June 15, 2015

"The Fat Kid" Tells All: The Teen Years (Part 2 in a Series)

My confessions of what it was like to be a fat teenager is the second part of my "The Fat Kid" Tells All series, the story of  my struggle with being over weight since childhood and my battle to lose that weight. The first part is The Formative Years and the third is The College Years. Since the last post, I'm happy to report that I've lost another 6lbs., bringing me to 100lbs. to lose to reach my goal weight.


By high school, the depression had gotten worse. Much worse. On the upside, by the spring semester of freshman year I decided it was time to take control of my weight. No longer did I want to not be able to wear the cute clothes other kids were wearing, feel like a sore thumb, be picked last in gym, not be able to even do much in gym or be embarrassed during swim class. I wasn't being bullied about my weight at school, but I didn't have many friends either. I blamed it all on my weight and thought losing it would help. Or, at least help my self esteem.
I lost every pound that I needed to and got down to a weight that was healthy for my body type. How I did it wasn't the best way, to say the least. I starved myself for about 6 months. Calories were restricted to 200 to 500 a day, tops. A bagel would sometimes be all I ate in a day. Plain, of course. Flavors had more evil calories. Perhaps just an apple. Exercise occupied much of my time. I still recall friends trying to force me to eat. Why would I want to eat, though? Why should I? Why did I need to? I was fat. I shouldn't be eating ANYTHING. All of that ran through my mind.

In my head, I was fat so didn't need to eat anything, eating would just make me fatter. Even what little I did eat was too much and embarrassing to admit to. My parents at this point didn't have much of an idea of what was going on. To this day, I don't know if they ever figured it out. When you're in high school, it's easier to claim that you ate things you didn't while at school and just aren't hungry at dinner time. Food sent to school with you can be easily dumped in a trash can or left in a locker. The teen years are past the point where parents have direct control of what their kids are eating.

Not eating isn't something I'd ever suggest anyone do. I'm lucky that once I got down to where I wanted to be, I was able to stop starving myself and that the weight didn't just come right back after I started eating normally (actual normal, not my previous "eating too much" normal). I'm never going to be a super skinny person, I don't have the bone structure or genetics for it. My weight was good for me and my body type. I did feel better about myself and loved having a better selection of clothes. I could even shop in the junior section! That made me feel ecstatic. For once, when I walked into a room I didn't feel like everyone was starring at me. Judging me and my weight.

Then the battle with depression took center stage. That's a whole other story in itself that I may address another time. For the purposes of this story, all you need to know is I started medication. This lovely medication, after a period of time, caused me to start gaining back the weight. Plus more. Even slipping back to the horrible habit that helped me lose the weight didn't help. The weight just kept coming. The doctors didn't see any issue with this. I'll never understand why the doctors didn't think that packing on weight wouldn't be bad for me, for both health and mental reasons. Any self-esteem I'd built up was dashed as the numbers on the scale climbed higher and the meds didn't even do what they were supposed to so I got even more depressed. I stopped trying to keep the weight off because I figured it was a lost cause anyway. Eventually, I got my parents and the doctor to agree to let me stop taking that medication. The damage was already done, though. When I stood on the scale, a number higher than I'd ever seen before starred me straight in the face.


In a short six months, I was at a weight higher than I'd ever been before and was even more depressed. Since I was depressed and figured I'd never be able to get the weight off again, I just ate more and gained more. That was not the way to go as in gaining more, I just got more depressed.

Being that large meant that my favorite thing, being in the marching and concert band, became interesting in the uniform department. During my weight loss, being in band worked in my favor as it meant extra exercise marching during practice on the field and during Friday night football games. Not so after I gained it all, and then some, back. Uniforms always fit me a bit tight. I worried that there wouldn't be one that would fit me at all. Having to tell the uniform people my size embarrassed me greatly. How I managed to do long parades while wearing a black wool uniform and swinging around a sousaphone, I will never know. I even jumped off high planters while wearing said sousaphone.

A year and a half at the end of high school, junior year and the first half of senior, I spent home schooling myself. My depression was so bad, going to school just wasn't an option. I packed on even more weight. Senior year I had the fun of getting a hernia repair surgery as well. The surgery made moving around difficult for months. Not that I was doing too much about my weight at this time anyway. I felt horrible about how much I weighed, but wasn't doing anything to fix it, surgery or not. By the time graduation rolled around, I was firmly in the morbidly obese range.

Coming up next: "The Fat Kid" Tells All: The College Years

 

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21 comments:

  1. I was fat all through high school. Then one day I decided I hated myself and changed it.

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  2. I'm sorry to hear that you got through this. Depression is a hard battle to fight and the support of the whole family matters a lot. I can't wait to read about the College Life.

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  3. I am sorry, do not let people make you feel bad. You are special - created in the imagine of God. You are beautiful!

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  4. A story many can relate to. Courageous to write!

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  5. I've been following your posts, and it is just so brave of you to share. I think it will help so many people, not only with weight issues, but with depression issues, as well. Thank you.

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  6. This series speaks to me even as an adult. I constantly struggle with my weight. I love how you are putting it out there to help others!

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  7. Thank you for sharing your story!

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  8. Wow, Melissa! You sure went through a lot. Battling depression and the side effects that come with it are enough WITHOUT the weight gain. It's incredible if you to tell your story & to be down 6lbs!!!

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  9. Good luck on your path! It sounds like high school was very hard for you... that breaks my heart.

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  10. Thanks for posting this. I'm sure it's difficult, but it very well may help others. :)

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing your story! You are an inspiration to all!

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  12. Oh man. HS was tough for you. I admire you so much for sharing it with us.

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  13. I think most people have struggled with weight. I appreciate you sharing your story.

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  14. Thanks for sharing your story I am sure you are helping a lot of people by sharing your thoughts, blessings.

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  15. Elizabeth O.6/16/2015 3:50 AM

    I'm sorry to hear about what you went through during your teen years. I am glad that you came out of it a better person. I"m looking forward to reading more.

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  16. Wow! Junior High and High School are times I wouldn't want to go back to for that reason. I've never been skinny so my weight has always fluctuated.

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  17. i had been on a diet most of my life. i finally got a hol don it. it takes time, but you can do it.

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  18. YEs, starving yourself is the worst possible thing. I tried that for one week in high school. Nope, didn't work. I'm down five pounds and rooting for you. We can do this!

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  19. Depression and weight does go hand in hand sometimes. I am glad you are sharing.

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  20. I honestly could not relate about fat when I was younger but now, with the stretch marks and flabby belly, I can finally relate. I agree. It's not easy to be fat. It feels awful. But it's up to us on how we can turn our lives around. I believe that the best is still to come!

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  21. I can totally relate to this! Thank you for sharing your story with us!

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Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. As a busy mom, I'm not always able to respond to each one, though I read and appreciate them all.