I remember always being a little chubby as I was growing up. My two older sisters were a normal weight and so was my brother. My dad was always a healthy weight but my mom was a little chunkier after she started having kids, but never obese. My mom cooked meals for me just as she did when my siblings were young. She cooked healthy, well balanced meals that I was required to finish before I left the table or had desert. I never liked sweets that much anyway, so I never had a so called “sweet tooth”. I played dolls and danced around to music all the time and I played outside quite a bit. My brother had an Atari and later a Nintendo but I don’t remember ever playing any of that until my teen years probably and even then, not a whole lot. I was a normal kid in the 80’s, just a little bit chubby, not really fat and definitely not obese.

I remember getting sick with a virus or something right before 5th grade when I was 9 and dropping about 25 pounds in no time. I still wasn’t skinny but I definitely wasn’t fat then. Later that year, I ended up meeting an older girl who was what you would consider fat or overweight, but that sort of thing didn’t matter to me. I was friendly and would be friends with whoever was a nice person. I remember the girl coming up to me and asking if she could borrow some money to get some lunch one day. She told me she had forgotten hers, so I let her borrow some. I didn’t care. Later, I was told by the girl’s mom(a lady who worked at the school in another class) to not give the girl money anymore. The lady explained to me that the girl had some kind of problem with her brain where she would eat and forget that she had done so. She always felt hungry because of this problem. I had never heard of such a thing and even to this day, it seems strange, but I agreed to do what her mom said and next time the girl asked, I would tell her I didn’t have any money or some excuse.

Looking back, that was the first moment in my life I had ever been exposed to someone who was overweight and it wasn’t completely their fault. When I looked at her, I felt pity in my heart because people were so cruel to her and called her names. I never called her names and was always nice to the girl and tried to stick up for her because I felt her situation was unfair.

Now, it seems like it was almost a foretelling of my own situation later in life.

When I was almost 12, we moved to another city to be closer to my grandma. We had had a fire during the move and I was leaving my best friend and the big city for a small city and junior high. At the time I was 4’11” and probably about 120 pounds. I was chubby, but if you look at pictures from that time, I didn’t look fat. I was healthy and I ate right, but my weight just stuck to me. My mom never told me I should diet or anything and why should she have? She cooked good foods and I wasn’t an overeater. Throughout the next few years, I would end up putting on more weight, though. My mom probably thought some of the reason was puberty….I mean, I WAS a teenager.

It sucked for me, though. One of my best friends was really tall and weighed about 85 pounds. I remember being shocked at how much my friend could eat. She could put away 10 times the amount of food I could eat and she wouldn’t gain a pound. I would eat an average amount of food and gain! It just seemed so unfair. I remember going out for pizza one time, I ate about 3 pieces, which was more than I usually would eat and then I was full. She ate 14 pieces before she was done and you guessed it, not one pound did she gain. I could see that I was having to get plus size clothes and I wanted so badly to be skinnier, but I just couldn’t understand how I could keep gaining when I wasn’t eating any more than I usually did.

Then high school hit….at my biggest I was probably about 180 and close to my highest height I would reach, which was 5’5″. I WAS overweight and back then I felt really fat. Now I would say I wasn’t as fat as I thought I was. I just couldn’t get the weight off. I tried starving some a few times and that even made me gain. I now KNOW that starving makes your body hold on to whatever fat you DO have, so that’s definitely not the answer. Back then, it just frustrated me even more. Overall, I was a healthy girl. At my physicals, I had perfect blood pressure, good blood sugar, no signs of diabetes or anything, I was in good health, just a little overweight.

But others didn’t feel that way…..I remember the comments. “You look like a Huge Whale.” “Why don’t you get off the couch and exercise?” “How much food DO you eat? Do you eat a whole steak every night?” “You are such a FAT cow, if you died, no one would care.”  You think I exaggerate, but those were comments coming from 15-17 yr. olds in the late 90’s……I don’t exaggerate.

