I think it may have started the morning I could no longer wiggle into my size 16 jeans at age fifteen. You know that sexy dance all of us overweight girls do? The one where we sashay to and fro and attempt to whirl our tight jeans over our thighs and ass in hopes the smaller number will make our mistakes at dinner last night look smaller around our hips? Or the one where we dry hump the air while pulling them over our muffin top? I think that one is my personal favorite. It could have started when the kids in middle school nicknamed me, “marshmallow,” or maybe it was when all of my naturally beautiful and skinny friends all were asked by a boy to dance at the dances while I sat and pushed chips around my plate. Regardless, at some point in my life I started to abhor myself and my body and couldn’t pinpoint why I wasn’t blessed like everybody else.
My story begins around the age 18 months when I was diagnosed with leukemia. (Yeah, even kids get cancer). However, this clearly isn’t a sad story, so don’t go crying on me just yet, Argentina. My parents worked feverishly hard day and night to try to find me the best possible treatments and it was a great success. It was several years of going in and out of hospitals but I finally went into remission – but not without consequences. The life of living indoors due to my lack of immune system caused me to not be very active. The other kids enjoyed sports and athletics – I wasn’t that coordinated or graceful. I preferred being alone and playing with crafts, paint, or reading. My lack of enthusiasm towards exercise and well, moving in general, mixed with my families poor diet choices lead towards the perfect storm of me gaining an excessive amount of weight before the age of ten.
The years and the weight tacked on and on and soon I was in high school. The only place I really felt almost accepted was in band class where everyone seemed to be as equally awkward and socially weird as I grew up to be. I found salvation in music and burying myself in playing my instrument. It felt as though I would melt and become the music, something beautiful, something so unlike me. Although I found a sense of belonging I still wasn’t happy or confident. I lived in XL to XXL shirts and my jean size would bounce between 14 and 18 depending on the brand, how stretchy the material was, or how tight I could handle buttoning them that day just to have the satisfaction of wearing a 14. I remember staring in the mirror everyday with my large purple glasses, pimple festered face looking back at me and I would want to cry. The other girls in my class seemed to effortlessly be ready for school in under ten minutes while I would spend a half an hour to forty-five minutes trying to straighten my almost curly hair and covering my face with makeup. It wasn’t until my mother was diagnosed with a chronic illness that I really took a step back and started to wonder if maybe we were doing something wrong as a family – maybe we didn’t have only bad genetics, but bad habits too.
The light began to enter into my life at that point. I started to research diets and lifestyles that could help my mother’s condition and saw the slew of holistic choices and information on why American’s are the most overweight nation in the world. I nearly died when I found out my stereotypical Irish dinner of overcooked meat and potatoes with corn is nearly as nutritious as a piece of cardboard with dogshit on it. The idea of a vegetable in my house was a rarity due to my father’s lack of enthusiasm towards anything green. It was a simple equation of all of us being overfed with processed calories and undernourished with no whole foods in our diet. This is when my adventure began seven years ago. It is when I decided to put down the soda, pick up some running shoes, and change my life. I remember waking up the next morning, looking in the same dirty mirror I’d stare into every morning and said, “This is going to be hard, but it is going to be worth it.”
It has been seven years of trial and error of fad diets, bad workout regimens, carb withdrawal, and heartache, but here I am wearing a size 4 in dresses and now taking my health and fitness goals to the next level – to shed my fat percentage down from 22% to the 15% range and begin competing in bikini/figure model competitions this summer.
Nothing says a solid, “F’ you,” to all of the people who made fun of you in middle and high school than becoming that person they all voted you could never be, so with that, ladies and gents, go be it. Today is the day you should own who you are get that body rockin’.
This isn’t an uncommon story. I believe a lot of families today believe they are feeding the children safe and wholesome meals when in reality everything the media teaches us today isn’t often a crock of bullshit roasting high on heat. My mission today is to educate everyone around me to avoid any other child having to go through what I went through in my youth.