A Quirky Beginning

January 5, 2008 at 7:09 am 1 comment

I was fat from the age of nine when I hit puberty up until my early 30s. All through grade school and high school, and through most of college and then my adult life, I had a weight problem.Part of it was genetic. I came from parents who weren’t very tall and had struggled with their weight off and on through the years, particularly my mum.Because my mom’s family had regulated her eating so much when she was a teen, she refused to do that to me, instead letting me eat what I wanted – within reason and taking into account my nutritional needs – without criticism.

My dad, on the other hand, was very strict about my eating. When my parents were married, I dreaded mealtimes, especially if spinach was involved. I absolutely hated spinach, and my dad would make me eat it even though I gagged through the entire process. Halloween was not a fun holiday for me. After trick-or-treating, my dad would take all my candy but one item that he let me choose. The rest would be thrown away. Easter wasn’t much better. My Easter Egg hunts resulted the dubious reward of colored plastic eggs filled with sugarless gum.

The dichotomy was even more pronounced when my parents divorced. I lived with my mum, so most of the time my food consumption was not extensively monitored. But, when I was with my dad, everything I ate was noted and commented on. The way I looked was also noted and commented on.

As an adult, I finally decided to accept myself the way I was and live with as much gusto as possible. I joined NAAFA, the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, a fat advocacy group. It was an amazing experience. For the first time, I was with people that understood what I’d been through growing up, many of them having gone through much worse. It was also the first time I heard the term “super size“, a description for severely overweight people (morbidly obese in today’s vernacular).

The group was liberating because everyone ate with enthusiasm; no one judged you for how much you consumed or how you looked. I met my husband in that group, a “super size” guy who had suffered more than his share of discrimination based on his size.

For a time, we were a great fit. He functioned quite well early on despite his size, but as the years went by, his weight took a significant toll on his health. We tried various diets, including low-fat and low-carb regimens. We even moved across country to a warm, dry climate so that he could get out more and not be in so much pain. None of it helped. By the time we divorced, he was practically housebound and had suffered a very severe illness – in addition to his diabetes and degenerative joint disease – that lasted almost a year.

But, seeing his decline was a wake-up call for me. I started Weight Watchers and doing exercise videos in the storage room of my work in September 2002. There have been lots of twists and turns along the way, but that ultimately led me to where I am today: 114 pounds gone, down from a size 22/24 to a size 6, and able to free climb the Red Rocks of Nevada.


Entry filed under: about me, getting started. Tags: , .

Exercise the Quirky Way

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Sally Parrott Ashbrook  |  January 20, 2008 at 3:07 am

    I love that you end with “able to climb the Red Rocks of Nevada.” Because so much of what it’s about, for me, is health, primarily (not appearance, etc.), and part of health is what I can DO with myself when I am more fit.


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