It was 2002 and I was 14 years old. I was going through a highly awkward phase. My hormones were going crazy, my hair was frizzy, my skin was blotchy and my ‘puppy fat’ was getting less cute every day.
I didn’t hate school, I had a good group of friends. I’d also had had a few boyfriends, so I didn’t feel completely alien.
But you see, I’d been defined by my weight my entire life. Teased, jested and even just talked about in general conversation. I knew it. I was fat before I was anything else, and that made me feel REALLY vulnerable.
So there I am, 14 years old, in gym class and out come the scales. I wanted to cry. I explained to my gym teacher that I really didn’t feel comfortable, “it’s a requirement” I was told.
In front of the entire class, I got on the scales. And up and up and up went the number.
Here’s the thing, I don’t even remember the number. I just remember the feeling.
That night, I cried. I cried I cried I cried.
I’m sure the idea was to motivate me to eat better, do more exercise ect. But it had to opposite impact. I never wanted to go to gym class. I’d fake sick, or wag, or turn up and complain that I felt ill.
I was actually pretty good at sport. But I was made to feel like a failure because I was heavy. I mean, what a crazy concept, I was heavy and good at sport!
I stopped playing after school sport, and pretty much gave up completely.
In my 14 year old mind I was fat, I was also funny, kind and smart. But before anything else, I was fat.
When I was in my 20s I read something that I WISH someone had told me in my youth.
You are not fat, you have fat. You also have fingernails, but you are not fingernails.
When I look in the mirror, I still see my weight first. Whether I’m 60kg or 100kg- I see the lumps and bumps before anything else. I try so hard, but I still value myself on the size of my arse… It’s ridiculous!
Sure, it’s not all the fault of that day back in 2002 when I was made to weigh myself in a room full of my peers. But when I think back on being fat in high school, that is the memory that is most prevalent.
I never want my children to go through this, no matter their weight. I want them to look in the mirror and see their strengths- not their features! I want them to want to be healthy, I want them to love sport, and I never want them to be ashamed of who they are (or parts of who they are).
So this week, I am beaming. I have lost 4kg and I am so proud of myself for achieving that. But I have to keep reminding myself, I am not doing this to lose weight. I am not that 14 year old kid stepping on those scales anymore. I am doing this to gain life, I know how cliche, and to set a good example of health for my children.
Did you have to weigh yourself at school? Do they even still do that? I bloody hope not- and I promise you my children never will!