Those words hurt because after hearing them for so long, you start to believe them. You start to believe that no one DOES care and that you’re just lazy and worth nothing. The truth was that I wasn’t lazy, I didn’t eat unhealthy and I didn’t deserve those words. BUT because of those words, I would skip lunch on more than one occasion so the other kids wouldn’t see me eating anything. I would only eat in the privacy of my home as much as possible and worry that every time I ate in public, people were seeing a pig eating.

It wasn’t until after high school and  I gained even more weight that I was first diagnosed as having a thyroid problem. Hypothyroidism. It means I have a super slow metabolism so everything I eat ends up making me gain weight. And it doesn’t matter what KIND of food. Both of my sisters, my mom AND my grandma have thyroid problems too, but one of my sisters has Hyperthyroidism where your metabolism is too fast. Without taking medicine, she would probably weigh around 90 pounds all the time.

My thyroid problem is NOT completely under control yet for several reasons, but it helps to know what was behind my uncontrolled weight gain that started when I was a pre-teen.

When I hear other people bashing parents that have obese children and talk about taking the children away, I have mixed reactions. I believe there ARE some kids out there that the parents probably are feeding their kids unhealthy and they just don’t care. But then I also believe there are kids just like I was. Would my parents deserved to have ME taken away back then? NO!

There ARE some health reasons that cause kids to gain weight no matter how they are fed and whether they exercise a lot or not….and I believe THIS should be taken into account. Not every parent with an overweight child is a bad parent. There are other factors that should be looked into.

And for that matter, not every overweight or obese person is lazy OR eats unhealthy all the time and I am extremely tired of hearing the biased comments from those who have never experienced being FAT or overweight one day of their life! I am sick of the “Get off the couch and do something” statements made by people who do NOT have a video camera in everyone’s house to see that they are in fact only sitting on the couch! For that matter, I know super skinny people who are more lazy than some overweight people and run out of breath faster……Stop stereotyping!


  1. I so agree. I know kids constantly tease in school, but I’m sure that was painful. I have such a hard time keeping my weight off now, due to such restricted mobility and regular use of certain medications. I hope you have people around you who are encouraging.


    1. I don’t let people around me who aren’t encouraging..Real Friends are the ones who love you for who you are on the inside, not the out. 🙂
      It’s still painful all these years later to remember things that were said to me back then, but it hurts me more to think what kids are saying NOW to others going through what I did….as well as kids that are getting bullied for many other issues. 😦


  2. Hey there, I’m so sorry you suffered terrible comments. Kids can be so cruel. I was never one of those mean people. I always could stand to lose a few, but fortunately nothing in my body went haywire. I hated when others would focus their attention on those that were different (nerdy/strange/fat/smart) I would often stick up for anyone being mistreated. I made an effort to extend them kindness like a smile/hello everytime I saw them and some I befriended. Sometimes, I was on the receiving end of the ridicule.

    Anyway, one of my closest highschool girlfriend’s is on thyroid medication. She always had to watch her meals. Later in life, after we both had a couple of kids and gained quite a bit of weight, we found each other on facebook. Right around that time, we both were doing the program I am on now. I had lost 40lbs and she (working with her doctor) lost 30lbs. Her thyroid medication was reduced considerably due to the weight loss and she had more energy. She said it was so easy and she saved money! Our health goal is not complete, with the kids going back to school, we’ve both pledged to restart the program and get down to our healthy body weights for life!

    That’s what I’ve been doing, when you’re reading my recent posts. Today’s weigh in, I’m down 14lbs in 3 weeks! If you want to know more, e-mail sandiormsby@cox.net. It really truly works! I’ll be posting pictures of myself after I complete a month.

    P.S. If skinny people don’t eat properly, they will build up bad cholestrol in their arteries and could possibly drop dead of a heart attack. I dated someone who was very tall/thin and ate Taco Bell every evening for dinner and a donut in the morning. Not providing his body proper nutrients will eventually catch up with him. 😦

    Lake Forest, CA
    ** Monday’s weigh in- down 14lbs in 3 weeks! Wahoo!


