Long before these body posi people came to be, my friends and I in middle school were embracing our love of food and lack of enthusiasm for P.E. While the skinny girls were talking to boys and being invited to hang out after school, we decided to do our own thing. With that, the Fat Kids Club was born. We each had a position, we even had meetings…which were literally just slumber parties where we ate pizza, cookies and whatnot while ranking the boys in our class. Hey Robert, Mark and Daniel – you were always top notch in the official notebook we had. That’s something to brag about in your 30’s, right? Anyways, I can’t speak for the rest of the girls – but while I loved the club, I did not like the extra chub that was hanging around my body. Thankfully I was always on the tall side, so my weight was stretched out over a longer plain, but still. What girl wants to be 5’7″ and 170lbs in the 7th grade? While I was self-conscious about what I looked like, I did little to nothing to do anything about it. So a fat kid I remained and when you love food as much as I do, that doesn’t seem to be a problem. So what if I looked like a linebacker for a high school league? I was okay…for the most part.
Then somewhere between ninth and tenth grade, my weight dropped just a little. Literally just enough that I was comfortable wearing girl jeans from JC Penneys instead of the men’s clothing I was accustomed too. This was because I spent the summer at a college outreach program where our meals were scheduled and I couldn’t just lounge around watching Maury, Jenny Jones and Days of Our Lives. Elena, you are a queen. Instead I was up early, eating healthier than what my mom would provide and actually being somewhat active and sadly, social. I remember the first day of 10th grade and one of my teachers pulling me aside to say that I looked very good. I was like, thanks…Compliments have always made me somewhat uncomfortable.
In reality, it may have just been that I was wearing clothes that actually fit rather than my guy jeans and oversized graphic tees, but still. There was some sort of shape to be found. Linebacker no more! I was just regular fat now and that’s what I remained for the rest of high school. Then came college and I thought that I looked the same, but the summer after graduation I clocked in at almost 200lbs. I was tall, but I wasn’t tall enough that that weight on this frame wasn’t a good look. Some girls look absolutely fabulous with more on their body and I am always envious of them. They’re truly like those paintings admired and worth millions in museums around the world. Then there’s me, this manly fat woman who looks like Michael Oher from The Blind Side in an XL dress from Target.
We’ll fast forward to today, where I’ll let you know that I’ve been as low as 152, but am currently at 164 because my boyfriend is a beast is the kitchen. Would I love to get back down again? Of course! Do you know what it’s like to go from the girl who wouldn’t even step into a Forever 21 out of fear she’d be mistaken for a gigantic man who couldn’t even fit in the shoes to someone who could buy a dress in…a medium? It’s a confidence booster. But how? How did I go from a contender for the NFL to what I am today? I was asked this by a friend of my mom’s some years ago. The quick answer is: don’t drive and don’t have a lot of money. Remember when we talked about the poor being the rail thin who were looked down on back in the day when bread was a nickel? Well here’s the thing, today the fit and fab are rich but the fit and possibly dying, well they may be a little more than thin but aren’t verging on obesity. When my funds and lack of a job weren’t exactly on point, I didn’t want to eat as much. You could have internet or food, and let’s be real – most days I’d rather be on Tumblr than have a good meal. Then there’s the walking. One part of that comes from hating being vehicles and another part not wanting to be pay LA’s outrageous public transit prices – I learned that walking a mile or two for something wasn’t all that bad.
Even though my weight is less than it once was when I was secretary of the Fat Kids Club Chapter Banning, CA – you never really lose that sense of being a fat kid. It’s always in you, you’re forever conscious your body doesn’t look right, your tummy is always too big for things and going sleeveless – it’s still an uphill battle to get over the anxiety that comes with that territory. You may lose the weight but that idea of what that weight made you feel like all those years, it sadly can stay forever. I will never stray away from cake, cookies and chips – but do I have a fear of returning to my Blind Side state? Of course.