I’ve always been “bigger”. This freaked my Mum (who I now realise had some body issues of her own) out no end when I was a kid. When I was two, I was a bit of a chubbette. My Mum was so concerned about my weight, she took me to a doctor for testing. I don’t really recall any instances where my weight was mentioned or talked about, but I do remember knowing that I was big and that my parents thought of me as big.
As you probably can imagine, I grew up very conscious of my body and weight. I can remember being eleven and feeling embarrassed because I couldn’t wear cool clothes, like my nine year old sister, because I would look bad in them. Around the same time, in the late 90’s, when midriff tops were all the rage, I decided to wear one, one day. I sucked my stomach in so hard and for so long that I gave myself a horrific stomach ache.
Looking back, I realise how overly conscious I was of my body at such a young age. I took this with me into high school and added to it with the typical body issues that happen for most during puberty. In my mind I labelled myself as the fat kid and had some seriously rock bottom self-esteem. Throughout high school I often felt severely socially inept and at times overly defensive, because I let my weight and feelings about it get me down. The dumb thing is, I was never really bullied at school, and I had some really great friends who never did anything to make me feel like I was different. It was all in me that made me feel that way.
High School was also pretty tough for family reasons as well. I won’t go into detail here, but looking back, it was when food really turned into a coping mechanism for me. I would eat to feel better, and I would eat A LOT.
In Year 11, I met a wonderful boy and started dating him. Nearly 8 years on, we are still together and are engaged. This man loves me harder than I ever imagined possible, and I him. Unfortunately for both of us, over the years we have not only grown up together, but also out. We've bonded over food, shown love with food, comforted each other with food, and generally fed (pun intended) each other’s abnormal relationship with food, without even realising it.
The more I really look at myself, the more I feel that my issues with food and weight go so much deeper than just some bad choices. It’s developed over many years and has become almost like an emotional aide. There isn't a single person who I can or want to blame for that. Not my parents, certainly not my fiancé, and sometimes I think that this whole thing was beyond even my control. I take responsibility for it, and I take responsibility for changing it, but I’m trying not to blame myself. What’s happened has passed, and no good can come from punishing myself because I didn’t realise what was happening. It took so much time, knowledge, and introspection for the light bulb to finally come on, and the fact that it has is all that matters now.