These pictures show me being 14-16 years old.
Warning: long post ahead!
I started dieting after my mom told me that I have a fat butt. That was when I was 13 and a half years old. As you can see in the pictures above I was nowhere near fat, but I was constantly told to watch what and how much I eat, to move more, to eat less sweets, etc. My mom had only good intentions when she told me these things - she was fat as a kid and didn’t want me to get there myself. But what she did with all of her comments was to drive me into disordered eating.
Since she didn’t want me to eat sweets, I would eat them when she wasn’t around; either when she was working or I’d buy some after school and eat them on the bus and then throw the wrappers away before I got home. The same went for other snack foods (chips, crackers, etc.) and anything else that you would label “unhealthy”. I would eat it secretly and get rid of any evidence before my mom could see it.
I would also diet secretly from time to time. My diet pretty much consisted of having a cup of milk for breakfast, a tiny portion of lunch and a slice of bread with cheese on it for dinner. Since we ate dinner together I couldn’t skip it, but whenever I had the option to, I did. As you can see I ate way too little and then I couldn’t keep up with it anymore and binge until I was back to my old weight (or even a little more).
My weight and dieting were constantly on my mind. Since my first attempt to lose weight, I can exactly tell you for each point in my life how much I weighed and what diet I was on if I was dieting at that point of life. I always thought that I was “too fat”. I felt too fat to have fun with friends, to wear certain clothes, to go swimming, I often felt too fat to have friends. Always thinking that I am “too fat” has made me “too fat”. I am now obese and missed out on a lot of fun things.
I later discovered why my mom constantly wanted me to lose weight even though I was at a healthy weight back then. I once asked her to guess how much I weigh - and she overestimated my weight by at least 40 pounds. I weighed 90 kg back then and she said that she would guess that I weigh at least 110 kg. No wonder she thought that I should lose weight when I didn’t need to do it at all. If she overestimated my weight by only half of that in the beginning that would’ve put me from being in a perfectly normal weight range into the overweight category (and a couple of years later from healthy to obese).
Looking back at these pictures I can’t believe that I thought I was too fat. I even once found a diary entry where I wrote about wanting to weigh so little that I would’ve had a BMI below 18.5. I stared at the diary and cried for a couple of minutes when I realized how desperate I wanted to lose weight and be skinny. I actually still get teary eyes just writing this.
I could write hours about eating, dieting and how overweight/obese people are viewed in my family. Let’s just leave it at that: except for my dad we all have an eating disorder. None of the females in my closest family has a healthy relationship with her body or with food/dieting.
Just in the past couple of months I also realized that there is something else that led to my weight gain that comes from the way I was raised: We never talked about problems. Problems just didn’t exist. As my mom often said “suck it up”. Emotions just didn’t exist. You didn’t feel good? You should be above such things. I personally found the strategy to have sweets or other comfort foods when I didn’t feel good (also when I felt exceptionally good). I never learned to deal with my emotions - negative or positive. If I had a problem I simply didn’t talk about it. To the outside we always had to appear as “the perfect family” even when we all knew that there were many things not going well. That probably comes with territory when your dad is a well known person in town and everyone watches him and his family. I’m just glad that my dad is now retired and I live far away from home where I can remain anonymous if I want to.
Whew, feels weird being so open about all of this. I really hope that I can continue this openness in the future not only here on my blog, but also open up more in real life. Oh, and congratulations if you really read through all of this :) !