to dinner to celebrate! Food was always there for me, when no one else was. And it still is.
This way of thinking is what over weight people struggle with. Food truly is an addiction. And it’s not like a cigarette or a beer. You can’t live without it, you have to eat to live. To date, food is my number one nemesis, and my best friend.
I’m writing this blog in hopes of getting it all out there, from the point of view of a fat kid. A fat teenager. A fat adult. A constant dieter. A weight loss seesawer. A food addict. And maybe there are people out there who can relate. Maybe we can help each other. And maybe it will help others understand the struggle of being overweight in the world that never stops judging us by the way we look.