Sometime when I was between 8-10 years old I picked a swimming suit out from the JC Penney Catalog. It was a bikini, and though my mom may have tried to steer me in a different direction, to a suit that would better cover my chubby body, I wasn’t hearing it. The suit arrived and I put it on and came out of my room to show mom and I still very vividly remember the look on her face and the “oh, Tricia” that fully conveyed her disgust. I took off the suit and did not wear it again.

When I was 12 I found a book of exercises on the bookshelf and brought it up to my room. I religiously did the exercises (mostly crunches) every day for the 30 days that the book said it would take to see results. I saw no results.

At 14 I was counting calories. Skipping school lunch, only to come home and make up for all the calories I missed and more. I could tell you how much I weighed and what size wore of year of my life starting at about 8 years old. 3rd grade. I remember monitoring how my jeans fit me and hoping they would start to be too big. At 8 years old. Spoiler alert. They never became too big.

I went from wearing the same size and stealing clothes from my older sister to no longer fitting into my sister’s cute clothes and instead outfiting myself in t shirts and sweatshirts that I hoped made me blend in, and at least didn’t draw attention to my body.

In a casual conversation about my latest weight loss adventure I mentioned to my friend that I have been trying to lose this weight since – she cut me off. “You have been trying to lose weight for the entire time I have known you.” We met at 13 when I moved to a new school and she became one of my only friends.

TikTok is full of gross and stupid content, but it isn’t all bad. When my doctor suggested a new, pharmacuetical approach to weight loss I found lots of information on TikTok, and I found WeightDoc. An Obesity specialist who has helped me see that my weight is not a reflection of my inferiority, but rather a reflection of my genes, my environment, all of the ways that I have reinforced my own feelings of shame and disgust and self hate. I’m not really any better, but maybe one day I can believe this new reality. In the meantime, I have started taking a life changing medication that is helping to calm the voices in my head that tell me I should go ahead and eat until my stomach hurts.

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