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Why I am Thankful to be a Former Fat Kid

At age ten, I was classified as obese. My doctor diagnosed me with high cholesterol and told me that diabetes was in my near future. To put a nice cherry on top, he also said, “No more pizza and grilled cheese.” As a ten-year-old girl who found joy in eating her feelings, I was devastated, to say the least. I am a former “fat kid.” 

The following years weren’t easy for me. My self-esteem was crushed. Girls used to whisper about my lunches, poke my stomach and call me fluffy. Shopping trips were a nightmare, as I was always on edge, worried that people were going to see me trying on clothes in the boys’ section of the store. I was so insecure that even on the hottest days in school, I would never take off my jacket, worried that my arms looked fat in a short-sleeved shirt. I couldn’t even make eye contact with people because of how un-confident I was.

I wish it was easy to think, “Screw body-image. I love my body and self the way that it is.” But, it wasn’t. Even if I was confident in my appearance, my health was still a major issue that needed to be fixed. The summer before eighth grade, I started my health and fitness journey. Tired of feeling defeated, I was determined to become the healthiest version of myself that I could be. At the time, I had no idea this process would teach me so much about myself, my capabilities and my resilience.

I started by just doing 30-minute Jillian Michael workout videos on YouTube. I dreaded it completely—until I saw results. I didn’t just see physical results, however; I also saw mental ones. I had a clearer mind, I was happier, and I felt amazing knowing that I did something good for myself every day. Exercising soon became therapy for me. It was no longer a chore. Instead, it gave me the motivation to try new things and learn more about health and nutrition as a whole. The process is what gave me gratification—not the number of pounds I lost.

Being a former “fat kid” has allowed me to expand my knowledge about health, fitness and, most of all, myself. I gained confidence—not just from looking physically different, but also from learning that I have the capability to overcome seemingly impossible obstacles thrown at me. Understanding that I have the potential to reach the goals I set my mind to gives me the confidence to succeed in other facets of my life.  

I used to be embarrassed to admit that I was once obese and had major health problems. But now, I embrace that chapter of my life. As I happily eat a decadent grilled cheese sandwich, I can proudly say: I love being a former “fat kid.”

Madeline is the Assistant Director of Event Marketing for UCLA's Chapter of Her Campus. She is a third-year student majoring in Communication Studies. In her free time, she enjoys watching Rom Coms, cooking, and looking at pictures of cute pugs.
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