I went home that afternoon and stood in front of the mirror in my underwear for what seemed like hours. I carefully studied my body from head to toe, noticing every flaw, imperfection, and detail that looked "wrong," "out of place," or "unappealing" to me. I looked long and hard until it suddenly became clear that yes, I was flat chested, which I thought looked totally weird on my body frame. I was horrified I didn't have boobs yet, since most of my friends were more developed. One good friend was already wearing a D cup, which I envied. I'd look in the mirror and wonder, "Where are they?"
A lot of my girlfriends had long skinny legs that looked like two toothpicks. They pranced around in bathing suits with thighs that never moved. My legs were not as thin or firm as theirs. I stood in front of the mirror, jiggling my legs. I gasped after noticing a lot of action in my thighs. I also didn't think my sandy-colored hair was as beautiful as the lighter shade of California blonde all my friends had. I had tons of freckles that ran across my too pointy nose, my shoulders were bony, and my hips seemed to be spreading at an alarming rate. I hated everything I discovered in the mirror that night.
"I try not to weigh myself. As long as I fit in my jeans, I'm good. It's so easy to become obsessed with a number on a scale! It's a slippery slope, and pretty soon, you'll be weighing yourself all the time, and for what?" —Betsy, Richmond, Virginia
It was official. I had become one of "those" girls I saw in the locker room earlier that day. I suddenly realized that life would never be the same again.
From that day on, I became obsessed with weighing myself—and I mean all the time. I feared going to the doctor's office for my annual checkup, panicked at the thought of the big black weight on the scale shifting from fifty to one hundred pounds. My mother had the same type of medical scale in her bathroom as in the pediatrician's office. I'd sometimes purposely shower in her room so I could secretly weigh myself, sometimes twice a day, hoping and praying I didn't gain any weight since my weigh-in the day before. I was mortified thinking about triple digits on the scale.
The struggle with my body image and self-esteem continued well into high school. I took a sex education class my freshman year that taught us about the changes girls' bodies go through as they mature into women. It sounded horrible! Wide hips, big boobs (which I now viewed as nothing more than two welts of fat), bigger butts, and even larger thighs! Based on that less-than-appealing description, I thought the next few years would be a living hell.
I made it through middle school maintaining a constant weight of 95 to 98 pounds. I was determined to stay under 100 pounds until I went to high school—and I did. I started ninth grade weighing in at what I believed to be a hefty101 pounds and feeling horrible, like I was a fat blob. My immediate reaction was to skip my next meal and starve myself until I dropped two pounds to get my weight under 100 pounds.
Even though most people would have told you I was thin, I had finally teetered over the 100-pound mark on the scale. It didn't take long for the scale to creep back up over that dreaded mark. I now weighed a staggering 108! Ugh. This is when I began experimenting with every fad diet known to man. I tried my hardest to starve myself, but nothing I was doing seemed to work. I hated my body.