When I was 10 years old, I started dieting. When I was 14 years old I started extreme dieting to the point of starving myself for the sake of looking ‘beautiful.’
I don’t want to share this part of my life, but I feel that it is important to start at the beginning.
I grew up in a family with a very loving mother, two older sisters, an older brother, and a distant father. I am the youngest in the family. My sister that is the closest in age to me is 7 years older than me. My brother is 11 years older than me and my oldest sister is 13 years older than me. My mother is very critical of how she looks. It breaks my heart. She is so loving and gorgeous in all the ways I know. Growing up, my mother and my oldest sister always seemed to be dieting. So, when I say I started dieting at 10 years old it seemed like a normal everyday life habit.
One day when I was 12 years old, I was looking through pictures of a water fight that my family had. I came across a picture of me in my favorite swimsuit. The picture was just me, no one else. I will never forget the feeling I had looking at that picture. I had the worst thoughts fill my mind. I remember looking at the picture and being absolutely disgusted by it. I became nauseated, I wanted to throw up. I couldn’t believe that is what I looked like. Yes, looking back when I was 12, I was a little overwieght. However, I know in that 12 year old mind, I thought I was the size of a whale. My thoughts turned dark. How could I be so ugly? Why do I look like this? Should I even be living? What’s wrong with me? My thoughts became obssessions and I couldn’t turn them off. Over and over these terrible thoughts kept coming back to my mind. Flashes of the picture kept creeping into my thoughts. I took the picture and put it in my pocket.
During this time, my best friend was my cousin. We did everything together. I decided that I needed to try and get my mind off of that horrid picture, so I went over to my cousin’s house. When I went over, she had just gotten home from a Weight Watchers meeting with her mom. She was telling me how excited she was that she had lost 2 pounds! Her success made me curious. I asked her how Weight Watchers worked, and she began to tell me about points and how many points someone my age and weight should have. I was hooked. I had that dumb picture in my pocket and I was going to do everything I could to make sure another photo would never be as bad.
So, when I was 12 years old I started Weight Watchers. I frantically counted points every day. Instead of the picture being in my head it was now points, carbs, sugars, fiber, and calories. I weighed myself daily. It was a strict routine. I would wake up, weigh myself, have a 5 point breakfast, go to school, skip lunch, come home eat 10 points worth of food, have a 3 point snack later, and then weigh myself one more time before bed. I did this for about one year. I saw progress. I lost weight fast. I started making friends at school. Everything was getting better. I started to ease up on my strict diet. I let myself have cheat days. Some days I ate 21 points worth of food. GASP!
But after a few months of these glorious cheat days, I started gaining weight. I was gaining pounds rapidly. My obsession turned to focusing on how my tummy was rolling over my jeans. I would feel my legs rub against each other and I would start to think that everyone was looking at my thighs and my stomach. My thoughts began obsessing about what others were thinking of me and how they must think I was disgusting. I had to change, again.
To be continued…