Monday, January 17, 2011

How I looked

Yesterday, I pulled out some old pictures and found a photo from my brother’s first wedding, when I was fifteen – 31 years ago.

For the last 31 years, I’ve told anyone who’d listen that I was a hideous child – very, very heavy, frizzy hair, braces, glasses and acne. Recently, I’ve been wondering if that was really true. Was I truly ugly or was that just ingrained thinking?

Well, according to this wedding photo, I was a perfectly normal-looking kid. Yes, I was heavier than I am now. Yes, the braces were already off at this point and my sister had tamed my hair for the photo, and I’d taken my glasses off but still – I looked like a normal teenaged girl.

If you read my post about my niece’s weight, my sister was appalled that my niece at 5’4, weighed nearly 150 pounds. I think that’s just fine. My niece is healthy and very active with lots of energy and lots of great friends.

At 15, I was probably 5’5 and 150 pounds. I thought I was heinous and crashed dieted and binged and starved and took diuretics and shortly after, found laxatives. My mother dragged me from Weight Watchers to diet doctors (pep pills!) to NutraSystem. We tried the Beverly Hills diet, Atkins, Scarsdale, just for starters.

I gained an additional 40 pounds, all from misery.

What if I’d been raised to believe that I was fine at 5’5 and 150? What if I’d never known Weight Watchers or multi-colored pills or fruit fasts?

I wonder.


  1. That is a good question, and probably one you will never find out the answer to. If it wasn't your mother obsessed with your weight it might have been someone else. I wish your mother had not tried to put you on all of those diets at age 15, I also remember doing Liquifast when I was in high school, at about age 17. I would never let my daughter do that. I hope things have changed since our teenage years, but I'm not optimistic.

  2. harriet: your daughter got a mom who was sane with her about weight. that's huge! i want everyone to have a mom like you.

    i'm glad i'm not 15 anymore!