I’ve been overweight my entire life. The first time my weight was brought to my attention in a negative way was in second grade when I was seven years old. I remember being in the bathroom, my classmate making a remark about how fat I was. At the time, I didn’t understand the insult. I replied with, “I’m not fat. I’m pudgy.” because this is what I heard my mother say to my father many times. I also remember my classmate laughing and calling me ‘pudgy’ until our teacher told us to stop. I’m lucky, because this is the only instance of in-my-face bullying related to my weight that I ever suffered from.
My next attention-moment happened in fourth grade. The local police came to my school to give a seminar on kidnappings and what to do if kidnapped. We were fingerprinted, had a teeth mold made, and our height and weight recorded. At nine years of age, I weighed double the healthy amount of a girl my age. That same year, I started hoarding food in my bedroom to eat at night, because I was both embarrassed by how much I ate and because eating was my best form of comfort.
From that point on, my awareness of my weight grew. I couldn’t run as fast as the other kids on the playground. My dance costumes didn’t look as good on me as the other girls. At age 10, I remember going to JCPenney with mom and noticing that there were size 18 jeans and I told myself I would never be so big that I would have buy size 18 jeans. At the time, I was fitting into size 12 jeans. By the time I was 13, I was squeezing myself into those size 18 jeans.