    1. Sounds like you’re on a good plan. I have tried several things throughout the years and they will work great up to a point and then I will end up stuck, after awhile it caused me to give up hope. I still take thyroid medicine but it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference for me…….I can only take ONE kind of thyroid med, called Armour Thyroid, because of something to do with T Cells that I have never really understood……The medicine worked well for years and then just stopped working so well. Not sure quite why but I do know with several other medicines I took at different points in my life, they would all stop working and I would have to be switched to something else. It was almost like my body becomes immune to medications if I take them for long periods of time. If my body has become immune to the ONLY thyroid medication I can take for MY problem….what do I do then? It’s very frustrating and another reason I have almost just given up……
      I accept complete responsibility for not necessarily making things better for myself BECAUSE of that and people can say what they will about that…..I am an adult and I accept this. My rant was more about an argument against automatically judging obese children as coming from abusive parents. I will fully admit SOME ARE the result of abusive parents that could care less……I’m not deluded into thinking that is NOT so. I am simply offering a very strong, valid argument that people should NOT immediately look at an overweight child and say that child should be removed from that family because the parent is committing abuse. More research should be done into the situation before you judge and say that is so. You can’t just look at a family and say that…..


  3. Wow what horrible things to hear from your classmates in high school. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to have people say that to you, especially with repetition. It’s amazing how cruel some people can be, especially in the middle school and high school age (and even elementary school).


    1. It truly is and some of that I DO blame on parents and authority figures…..Parents need to teach their kids that it’s not OK to bully others and they need to realize it’s not good for kids and toughens them up. There were a lot of teachers that saw and heard things that went on to me and did nothing and I think that is truly shameful. I would hate to know as an adult that I would just stand there and let things like that happen to a kid and say nothing….


      1. I wholeheartedly agree Sharon. And Jodee Blanco’s memoir on bullying captured exactly how people just so often turn a blind eye to bullying and think it’s some normal thing that everybody has to go through. Nobody should have to go through that. And it’s never going to stop unless adults start stepping in and addressing the issue and start doing something when they see it happen. They can’t see everything, but there’s a lot that they seem to pretend to not see or view as a problem.


  4. You KNOW how much I relate to this!

    I know you are not exaggerating about the comments – I heard them too. Looking back, I see a very healthy teenager . . . One who walked 4 to 8 miles every day. In high school, I fluctuated between 160 and 180 lbs. I thought I was huge, and why shouldn’t I have? That’s what everyone told me. Even my doctors would talk about how imperative it was that I lose weight. At 180 lbs., according to BMI charts, I was obese. I don’t have any medical explanations . . . I was just built this way. I have no doubt in my mind that the negative self-image I had in high school has greatly impacted how much weight I gained later in life. Starvation, binging and purging, diet pills, you name it . . . I screwed up my metabolism big time.


    1. 😦 I saw some of the pictures you posted from back then and you look healthy and actually skinny, in my mind. BMI drives me insane, people’s bodies are SO different, it’s hard to put actual numbers on what is normal. I think it should be more about looking and feeling healthy than numbers.
      I look back at my pictures and I WAS for sure, overweight for my body type, but not obese yet and now that I look at the pictures, I feel like I was definitely not AS fat as I felt I WAS back then. I should have put a picture on here…..I would have to find one.
      I was also made fun of for wearing glasses, being smart and having an “afro” cause my hair was short and VERY curly….so I just had ALL those stereotypes, huh?


