Growing up, I was always the chunky girl. I got bullied for my weight, being called nicknames like “Big Mac” and others too vulgar to share.
I was the big girl. Granted, the strong girl, but the big girl.
I started competing in tennis tournaments at 8 years old. I knew I could overpower anyone else my age, but running? No change. The friction between my legs wouldn’t give even just a little so I could run like a normal-weight girl my age. Why couldn’t I eat chocolate and pizza and goldfish like my friends who never gained a pound?!
Middle school came.
I went on a 3-week student ambassador trip abroad (after MUCH fundraising, mind you). Being accustomed to our home meals, the trip abroad exposed me to cuisines I straight up did not enjoy. Between skipping some meals out of disgust (talking about you, blood pudding) and walking more than I probably had my whole life, I left at a weight of 167 and came back home around 153. At 12 years old.
The end of that trip – the flight back to be exact – was the cherry on top. One of the 8th graders (I was in 6th) told me I wasn’t worth a dime. What a jab to the heart that was.
After that, I asked my mom to subscribe me to magazines where I could snip out workouts and do them in the house – away from everyone, the fat shaming, the bullying, the judgment.
My weight battle was only just starting.
I started high school still hating my body. The demographic of my school was white and skinny. Few people were overweight, let alone categorized as obese. It pained me to feel exposed.
It was a private school, so naturally we had uniforms. I didn’t want to wear the pants – they weren’t flattering on any girl, but especially one like me whose middle school teacher “harmlessly” called me voluptuous for my curvature. Well, that left me with having to wear the skirt. Not a skort. A skirt.
Even on the hottest days I would try to wear tights to protect my thunder thighs from more judgment.
I continued competing and “knew” I had to lose weight to go anywhere, to continue winning at the high school level and no longer solely relying on my strength.
So many factors affected my life between freshman and sophomore years.
I was going to a private school, which meant more financial sacrifices at home.
You want to go to the movies? Okay, stay at school then go straight from school because we can’t drive home then all the way back up there (30 miles one way). Mind you, this is not at all a diss to my mom – she was a single mother working multiple jobs to keep a roof over our heads. It just was what it was.
That summer, I visited my grandmother in New York. See, my grandmother’s health instilled in me this unique fear of being fat. She was homebound, mostly reliant on a wheelchair, just under 5 feet tall and about 400 pounds of nonchalance when it came to her health. I left there knowing that WOULD NOT be me, no matter what.
Combine the financial struggles and this newly found fat phobia with a coach who consistently said, “You’re not good enough” – whether that was that my mile was taking too long (7 minutes 14 seconds to be exact) or that I was eating too much (half of a lunch-sized plate of pasta after a 2.5 hour workout) and what do you get?
A girl with crushed self-esteem who started to slowly disappear.
The confident, strong girl turned into one of fear, doubt, and disappointment. I knew we had to be more financially frugal, so I said “screw it” when it came to asking for groceries and just ate (some of) what was there. I knew I didn’t want to be – COULDN’T BE – fat like my grandmother, so I started restricting my calories – to a low of 400 calories a day. I was tired of not being good enough, fast enough, strong enough, so I started pushing myself for no less than an hour and a half at the gym in the morning – not counting the 2+ hours of training after school.
In just a couple months, I had dropped over 30 pounds. I stopped having my periods. I stopped caring. I fell into a deep and dark depression, so deep that I didn’t even sit with friends at lunch anymore.
My boyfriend at the time – loving as he was – choked up as he said he didn’t like that my ribs were visible. My mom? So concerned. My heartrate was down to 46. I nearly passed out most days at the gym, to the point when the gym owner said if I had one more episode they would suspend my membership.
Fast forward through the many trials and tribulations that it took to get me to today.
While I’m definitely not 10000% confident in my body, I’m at least 95%. I mean, really, what human loves every inch, crevice, and roll of their body?
I went through college to become a dietitian because I don’t want any little girl experiencing what I did. Heck, I don’t want any ADULT going through this!
It took becoming a dietitian, getting my master’s in public health, and coaching NUMEROUS women to see what actually works in the real world…
To come up with a no-fail system that creates a HEALTHY relationship with food for me and my clients so that WE can achieve our ideal weight FOR THE LONG TERM!
This journey has taught me that there is so much more to life than constantly thinking about dieting, restricting, and excessive exercising. This journey has taught me how to help you get out of the rut, and I can’t wait to help more people stuck in that place.