I grew up in a household where “pernil, arroz con pollo and pasteles” were part of the regular dietary regimen. Actually, pasteles were made for the holidays. But you get the jest of what I am saying. In our house meal time was the hi light of the day. Needless to say, as a child and throughout my adolescent years, I was very overweight.
I never really took notice when I was a kid. My weight just kept creeping up over a period of time. In fact, the moment of realization took place one day when I stepped on a scale at the age of 15. I weighed in at 165 lbs; not quite the ideal weight for someone only 5 ft 1 and 1/2 inches in height. That’s when I knew that things were out of control. But still it wasnt enough for me to do anything about it. I just vowed never to go on a scale again. So my problem was solved for the interim; at least in my adolescent mind it was. I continued my upward climb on the scales, just closing my eyes along the way; until one day about one year later, when my first life epiphany occurred.
I was walking down the hallway of my school, headed to the gym, already wearing my gym attire (tee shirt, shorts, sneakers). There was this cute girl walking ahead of me and she was in her gym attire too. The usual hall-mongers were idling about and they noticed cute girl. Right away they started with their cat/mating calls and such, directed at her. She was pretty happy with the attention as she swayed her hips exaggeratedly and smiled in their direction. Then comes my turn to pass by. What a nightmare that was. The cat calls quickly transformed into insults, laughter and mockery at my expense. I heard one of the guys call out something like, “Hey get a look at those thunder thighs! Ha Ha Ha!”; and with that last guffaw, I was absolutely mortified. Everyone turned to look at me and they all started laughing. I’m sure it was just a few people, but my eyes saw hundreds. I quickly ducked into the first available stair well and just broke down crying. I stood there, for what seemed an eternity, trying to compose myself; trying to muster up the courage to go back out there to the “hallway of ridicule”. And as I did so, I inwardly resolved to lose the weight. “I’ll show them”, I almost said aloud, as I dried my eyes and walked back out to the hallway, with my head held high and (morale held low, inside, where no one could see). This was just the beginning of my journey. And what a journey it has been.