I have been overweight my entire life.

Despite being born a preemie. I quickly dug in my heels and gained weight with the best of them. By first grade, I was definitely a chubby kid.

I remember talking to my mom about my weight as young as kindergarten or first grade. We were sitting in the basement of my school for Girl Scouts. I was crying about something and my mom said that by that time next year, I would be thin like another one of the little girls in my troop. I would no longer have my “chipmunk” cheeks. I was taken aback by the thought that “Wow! I can be like everyone else!”

As I grew up, I always knew that I was the “fat” one. Sometimes people said things, sometimes they didn’t, but I knew. I knew that they were being critical of the way I looked, what I wore, and what I was eating.

The thing is, I never ate anything extraordinarily awful.

We never had snacks in my parents house growing up. If we wanted a snack, we had baby carrots, fruit, popcorn, or pretzel sticks. I stuck with the carrots and ate them all the time.

Upon finding out my weight at a yearly physical in 5th grade, my mom put me on my first diet. I lost 5 pounds that week, but a week was all the longer it lasted. Looking back, I remember being praised for restricting what I ate throughout elementary school. By the time I entered middle school, I was waking up at 5:15 to fit in a workout before school. My mom had old workout videos from the 80’s that I would do. I would then come home and ride our exercise bike for a half hour. I even tried running with my dad. I restricted my diet more and more. At one point, I was eating a serving of cereal with low-calorie yogurt each day for lunch. Mind you, I wasn’t eating anything other than diet iced tea for breakfast. Not much substance for an honor student to get through the day.

After school, I would come home and binge eat, making myself vomit it all back up before my parents got home from work or my brother got off the school bus.

I started high school at 163 pounds and ended at 188. The later became the highest I weighed until after college when I clocked in at 208 pounds. Upon seeing that number on my scale in January 2008, I realized I needed to do something.