I was never an athletic child. While my brother was in soccer practice I stood off to the side. I didn’t understand how the kids did it. How could they run around for so long and get so red in the face and not be in pain? I had headaches. Lots and lots of headaches but it didn’t occur to me that this wasn’t normal. I thought they just handled it better than I did. To be honest I didn’t think much of it except that when I got too hot with a heart rate I could feel pounding in my chest I didn’t feel good. My parents noticed and I was checked out by my pediatrician. He ruled out asthma and allergies and suggested my Mom put me on a diet. He offered me $10 for every 3 pounds I lost. I could buy a Barbie with that! Every two weeks we would go and he would weigh me.
Cantaloupe. That is my strongest memory of this diet. Breakfast always included perfect slices of cantaloupe my mom lovingly put before me with some toast and milk. It was summer time and if I wasn’t sleeping I was swimming. That was the one form of exercise I didn’t suffer from and would stay in the water until I was so pruned and chlorine eyed I looked like a little tanned alien child.
Between that and the diet I became a strong, skinny little thing. I would lay on my towel drying off and pinching parts of me, checking for fat. The doctor used what I now know were fat calipers so I would mimic it. My heart breaks a little for that little girl who was so worried if she could catch more flesh one week. While my nutrition was excellent, my doctor had taught me that weight-loss equaled reward and that no weight-loss equaled disappointment in me.
My mom did a good job planting seeds about eating right and made sure I was eating a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables and lean meats. Good and bad but this is where my interest in nutrition very first began. I understood on a very basic level that what I ate mattered and could change my body in really positive ways.