Last time, on Tales of my Fitness Past, I told you about the first part of my childhood. I was a skinny but sick kid who got better around the same time as having emotionally charged year at school, and a bad diet.
I first realized that I was getting bigger (not in height) than the other kids around 5th grade. We shopped in the “Pretty Plus” section of Sears for my school clothes. My pediatrician told my mom we had to do something about my “spare tire.” But it wasn’t all that bad. I played recreational softball and was just about as good as any of the other girls on the team. We never won a game! In 6th grade I failed to make the soccer team, but I did barely make the last seat on the basketball team. I really liked basketball because my friends all played. I was a good shot, and good at defense. My left side lay ups would make you weep with joy and I was pretty good at find opportunistic ways to steal the ball. I was NOT good at running up and down the court. My stamina and endurance were not good. Cheerleading never entered my brain as an option despite the fact that by watching them I learned every cheer and used to practice the half time routine at home with my friends.
My weight started going up as my activity started to slow down. I became the basketball score keeper instead of playing, mostly because my coach had told my mom that this wasn’t the sport for me. This way I got to be a part of it – I was good at it, I knew the game, and I still got to travel with the team and my friends. My parents got a satellite dish and I started watching a lot more TV as well as remaining an enthusiastic reader. Basically, I was just getting more sedentary.
High School prompted me to get a little bit more serious about my weight, especially since I had my first boyfriend. I definitely equated attractiveness with size. I started exercising at home to Richard Simmons’ tapes. But, I took it too far. I was really over exercising and not eating enough. Every time I wanted to eat I’d just drink water until the feeling went away. It caused me to throw up water a few times. At the end of freshman year I started playing tennis. Tennis is my sport. I played it for the rest of high school, year round. I’d play outside in the summer and Fall, go to the indoor courts in the Winter, help shovel the courts in the Spring just in time for the season. But tennis wasn’t a sport that was given a lot of attention where I lived and other than the playing season in HS, I pretty much played once or twice a week. It wasn’t enough.
I can’t really remember how much I weighed in HS, but I do remember being 17 years old and finding out I had PCOS. It explained a lot of the weight gain and difficulty taking it off, but it didn’t help my mood. It was tough to be a kid and finding out something serious that could impact the rest of your life. I’m positive I was depressed. I couldn’t wait to get to college. I was going to start my real life.