Fat: An Autobiography, Part 1

I weighed in today at 204.6, making my total weight loss 56.8 pounds! I really have grown to love weighing in less frequently; I feel I’m more likely to see a loss that way, and now I don’t feel as though the scale has the power to determine my self-worth like it used to. In February, I’m only going to weigh myself on Feb. 13 (two weeks from today), and Feb. 28 (the last day of the month). I’m hoping that by Feb. 13 I will have reached 60 pounds lost, which is only 3.2 pounds, so I feel pretty confident that I can get there. And then, when I weigh in at the end of the month, I’m hoping to be below 200 pounds! I will be SO excited when that happens, I can’t even put it into words.

The last time I was below 200 pounds was probably about 6 or 7 years ago, during college. I entered college weighing around 160-165 pounds, and that was the skinniest I had been in quite some time. It didn’t last long, though. I gained the requisite freshmen fifteen, but then came the sophomore twenty and junior twenty, and by the time I left college, I was back over 200 pounds and then some.

I have been overweight for as long as I can remember. If you were to look at pictures of me in grade school, even then you’d see a chubby girl. I was over 200 pounds by middle school. Middle school in general is hard, but middle school as an overweight nerdy girl is even harder. I couldn’t wear any of the cool clothes from Gap or Limited Too; my clothes came from Walmart because there I could find cheap clothes that would fit me. I was painfully aware of this any time I was around other girls who were talking about clothes; I didn’t dare say that I’d never even been inside a Limited Too, even though I’m sure it was obvious I was too fat to fit into the clothes. This is not to say that I was unhappy; I was fortunate enough to have some friends, but I always felt as though I were on the outskirts of everything. Anytime I went to church or to the mall or to class, I looked around me, hoping to see at least one person who was as big as I felt, but rarely did that happen. I became used to being the biggest girl among my friends and peers, even though I’m sure there were others who were overweight as well. I felt like the only fat girl in the whole school, and as much as this depressed me, I didn’t stop eating. It was sometime during middle school when I learned the art of sneaky eating. Before my parents got home from work, I’d scrounge through the pantry and the fridge, looking for something I could eat. I distinctly remember more than one occasion when I’d eat a Drumstick ice cream cone, and then eat another, and then I’d hide the wrappers deep down in the trash so no one would know. If no one knew how much I was eating, no one could nag me about it or judge me for it.

At the time I don’t think I was even aware of how much my eating was linked to comfort, but I know that must have been what drove me to eat much of the time. In high school, where I felt more at home, I still was always worried about how I looked, and I still spent many days crying out of loneliness, wondering what was wrong with me. The first day of school each year was always agony, as I tried desperately to come up with an outfit that wouldn’t look completely lame, but this was hard to do when the only clothes that fit me were made for middle-aged women. I never let my concerns about my appearance show; I became an expert at covering up sadness with a smile or a joke. I look back at pictures of me in high school, and I cringe. I wonder if people knew how miserable I really was.

I tried to lose weight a few times, but the attempts were half-hearted at best. I’d eat grapefruits for breakfast, salads or a turkey sandwich for lunch, and whatever my mom made for dinner, and I’d lose ten pounds. Motivation then waned, and I’d gain it back. I was a pro at yo-yo dieting by age 16.

Part 2 forthcoming…

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