I went on my first official diet when I was around 13 years old. Until this time, I wasn’t worried about what I ate or how I looked. But my mom had other ideas. “Boys don’t chase after the chubby girls.” she told me and I was signed up for Weight Watchers.
If I am remembering correctly, they didn’t normally take children my age. I believe 16 years old was the youngest they would accept but my mom was a lifetime member. An exception was made.
I don’t remember much about the meetings. A group of ladies in a shop in the City of Moore Shopping Center back in the early 80s. I remember the large sliding weight scale like that was in the doctor’s office. I remember the books what how much and what to eat. Cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, canned unsweetened peaches. The typical diner “diet plate”. I remember hating it.
I didn’t really want to lose weight but I had learned to eat to avoid facing a situation that, as a preteen, frightened and confused me. I had experienced sexual abuse, and was told that I had misunderstood the situation. “That’s probably not what was meant…” my mom told me. I had been mistaken. That’s not REALLY want had happened.
Stuffing my feelings with food along with being prepubescent girl, did cause me to get a little thick in the middle. I started riding my bike regularly and I grew about 6” over the next few years so my body redistributed the weight to my hips and bust. By the time I graduated high school, I was a healthy weight.
That was a long time ago and I still eat my feelings. I’ve learned to recognize when I am eating out of boredom, frustration or celebration. I’m looking for other ways to express myself and not keep emotions and feelings stuffed down because no one wants to hear them. Or they tell me my experience was wrong.
I can’t control how other people respond (or react) to me, but I can determine how I will handle experiences. With food, with words, with yoga or meditation.
I choose self-care and love.