|Me in 10th grade|
Growing up, being a teenager, figuring out the world as you mature is hard enough. But, when you add in pressure to be thin, beautiful, smart, athletic, and part of the “cool crowd”, adolescence can be brutal. As I have discussed before, I was overweight as a teen. Even by third or fourth grade, I knew that I was a little “chunkier” than some of the girls in my grade. While I was not obese, I always carried a few extra pounds. I was very athletic and preferred being on a field or in a gym over watching after-school specials on TV. I was fortunate to have grown up in the 80’s when home computers were unheard of, video games were just emerging with Mario Brothers, and doing research involved an entire shelf of hardback encyclopedias from Britannica or World Book. However, during this time, I was being raised by divorced parents – my mother’s schedule was full of multiple jobs, activities, and commitments. So, a sit-down healthful meal was a rare occasion at our house. Most of my meals were in the car or in a restaurant between activities.
I did have some very memorable sit-down meals as a child. Both of my grandmothers were wonderful cooks and like to show love through food. When I stayed with my dad, we typically spent a lot of time with Granny. My Granny cooked three hot meals a day and we sat at the table for each of them. Now, keep in mind, Granny was a southern cook whose staple vegetables were “spuds” and “butter beans” and who repurposed empty Country Crock tubs into storage containers for bacon grease. While these meals weren’t the healthiest, they were comfort.
My issues with weight came to haunt me in my teenage years. I can remember dreading the free sports physicals each summer – we walked around with all our friends getting everything checked, including our weight. I was so embarrassed to think that one of my skinny friends (or a cute football star) might get a glance of my weight on my sheet of paper. I can also remember standing at my locker one day at school and hearing a boy call me “lard butt”. It was cruel, and it made me even more self-conscious of my weight.
I have taken the steps to protect myself for the future. However, even to this day, I still don’t see myself as a thin person. I am still that chunky kid who will battle emotional issues that come with being overweight. I have been able to overcome my fears and insecurities. I don’t consider myself thin, but when I look in the mirror, I know that I am strong, healthy, and empowered. I have worked hard and that gives me a sense of pride for myself. I now want to give that sense of pride to a deserving teen. I am currently running a Camp Champ Teen contest (see rules at http://www.coachdconsulting.com/). One young person will receive free coaching from me on nutrition and exercise. I am also collaborating with local businesses who are donating fashion and beauty/grooming to the selected teen once they have lost weight. Please spread the word to teens you know or any friends who have teenage children – even if they aren’t overweight, statistics show they have friends who are.