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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Texas chapter.

Growing up in a low-income household, there wasn’t much room for healthy options. Even today as prices increase on items, bulk junk food is cheaper than a small amount of healthy food. Understandably, it’s not the only thing that leads to obesity, but I think it was a large factor in mine.

I remember always being the ‘bigger’ girl in elementary school. Running the slowest, not being able to do all the stretches correctly, being out of breath first, and always dreading the fitness checkpoint each year. Whether intentional or not, the coaches always humiliated me. Whenever it was time to weigh ourselves, the coaches always said the amount out loud. Maybe it was my imagination, but I felt that they always said mine a bit louder. The gasps, yes literal gasps, that occurred after my weight was announced and girls asking me if it was really that number tormented my child’s mind so much. I hated my body at a really young age. And I haven’t stopped.

It was worse in junior high. No matter how much I tried to not associate myself with the entitled girls, I ended up being talked about by them. Not even just my weight, but everything about me. My mom didn’t let me shave my legs until eighth grade. That was a nightmare. All three years of junior high, I had girls stare at my legs as if I were part animal. And then they kept staring and noticed my weight. Then my facial hair. It was a never-ending cycle. A nightmare that I never woke up from.

From the knock-off Barbie Dolls I had to the kid shows that aired for free, I was constantly surrounded by women with near-perfect bodies. Even when they attempted to ‘disfigure’ one of them, it was far from reality. The passing periods between classes, the few minutes after school waiting for my mom to pick me up, the nights, and even during some of my classes, I cried and hated myself so much. I wondered why I never had a body like my classmates. I wondered why only I had felt uncomfortable sitting at the desks with pre-attached seats. I was frustrated beyond means.

Near the beginning of high school, I attempted to eat as little as possible, wanting high school to be the platform where I changed myself. But it back-fired with my binge eating past midnight. At times, the cycle restarts for a few days where I scarcely eat in front of people, and then eat excessively at night with no one watching.

And then came the guilt. The guilt of eating so much, and yet looking like a fat pig. Sure, I’ll confess I still have these thoughts at times, but my friends have helped me beyond what I imagined. Because whenever I don’t eat alone, whenever I eat with a friend across from me, I don’t feel alone anymore. I don’t feel as though I need to eat scarcely in front of strangers, because I know my friends will love me no matter what. And at the end of the day, that’s all I needed really: for someone to love me and not be ashamed of being around me and my body, and to have someone who tells me I’m beautiful even if I don’t believe it. Because in the split second, it’s being said, I truly do believe it. That’s all I need to walk away from the ledge to my downfall.

My Queens, Kings, and Royal Theys,

I hope you too have someone to eat with,

And if you don’t,

I’ll always be here for you,

Cheering you on.

Alma Perez

Texas '25

Hello, ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ I am a current student at UT Austin majoring in Neuroscience. I plan to write about the many experiences I have lived through in the first 19 years of my life. I hope you read and enjoy it! p.s. yes, I have a therapist and psychiatrist, don't worry <3