Does This Make Me Look Fat?

I thought I was fat.  I wore a size 5/6, and knew that most of the girls my age were 3/4s or even 1/2s.

I spent most of my summer prior to my 8th grade year obsessing about my weight.  I was convinced that if I could just lose twenty pounds that I would suddenly be welcomed into the popular crowd of girls at school.  My evidence for this came in the form of Jenna T, who had moved in during our seventh grade year.  She immediately was catapulted to the stratosphere of thirteen year old girl popularity at our middle school.  Boys liked her for her looks.  Girls wanted to look like her and crowded around her in droves to see if they could soak up what ever it was about her that made her immediately stand out.

I figured if I could just lose twenty pounds then perhaps that would do it for me.  Then I could be that girl.  I would have more confidence because I would know that I looked good. I could wear more mini skirts and the skin tight jeans that everyone was wearing.  I could be more fashionable if I just had the right body for it.  Then maybe boys would look at me.  Then maybe someone would pay attention to me.

My friend Dawn thought I was nuts.  She was overweight, but not terribly so.  But over the course of the summer, my obsession with my weight turned into hers as well.

At first it was running.  I would go over to the track at the middle school around the corner and try to run it.  This is what athletic girls did, they ran.  But I hated running.  I hated the desperate, out of breath feeling I would get and the stitch in my side.  I gave up on that.

Once the weather warmed I took to swimming.  I even joined the local swim team.  Swimming was good; I was a decent swimmer, and it allowed me to eat a little more while still taking off a pound or two.  Still, I didn’t have the discipline for the team.  I quit before my first meet, and got mad when little old ladies would take up the lap space with slow breast strokes.

What could I do that would make being skinny as effortless as all of those girls at school who just happened to be blessed with high metabolisms or mothers who would cook healthy food for them to eat?  The answer seemed to be lurking in my copy of Bop magazine.  In the back of the magazine were all sorts of crazy advertisements.  Several were for Fat Camp resorts for teens.  The one in La Jolla always piqued my interest.  But no, my family could never afford that.

Then I saw it.  “Lose twenty pounds in two weeks!” promised the ad.  If I just paid thirty dollars for these little pills, they would melt away the fat quickly, in some amazing chemical reaction set off by the combination of herbal supplements in the tablets.  “Just think,” I told Dawn.  “I could be skinny by the time school started.  What do you think they all would say if I strolled in there on September 7 twenty pounds lighter?”  I started fantasizing about all of the stares and smiles and astonished looks.

We couldn’t ask our parents to write a check for the pills; we knew they’d never go for it.  But we each had a little allowance saved up, so we went over to Perry Drug Store and bought money orders for the pills.  We couldn’t wait to pop it in the mail.

Finally, with just a week before school was set to start, the pills arrived, along with a detailed eating plan.  We bought grapefruit, juices and lettuce for salads, all foods which were supposed to help the herbal supplements achieve maximum efficiency.

Needless to say, neither of us lost any weight.  I started 8th grade at the same weight I’d ended 7th grade.  But I wasn’t about to give up.  I’d just bought “The Best Little Girl in the World” at the book store, and planned on taking very careful notes.


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