When contemplating what my next Blog Post would be about, I immediately had a strong feeling that I should share my own life story in terms of weight issues, “fat shaming,” the way I used to look and judge myself and finally living on an island and never wanting to go to the beach because of my own “body issues.”
Getting on the “Starving to be beautiful train”
As long as I can remember and since High School I was always on a diet. At first I thought, wow this is so cool, I am copying the cool ladies (ones who were older) at school as they all seem to be on diets, and starving themselves, so it must be seriously in style. I never had a weight issue up to that point, I put it in my head that I did. I must have been about 105-108 pounds in all my teen years, and I looked very slim and healthy (looking back.) However, I saw the girls with uniforms hanging off them, skirts falling off and collarbones sticking out – and I thought that was the way we were supposed to look in our teens. Everyone was trying to be “skinny” – one girl boasted that she ate one apple per day for two weeks and had lost ten pounds. She seemed pretty skeletal looking to me….but again, it was ingrained in me from then that this is what the perfect woman must look like.
I was also watching my mother eat only salads, and the era of Miss Jamaica this and that, and Miss Jamaica Fashion Model, etc. whatever it was – they were all underweight, severely so – but I thought this was the picture society was telling us to look like. Emaciate yourself, and you will become someone. You will be beautiful. Men will love you.
And I fell in love with a very handsome man when I was 19, who loved my thin figure – so I kept thinking this is it, this is the epitome of beautiful.
Moving to Bermuda to study Hotel Management
I moved to Bermuda and started studying hotel management….and within six months, trying to fit in, study hard and missing my family – I put weight on. About 15 pounds. What they call the standard “Freshman15” – it just so happened the lovely ladies I was friendly with back then in Bermuda all had healthy figures – and they encouraged me eat normally, which included snacks, etc. I was not used to understanding what healthy was….I had no idea how to cook healthy and lived in with a family who ate frozen foods for dinner. So with that added stress came the snacking, eating bread etc. Another five pounds on my 5ft barely two inch frame.
By the first year in Bermuda I was now weighing about 132 pounds, but no one in Bermuda thought that was odd nor was I ever called “chubby” or even “fat.” In fact I received alot of male attention constantly.
And back in Jamaica…
When I went back to Jamaica for the Summer vacation the following year — I experienced the first time I was “fat shamed” by a good, family friend a couple years older than I – a very attractive man who I had known since childhood. I went out one night to a night club with my handsome boyfriend and I was told that “I had gotten really fat” by this person and in front of many people. My whole world collapsed at that point and I wanted to go home.That led to me starving myself for the rest of the Summer and going back to Bermuda at about 120 pounds. To which I was told by all how thin I looked. I was so confused to put it lightly.
Another two years of college meant more weight gain. More vacations to Jamaica, more insults = more starving and you got the picture, each year I was going up and down by 15 pounds depending on where I was. Jamaica – 120 Bermuda, 135. What was wrong with this picture??
**In Part two: Meeting my hubby and finding the balance, and understanding what it takes to be healthy and fit..and not worried about what people think…to taking a walk on the stage.**