I was 12 when I found out I would be getting braces. The idea didnt bother me that much. However, it was the first time that I considered "image." What would I look like to others? I was the second person in my elementary school class to get braces. It was the time in my life when I desperately wanted to fit in, but I didnt know how to do that yet. Braces were going to be terrible.
Braces opened my eyes to physical appearance. To beauty. To social stigmas, body type, genders, and what is to be expected of each. I was a chubby child - and always tall. By grade six I was probably at least 5'8 or 5'9. I had always been tall for my age so I couldnt shop in children's stores. Nothing fit me. I vaguely remember being in grade 4 or 5 and shopping for an outfit to go to a MS dinner. My grandma has MS and I had entered a drawing contest and won. I saw the numbers on the tags but they didnt mean anything to me then. I remember having to grab a size 14. Yikes. I didnt know what that meant then. But soon I would.
My mother always had issues with her body. I remember her often, probably daily, as a child when she looked at her profile in the mirror and sighed. She was always "so heavy." I dont blame my mother for anything that happened. Rather, she imprinted on me a constant dislike of my body. She made it okay to think that. She made it okay to hate myself, in a way at least.
Around the time I got braces I realized I was eating too much. I realized I was fat.
I now consider myself lucky. It scares me that now little girls in kindergarden are worrying about their bodies. What happened to childhood? At my twelve years of age I made a decision to change my body for the better. I now know where my mothers constant need to feed me came from. Apparently as a baby I cried a lot at one point. Someone told my mother to feed me more. That was the solution - she simply hadn't been feeding me enough. From that point on I would never get away from her wanting me to stuff myself to the limit. I was definitely imprinted. She taught me I should eat as much as possible. Growing quickly did give me a huge appetite, but never I couldnt possible fill myself enough for my mother to be completely satisfied. She didnt know she was sabotaging me.
More to the point, right around that time that I realized I was eating too much and that I was fat I decided to do something about it. It was so easy then. I started by eating one sandwich for lunch, not two. At dinner time I made sure I left the table still hungry. I didnt realize what a great cover I had made for myself. Since I had just gotten braces my mother thought my eating less was due to not being able to eat as well, or my mouth hurting. Boy did I fool her.
Once I got down to a reasonable size (i have no recollection of what that was) I was satisfied. I stopped. I didnt consciously stop. I just did - perhaps some of my innate childhood body wisdom kicking in.
This set the stage in a way. I had been sucessful at changing my body and I knew how to accomplish it. Eat less.