The first time I remember thinking I was fat I was 10 years old. Standing in my friend's kitchen, her mother asked how much I weighed. I told her. I was 5'1" and 120 lbs. At 10. Now, with our society of growth hormones injected into foods and our over-fed under-exercised children, this isn't uncommon for a 10 year old. In my day (Oh, how happy I am I can say that. It means I'm truly old.) it was unheard of. A look of distaste spread across the mother's face and I realized I was too big.
I was a solid kid. From the beginning I was built like a brick sh*t house. I outgrew all the hand-me-downs of my cousin who was 7 years older than me. Mothers of friends sent me their hand-me-downs and I could not wear them. I wore women's shoes in Grade 4 and was the tallest person in every class until I was 12.
To make matters worse, I looked like a boy (thanks to a particularly bad haircut) and was regularly confused by people for my brother. This continued into my early twenties when a friend of my brother's said "She looks just like [insert brother's name here] but in a wig". I maintain I wasn't wearing a wig, but the point got across.
I was 14 when I started my first diet. It was a secret. I found an exercise and diet magazine and hid it under my bed. I calculated how many calories I could have for a day and figured out exactly what I would eat. If I remember correctly, that number was 900 calories. A normal person is supposed to have between 2000 and 2500. My day consisted of a bag of chips for lunch, some potatoes for supper and 35 spoonfuls of contraband ice cream for snack. I had a hiding place for my ice cream spoon in the cold storage room where the freezer was and would sneak in to have "just one more bite" of ice cream.
People would watch what I ate and question it. I would offhandedly tell them I wasn't hungry and change the subject. In my defense, I wasn't hungry. I had turned it off.
I spent the evenings locked in my bedroom studying exercises meant to get rid of my fat. I was 5'9" and 140 lbs. But, all my friends were small, petite girls in size 2, so I was convinced I was abnormal. I did scissor kicks until I couldn't lift my legs. And then, I went for more ice cream.