I’m half the size I was in High School

Post date: Jan 18, 2017 12:53:54 AM

I’m half the size I was in High School. Not very many people can say that. As a child, I was obese. We had to wear uniforms in elementary school, and I had to shop in the adult section for clothes that “looked” like everyone else’s because children’s uniforms did not provide my size. Growing up, I was bullied and teased about my weight from peers and my family. I was called "sumo wrestler", "fat", and my Spanish-speaking pupils called me "fea" when they found out my middle name, Faye. One girl on the school bus once told me, after looking at my legs in shorts, "You know, sweat burns fat". It's silly... I know. As an adult, I think about how stupid this is for kids to say such mean things and for me to take it so personally... But it affected me all my life.

Even through my adulthood working in the entertainment industry, it's even harder to accept who you are when all that surrounds you is the images of women who are less than a size 8. I once went to an audition with my brother in Hollywood for acting and modeling for teens. Before the auditions even began, the talent scout came out of her office and announced, "If anyone auditioning for modeling is a size 8, leave now". I was there to support my brother and was not auditioning for anything, but at the time, I was well over a size 8 and thought that if I were ever to be "beautiful" like a model, I could never be. Not only did it affect me physically, it also affected me emotionally, psychologically, and socially, and influenced how I viewed my life. Will anyone ever love me? Will I ever be thought of as beautiful? Will I ever be successful being a plus size?

When I was 16, I was the largest I had ever been, a size 18. I couldn’t shop at the stores all the “cool kids” were shopping at or wear the styles my celebrity idols were trending. This is when I decided to change. I started to work out more than just the average mandatory P.E. classes in school and lost weight to where I could wear a size 13 pants. In choir, my friends and I formed this a cappella ladies quartet, and we wanted to wear trendier outfits for our performance. When shopping, all the girls found their clothes at forever 21 right away. For me, my mom and I shopped around the world for my size and we were lucky to find one location, an hour away that carried one left. I really felt bad that my mom drove so far away for a stupid top.

As my senior year came to an end, I had shed enough weight to wear a size 9, a number so unfamiliar to me. All my clothes had to be altered, which I learned to alter myself…and was proud to have to alter my own choir uniform. As a Senior in Choir, it was a big deal to audition for the Special Graduation song to say good bye to everyone you grew-up with and the memories you made, and I was chosen to sing that Graduation song for my graduating class of 800 students and their families. When this was announced, someone said, “It’s not over until the fat lady sings”.

After graduating high school, my family took a trip to the Philippines where everyone looked at me and laughed because of my weight. In their eyes, I was humongous! During this trip, I realized all the walking and healthy organic food we ate helped me to lose some more pounds and when I came home, my clothes no longer fit me. So I went shopping, and just to see if I could, I went shopping at Hollister. A store I would have never stepped into before. I put on my very first low-rise jeans in a size 5. This was such a great feeling, and I strutted those pants until they ripped, but it wasn’t enough. I started to think how much more weight I could lose and the thought of not being accepted began to consume me. I started to lose weight more drastically. I excessively exercised and monitored my weight every time I touched food and if I gained 1 pound, I somehow found a way to punish myself. I was anorexic, bulimic, and a malnourished size 3 AND SUDDENLY everyone was complimenting me on how good I looked. I even got myself a boyfriend who wasn’t interested in me in high school. FINALLY, THE WORLD ACCEPTED ME.

WELL, FUCK THE WORLD! From being a size 13 to a size 3 in a matter of months is dangerous…and for those thinking of trying it, well it may cost you a big ambulance bill, IV in your arm in a hospital bed, a psychologist, and HURTING the people who care about you. (YES! THEY CARE ABOUT YOU! Their way of showing it is telling you you’re fat, and even when you lose weight, they’ll still find something negative to say…that’s just how the world works). When I realized I was doing myself and others harm, I found a healthy diet that worked for me and exercised moderately. I gained healthy fat, and healthy muscle and over the years, my journey has made me realize that I AM WHO I AM. I LOVE FOOD! I love sugar, salt, carbs…PIZZA and ICE CREAM and I can balance all those delicious treats with doing things I love, like hiking, fishing, camping, and the occasional kum-ba-ya-ing around the campfire! My body will never be a size 0. My body is not built to be like the models in magazines, and I shouldn’t compare myself to others because THEY ARE NOT ME and that’s OKAY! I’ve accepted WHO I AM and have found what works for ME!

For those who have decided to lose weight for their New Year resolution, GOOD FOR YOU! You’ve taken the first step to LOVING YOURSELF by DOING YOU! Know that it’s not just a goal to complete this year…but a LIFE CHANGING CHALLENGE. YOU CAN DO IT and YOU CAN KEEP IT OFF! Once you make the decision to change… It will always be a struggle…but it is NOT IMPOSSIBLE.

My size has fluctuated over my adult life, but I’ve managed to stay HEALTHY and keep MY PERSONAL GOAL of never reaching a size of two digits. This is a photo of me today, a healthy size 7, wearing pants I wore in high school, size 18, and I LOVE MYSELF.