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Kate's Story: From Teenage Dieting to Freedom From Body Hatred and Dieting

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From teenage dieting, to pregnancies (and subsequent weight gain), to freedom from body hatred and dieting!

I was always a "chunky" kid and went on my first diet at the age of 10. Having reached puberty well before most of my peers, I was the "fat" girl in my class because I had hips and breasts. At 5'2" and 104 pounds, I was a "cow" compared to the rest of the skinny, flat-chested girls on my soccer team.

Overeaters Anonymous, of which my mother was a member, introduced me to the "grey-sheet" plan: no white flour, no sugar, etc. I ate 1/2 cup of grape-nuts with a 1/2 cup of skim milk for breakfast every day, tuna fish and salad for lunch, and whatever my mother put before me at dinner time (except for any of the sweets my thin brother and sister got to eat).

I was so pleased with myself when I finally weighed in at 86 pounds! Still active in sports and eating like a normal person, I started junior high school at about 115 pounds and 5'3". I was not cool by any means, and the fact we weren't allowed to dress "cheap" like the other girls in school made me the ultimate geek. Looking back now, I was smart and funny and not fat by any means. At the time, though, I felt ugly and lonely and started coming home straight after school to lose myself in reruns of "The Waltons." By the time I graduated from 8th grade, I weighed 151 pounds and a group of elementary school kids would shout "The fat girl is back!" whenever they passed me walking home from school in the afternoon.

Over the summer, I lost 30 pounds on another sugar-free, "exercise-like-crazy" regimen. I managed to stay within a normal weight of 125 to 130 pounds throughout high school and college but still felt so much fatter than everyone else. I wore a size 8! After college, I attended graduate school and lived on the typical starving students diet of pasta and beans and rice. I ballooned to 160 pounds but managed to knock off 20 pounds before I got married in 1995—thanks to more dieting and exercise.

Getting pregnant five months after I got married was a godsend to a healthy eater like me. I couldn't diet anymore and easily gained the 30 requisite pounds for a healthy baby. After my daughter was born, I stopped working full-time and had all day to eat whatever I wanted. My night-time job gave me an excuse to drink regular coffee and grab a "snack" to keep me going into the wee hours of the morning. Five months later, I was in a car accident—and pregnant with my second child—and was confined to bed rest with a fractured pelvis. Unable to go on my daily walks to compensate for what I ate, I topped out at 194 pounds by the time baby number two was born.

A year later, I was still over 180 pounds and decided to bite the bullet and join a commercial weight management program. I kept track of my food and calorie intake and exercised religiously 30 minutes a day. I lost 20 pounds and was thrilled with all the positive comments from friends and relatives. But I was still miserable being a stay-at-home mom, and I ate when I was miserable. The weight loss stopped about six months ago when I started taking birth control pills. My doctor put me on Prozac for post-partum depression and said one of the benefits was decreased appetite and weight loss. My luck, I gained 10 pounds.

At Christmas time, a friend gave me a copy of "Mode Magazine," which is dedicated to women size 12 and up. For once in my life, I felt it was ok to be voluptuous. The beautiful "plus-size" models made me feel better in my own skin. Granted, I still catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror or look at picture and say, "What a cow!"—but I must say it happens less often.

I am inspired by the stories of women who are fighting poor self-esteem and the impulse to judge oneself on appearance alone. If even one of us can feel happy and confident and beautiful regardless of size, that is a huge step toward change.

Go Girls!

"Kate"

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