I am asked this question a lot: Diane, were you overweight as a child?
The short answer is that, “No, I was not overweight as a child.”
Here is the proof. I was about 10 years old here. As a side note, this was my very brief foray into softball. I think I played two seasons. I was terrible and a little bit afraid of the softball. But I sure did like those socks.
However, even though I was not overweight as a child, there were signals that I can now see looking back as an adult that indicated there might be a problem looming in my future.
I began to treat food inappropriately when I was in high school and got my driver’s license. My mom cooked healthy food and we did not have a lot of junk food in the house. However, I had an affection for hamburgers from McDonald’s, Frosty’s from Wendy’s, and chocolate candy from the convenience store.
I’d get in the car to go to a band practice and swing by a fast food restaurant before I got there. I’d eat the food really quick and be right on time for practice. If I was running an errand, I’d add a few candy bars to the order and stick them in my purse for later.
Once I got to college, those behaviors continued.
My saving grace was that I was young, had a young metabolism, and was quite active. I ran on the track, I rode my bike around, and I walked around the huge college campus slugging a backpack and a clarinet around.
However, once I got married, I stopped being active at all. I got a job where I sat all day, I drove the car back and forth to work, and I sat on the couch at night with John eating snacks and junk. And I gained a lot of weight in the first three years of our marriage and then really put on the pounds during my first pregnancy.
Looking back, it didn’t take much to push me into morbid obesity. From the time I was in early high school, I already developed unhealthy behaviors and was treating food inappropriately. And those behaviors did not stop once I got married.
Yes, I ate a lot of food in front or, or with John. But I also still went to fast food restaurants without telling him, hid candy behind the canned green beans in the pantry, and almost always had snack food in my purse.
For me, pinpointing the time undesirable behaviors with food started helped me finally lose 150 pounds. Because looking at what was going on with my life at the time also helped me realize what emotions were involved in my journey into morbid obesity.
I think for me, it was a lot about control. Like many teens, I often did not feel in control of my life, and food was something no one (not teachers, relatives, or friends) could control how much I consumed. In college, it was about control, stress, and the new found freedom of living completely on my own.
As I look back, I see lots of missed opportunities in terms of handling my relationship with food differently. There were friends in college who lived a healthy lifestyle and I often think, “Why did I not emulate their behaviors and learn from them?”
I had healthy friends once I got married who weren’t afraid to gently ask “What are you doing to yourself?”
But I didn’t listen. I didn’t emulate. I kept spiraling down until I weighed over 300 pounds.
That’s a glimpse into my story into morbid obesity.
Can you pinpoint a period in your life where you began to struggle with food or did you always struggle with your weight? Does knowing help? Diane