Well folks, I was a fat kid, the kind that had candy bar wrappers hidden in every pocket I wore. I didn’t start that way though. I was a normal sized baby, in fact, for a while there I wore sizes that had slim following the number. But that changed around 3rd grade, when I became the kid that was called “jelly roll” by my siblings because my belly closely resembled the tasty blonde pastry.
While it may be more acceptable to write that I was chubby, fluffy, or big boned when I was young, that isn’t the way others saw me. Others saw me as fat and that meant that I saw myself the same way. But I’m not ashamed of my over consumption of my youth. I’ve changed from my fat days and ways.
I was big until late high school, but as a positive slant, one could say I was a highly functional fat kid- whatever that means. I guess to me it means I was always involved in sports and I was always a decent athlete. For the most part I could find clothes at the normal stores, as long as I got men’s jeans, and fortunately I was fat in the 1990s when the style was big and baggy. For those that haven’t known me since my youth, I was more fat than muscular until around the start of my junior year of high school. I still remember stepping on a scale and topping 200 lbs. and literally thinking “I need to turn this bus around.”
I turned the bus around mostly because I changed my body composition with weight training. Weight training made me stronger and helped me lose the identity of a fat girl. There seemed to be a direct relationship: the more weight I could lift the more confidence I carried.
Of course, at times, I wonder what I may have experienced if I wasn’t fat at such a young age. I remember not trying out for things, I remember being the bully, and there were times when I didn’t like my body. I also know that I was fat because I found temporary happiness, like a band-aid, in food. Food was my escape from reality; when I needed an escape I ate and in those bites I felt good again.
At present I know I am a product of my past, but not limited because of it. I’m certain that my continual desire for self improvement is rooted in knowing I can change. I did change. In other words, my life has played out in such specific ways as a result of being big during my youth into adolescence and then making a change.
Professionally, when I worked as a personal trainer and strength coach, and now as a teacher and coach I’ve always worked in fields where I’ve reveled in being part of personal change and improvement. In all of these forums I worked to help others, all the while trying my best to lead by example. Never could I give to others without fueling my own improvement first. I left behind the fat girl stigma years ago, but at some level I owe her. The fat girl inspired the changes that created the product I am today. All of us have excuses for not getting the most out of life, but I hope we never let the person in the rear view mirror be that excuse. In fact, if you look closely, that former self may be your biggest inspiration.