  5. Ty for sharing this so openly and honestly… We all need to be reminded of the health reasons that can cause weight gain… I agree with you that it is hurtful and ignorant to assume that every weight gain is due to laziness or overeating… TY Sharon, I appreciate this post very much. You are a terrific human being… Stay strong! 🙂


    1. Thank you, I appreciate your positive response to this!
      I also have friends who are super skinny and have trouble gaining weight and I, myself, have been guilty of making comments to my friends on how they were like a “stick”,etc. None of it meant to hurt their feelings, but I try to watch my words now after realizing that it really is the same thing as when people make fat comments. Some people can eat tons of food and still not gain weight and while I might be jealous of this a little, a lot of people like that wish they could actually be bigger and have more curves and have been picked on for being so small and not having the womanly shape, so it hurts them to hear comments. From my perspective, it was hard to understand that side at first, but it’s basically just the opposite from my situation, yet it’s often ignored because skinny is considered healthier even though not being ABLE to gain weight could also be a disease.
      In the same regard, a LOT of children are starved to death due to parental neglect as well and I think that goes unnoticed more often because our society has so many overweight people in it, now. How many supposedly “healthy” looking kids might actually be starving but not look it due to an undiagnosed thyroid problem like I had? How many kids have possibly died due to an undiagnosed thyroid problem? 😦


  6. I think your personal experience shows there’s a bit of everything out there. Some people eat a lot and don’t gain weight, while others do. Some people eat very little and can look either like sticks on rather large. I also believe that everything is your body slows down as you age, you lose muscle and muscle is what burns more calories than body fat. So many people who try to lose weight by just eating less won’t succeed. However if they try to grow their muscles, even just a little bit, will see improvement. And if you had a lot of muscle and didn’t work out as much, you’d gain weight too. Your body is a machine and you have to keep it going. When one thing goes out of whack, others can follow, it’s a tough balance to maintain. And genetics play quite a role too. If at least one of your parents is overweight, you’re going against the odds to be thin. It’s not easy.

    It’s great to see your mom gave you and your siblings good eating habits though. You’ll have to admit that many kids today have very poor eating habits and parents are to blame. There’s this 9-year old girl who takes a karate class after my son’s class. I won’t lie, she’s pretty chubby and every time she gets to the rec center, she measures her blood sugar, which indicates she’s diabetic. If her sugar level is OK, what does she do? She buys a bag of chips or candy!!! That’s what I call irresponsible parenting and I really feel sorry for this poor kid who’s been given such a tough start by her parents.


    1. Does her mom KNOW she is buying chips and candy? Sometimes parents may be unaware. If her mom knows, then I agree with you….
      My grandma is diabetic, if her blood sugar is OK, she doesn’t really do anything other than eat as normal if it’s meal time……if her blood sugar is really low, she will usually drink some orange juice or eat some fruit. Every once in awhile, she might eat a little piece of cake or something during the holidays if her blood sugar is really low, but that’s rare. I don’t see anything wrong with anyone indulging every once in awhile, just not ALL the time, you know?
      My mom was skinny as she grew up….when she got married in the 60’s, I believe she fit a size 3 dress? But she had to get a bigger size and have it taken in because her bosom area was bigger……She was still a healthy weight until some time after she started having kids. Both of my sisters AND my brother were SKINNY growing up, as in really skinny…..my middle sister was about 90 pounds when SHE got married…..my oldest sister was still skinny until after she had kids and my brother JUST started getting a belly a couple years after being married, but he is still a healthy weight. My dad has always been healthy and he is 73 now and still runs on the treadmill and has more energy than a LOT of people…..I’m actually the only one that has been at least a little chubby since kindergarten…..


      1. Well, she gets the money from her mom so I’m sure she knows. I just think a 8 or 9 year-old chubby girl with type 2 diabetes should really watch her diet and lay off the processed sugar. Most kids in her situation could actually get rid of their diabetes with the right diet. I can’t believe her mom is not helping her do that. Who wants their kid to have diabetes for life if it can be avoided? As a parent, I find it my responsibility to take care of my kids, and that includes their health. I’m sorry but that mom is taking the easy way out. She’s not even there for her daughter’s class, she just drops her off and leaves. Every time.


  7. This was such an excellent and poignant post. I struggled with my weight horribly during my freshman and sophomore years of highschool and again all through college. It is an extremely hard thing to go through and learn to live beyond the mirror. Thank you for sharing.


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