Welcome back for the continuing true story of “Joy’s Journey”(provided in a weekly 8 part series.) If you have missed any of her journey, you can catch up on the website at “A Healthier You” (Testimonies):
In the fall of 1976, I began my 10th grade year. High school was going to be fun because my cousin Jeanne and I were going to get to attend the same school for the first time together. We were only 14 days apart in age and had grown up like sisters. She was awkward around boys, but not me because I had a brother. She had a sister 14 years her senior and a very overbearing mother, complete opposite of mine.
It was in our 10th grade year that I went on my first diet. I can remember it as if it were yesterday! We went to a place called “The Diet Center”, and it was located at our local mall. Luckily the entrance was from outside the mall so no one need know we were there. I already felt the shame. Jeanne’s mom was making her go and I just went to comfort her. Neither one of us was overweight by more than 5-10 lbs. It was similar to Weight Watchers with calorie restriction and exercise. The biggest problem was the fact that we were 15 years old and the class was full of moms in their 30’s, old ladies in our eyes! I clearly remember eating plain tuna fish on one slice of white bread for lunch. We figured out that if we ate less than they allowed, we could lose weight faster and not have to go anymore. We were right, and Jeanne’s mom said she could quit attending the meetings, whew.
That was all fine and dandy, but now because we’d lost a little chubbiness, we were getting all kinds of attention. By “we”, I mean “me”. Boys were noticing me right and left. Looking back, were they really or did it just seem that way because I had a new found confidence?! Remember, I had been put on a pedestal by my loving father. Then I saw my brother as my hero and idolized him because of the way he loved and protected me. Now I was seeking the attention of adolescent boys to validate me.
I always had a boyfriend, and I had some really nice ones. By my junior year, I was dating seniors from the football team. Now these boys wanted more than my offering of “candy”, i.e. hand holding and a few kisses. I was not that kind of girl, so they could just forget anything else. After several failed attempts at securing one of these boyfriends, the self-doubt began. What was wrong with me? Was I not sweet enough? Not pretty enough? “Why am I not good enough?”! Well I knew the answer … “because you’re FAT, and FAT girls don’t get the cool guys!” That must be it. Since over the summer I’d had a few too many McDonald’s fries and Hardees sweet ice teas at the beach, I’d gained back the weight I’d lost when dieting during school. And just like Donny Osmond belts out in The Osmond’s 1971 hit Yo-Yo:
Ho, ho, ho, just like a yo-yo
Ho, ho, ho, just like a yo-yo
Well it’s hard for me to see
How you got such a hold on me
First I’m up, and then I’m down
Then my heart goes around and around
Well, I’ll bet you five dollars I’m the only fool
Who’ll climb up a string for you
And need I say I can’t break away
You control every little thing I do.
More to come next Monday, (date). See you then!