Weight loss and dieting became a part of my life very young – struggling with weight and body image are problems I’ve had in my life longer than I haven’t. By third grade, I was being told phrases like, “you will get taller!” or “it’s just baby fat.” They seem very innocent and in all actuality, they are. I don’t believe the people who said them meant me any harm. I could see that I was different, but didn’t know what weight loss or dieting was or that adjusting your eating habits was the solution. Then, a cousin of mine moved in with us. We will call her Lara for privacy.
When Lara moved in with us I became highly aware of my weight. This is really when my irrational thinking patterns swung into full force. Lara shared the same body image problems as me though she was much smaller in size. She would remind me that boys would never look at me if I stayed the weight that I was (looking back, I really wasn’t as big as I saw myself).
She suffered from bulimia and introduced me to different methods of losing weight. I won’t lie, I tried the throwing up method as a pre-teen, but never stuck with it. I loathe throwing up and couldn’t bring myself to do that. Lara, however, continued on. All the boys always liked her and never looked in my direction which in my head confirmed what she had told me. Boys really didn’t like bigger girls (I know this now to be untrue!). This brought on the yo-yo dieting, the social isolation, the withdrawnness. Those moments in my life really defined who I became.