I remember the day I officially understood that I was "fat".
I was 12.
I had suspected this was the case.
I was watched a little too closely around food.
There were often comments made when I ate... "Slow down", "Take a breath", "Count to 10 between bites", and the dreaded "do you really need another piece?".
Because of this learned external shame I felt when eating, I had already started restricting my foods by this age, especially in front of certain people.
I was binging in private.
I was hiding food.
I knew something was "wrong" with me...
But, this day confirmed it!
I was in my pediatrician's office.
I was there for a checkup.
My body was changing all over the place.
I has started developing breasts and was already into my menstrual cycle.
I remember already feeling embarrassed about my body.
And then I heard him say it, the doctor to my mom.
A harmless little comment that changed my entire life....
"It's time you switch her to Diet Coke and fat free cookies."
And that was it.
I get so mad to think about all the times I missed a party, didn't go out to dinner, avoided the movie theater, wouldn't go to a bar, didn't go on a date... because I was ed and fearful to eat and be judged in front of other people. .
They never ate the good stuff and they ate such little amounts.
It was so unfair.
I was going to starve.
I hated this world already.
At just 12 years old, I remember feeling fear, anxiety, doom, self loathing, humiliation about my body... I felt defective. Like, I needed to do damage control to prevent a doomed future in a "fat" body.
I had no choice.
It was my fate unless I took action.
So I started down the rabbit role of the "diet world" and diet culture.
Food and my body soon became the enemy working against my success and happiness in life. And sadly, this controlled the next 20+ years of my life!
I spent over 20 years fearing food, thinking everything I enjoyed eating is wrong, thinking I was a bad person because I was always hungry and enjoyed pizza, thinking my body was defective.
20 years dieting, restricting, binging, letting all my emotion ride on the number that the scale showed when I got up in the morning.
I don't know that someone without "food issues" can understand what this means.... but for 20 years, literally every thing I ate, brought me extreme anxiety, shame, guilt, humiliation, defeat and regret.
Every. single. bite.
Can you imagine the pressure in life when every thing you eat has the ability to change your entire value and moral existence as a human being???
I get so mad when I think about all the years I let this happen.
I get so mad when I think about what diet culture has done to me and my life.
I get so mad about all the years I spent hating my self.
I get so mad to think about all the times I missed a party, didn't go out to dinner, avoided the movie theater, wouldn't go to bar, didn't go on a date... because I was embarrassed and fearful to eat and be judged in front of other people.
I missed out on so much.
It makes me so sad to think about.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
I hope by sharing my story I can help someone else realize that there is a better way to live.
I hope that one day, a 12 year old girl can sit in her doctors office, embarrassed and unsure about her changing body, and be given helpful advice on how to live a healthy, happy life, proud of who she is and what is capable of regardless of what body she was given.
Our world needs to realize that our bodies do not dictate our value in this world.
That by keeping us ashamed, embarrassed and unsure of ourselves, diet culture kept us quiet and obedient, taking over every aspect of our lives and our happiness.
It's time to tell diet culture to FUCK OFF.
It's time we love our bodies, nourish our bodies, enjoy our bodies... we don't need to change our bodies.
Healthy does not mean skinny.
Skinny does not mean happy.
Diet Coke and fat free cookies are not the answer.
Love, Coach Tay Tay