The Struggles Of Being The Child Who Was Overweight

The Struggles Of Being The Child Who Was Overweight

Growing up being the "fat" kid always had its challenges.
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Since the holidays are over I decided to write about a problem that is really prevalent nowadays and is a personal problem as well. During the holidays, it’s no secret that we love to eat, that’s basically what Thanksgiving is, but what happens when you overeat?

As a child, I grew up eating everything I wanted. My mother didn’t have much growing up, so she found it hard to say no to me if I said I was hungry. This is how I grew up as an overweight child and why I was so miserable.

Growing up as an overweight child was very rough and came with many challenges that most people don’t understand. I didn’t choose to be “fat” nor did I want it, but it was the hand I was dealt and had to live with it.

As a child, you eat what you are given and when you come from a middle-class family that has only enough to pay the bills and buy food, sometimes those options aren’t the healthiest. It’s sad, but most “cheaper” food options are the unhealthy ones and that was what I was stuck with. So as the years went on and I continued to eat the unhealthy options, the pounds just piled on.

This was difficult for me because it made me the black sheep of my family. Both my sisters and my niece were all thin, so they were always able to get the nicer clothes because it came in their size, but never mine. They were able to share clothes because they were all relatively the same size where I couldn’t because I was so much bigger than they were. These feelings of being left out only fueled the fire of my eating and made matters worse.

Then you had the kids at school. When they say kids are cruel they are not lying. The majority of bullying I suffered through for years was because of my weight. When I was forced to run the mile in PE, the kids made fun of how long it took me to run it. When I was forced to participate in the games I was good at they laughed. And when I tried out for the girls’ basketball team they made jokes that I would shake the ground we played on.

These actions against me made me want to better myself and I tried. People didn’t see how hard I tried. They didn’t see the effort I put in only to be rewarded with failure time and time again. I grew up with a father and siblings who were all always thin and told me to try harder, but they didn’t understand that I already was. They didn't understand that it was a harder battle for me than it was for them.

I tried for years the dieting, the exercising but since people were “making” me do it, it never stuck. The weight wouldn’t come off because I wasn’t doing it for me. Diet and exercise are essential, yes, but if your mind isn’t in the game you aren’t going to see the results.

Growing up as an overweight child had a lot to do with the depression I suffer from today. It has had lasting effects into my early adulthood. My family tried to help but they didn’t understand. My weight spiraled out of control until one day I decided it was time to change. That day came later than I would have liked but it happened.

February of this past year, I started seeing a new doctor and he gave me the tools I needed to really begin to change. In February I started out at 212 lbs. at 19-years-old and as of the end of December, I am at 160 lbs. at 20 years old.

Growing up as an overweight child is hard but if you are given the right tools and the right motivation you will have the strength you need to change your life.
Cover Image Credit: 123rf

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Being Skinny Isn’t As Great As You Think

A reflection on the struggles that come with a person's body image.

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Body image. It is one of the most powerful and harmful things on a person's self-esteem. Society and media have placed so many images of what we "should" look like. How we need to be eating, exercising, dressing, EVERYTHING. According to others, we always need to change ourselves or second guess how we see our bodies.

For as long as I can remember everyone has called me "tiny". Sure, being small and being able to fit into a lot of clothes is fun, but being tiny or thin isn't always a good thing. I am your typical college kid eating whatever I want whenever I want.

The only difference between myself and other students is that I almost never gain weight. Some girls or guys may read that part and think that I have a gift or blessing. That I can do whatever I want and still stay small and "pretty".

Have you ever finished a meal then looked at yourself and felt like something wasn't right? Some people in today's world and in history will spend time looking at themselves and seeing multiple things that are wrong with their body.

Some handled that by exercising and losing weight or gaining muscle, others have gone as far as throwing up their food or taking pills that force their bodies not to gain ANY weight. Hearing about that from adults or doctors seems crazy but people do it all the time. Possibly the people around you and you would never know.

I went to middle school with a girl that always finished her lunch walking to the trash and then taking herself to the bathroom. She wouldn't come back to our table until the lunch bell rang. Most people didn't give a second thought to this situation, me however, I followed her one day. What I saw next was something I wasn't prepared for as a 7th grader.

Two sinks, a mirror, and three stalls. One was occupied and the rest were empty. I walked into crying and nothing else. The girl had already taken care of her food and was trying to gather herself after what she just did.

People told her that she was gaining weight, that she was "chunky" or fat. She wasn't the only girl around that dealt with horrible comments like that. It's also not just girls dealing with issues like this.

Boys and men are constantly judged and only "ideal" if they are muscular. Young boys are called pigs or disgusting only because of their weight and looking bigger than the "average" person. Men are downgraded to a lesser meaning when they are thin and "stick like".

Even as we grow up kids and sometimes adults say things without realizing the effect. Being called tiny or skinny all of the time can make someone just feel small. Getting comments to eat a hamburger and fries can make someone feel insulted.

Having comments made about your skin or hair and people making assumptions about you can make someone feel misunderstood or judged. Being told that you need to eat more or go tanning because your body doesn't "look right" can torture a person.

There are so many things that play into a person's self-esteem. Average size, too small or too big is simply just words coming out of someone's mouth that don't understand the true beauties in life.

Do you ever look at a big oak tree and say, "You're too fat, you should really lose some weight."

Do you ever see a flower that blooms smaller than a quarter and tells it, "You are tiny! Why don't you go eat a burrito or something?"

No. You probably don't. Just replace the oak tree with mom and see how that feels coming out of your mouth. Replace flower with a teenage girl and see if you can actually say all of those things. Imagine if you were a parent and it was your little girl or boy that you were talking to and you said those words. Would you be happy with yourself? Would you feel guilty? Would you push them to make their body unhealthy just to fit society's standards?

I hope that you wouldn't

There are so many of us out there being told what to do with ourselves in order to be happy with our bodies. How can someone else determine our happiness for us? I have personally gotten to the point of breaking.

I see friends on a daily basis that want to change their body because it's "ugly". Many of those thoughts are because of things society has put in our minds, and not what truly matters.

As a society, we need to push towards total acceptance. Now, I am not meaning the sexuality or ethnicity type of acceptance because those are important on a different level. Respecting each other and our bodies are something that needs to be understood and enforced as much as sexuality acceptance is pushed.

I want to live in a world and raise children in a world that doesn't make people feel horrible about their bodies. It is THEIR body, not ours. The only body we should be worrying about is our own. I want my future daughter to grow and love playing dress up without wondering if her body looks right in what she's wearing. I want my future son to go to gym class and be able to do only one pull up with all of the other boys cheering him on to do better.

Is that too much to ask?

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