Looking at old pictures of myself, I notice that I'm a pretty normal sized little kid. Around kindergarten and 1st grade, I look a little "sturdy," with impressive chipmunk cheeks (ready for winter, no less), but otherwise I match up fairly well. It's not until I get into high school that my weight starts to creep up and not until college that I break the 200 lb. barrier.
This makes sense to me. As a toddler and grade schooler, my intake was largely controlled by others: my parents, the school lunch program (one child, one tray, no seconds), other prudent adults connected to our family. Oh, sure, I had the odd nickel or dime that I could spend at Chapman's Confectionery or Wolf's Bakery, and I did, but those were predictable treats that my mother could adjust for.
In high school, I was still a slave to the school cafeteria, but there were choices and I was only limited to the money in my pocket. Finally free to choose what I wished without having to ask permission, I ate burgers and fries, pizza, Little Debbie cakes and chocolate shakes for lunch. When my weekly allowance ran out (usually around Wednesday), I'd have to make do with the Weight Watcher's lunches my mother packed. After a while, I figured out I could eat the WW lunch and supplement it with the LDs and shakes on the cheap.
By the time I was a junior in high school several friends had cars. Now my culinary boundaries were expanded again, broadening to include Steak and Shake, McDonald's and White Castle. As I got older, my allowance increased, too, and that's not all. My butt, belly and thighs all encroached on new territory.
I weighed about 180 lbs. when I graduated from high school. That year, I played basketball, softball and powder puff football. I was also playing a lot of tennis. So, yes, I was overweight, but I was very muscular, so I looked maybe 20-25 lbs. thinner than my actual weight.
College opened new vistas in food abuse to me. I lived in the dorm the first couple of years I was away, so my meal ticket was included in the room and board my parents paid. The cafeteria was good for every meal except Sunday dinner and you could go back through the line as many times as you wanted. It was all you care to eat, all the time, every single meal, except Sunday dinner. Well, you can imagine what happened.
Even so, I didn't tip the scale fantastic until I moved out of my parents' house and into a place of my own. Since that time, I've packed on about 100 lbs. Here's the kicker, though: that's about 6 or 7 lbs. a year! A half a pound a month! For someone like me, that's barely noticeable. It's like it happened while I was sleeping!
I often wish I could step into Mr. Peabody's Way Back Machine and try it again, knowing what I know now. Probably, I would be healthier. Given all the money I've spent on food over the years, I definitely would be richer. I'm not sure I'd be wiser, since whatever wisdom I've acquired has been pretty hard-won.
But of course, I can't go back and I wouldn't. The weight and the health issues aside, I have a wonderful life full of unique and treasured friends. My family is so cool I can barely keep from shouting about it at inappropriate times in public places. Love pours in and there is not a day that I don't think to myself, "I am truly blessed." Thanks to you all.