I don't remember the sizes of clothes I wore when I was younger, but I believe even as a child, I needed the girls' equivalent to the boys' "husky" line, known as "plus size." I was pretty aware of the implication, and I'm sure I was only 10 or so. I was "larger than average." Taller also means heavier. I didn't understand that back then, and even now, I'm just starting to accept my size as just one small part of who I am.
Dieting was something all women do, or so I thought. My mom was always eating grapefruit and boiled eggs when I was little. There was the cabbage soup diet. The Atkins diet. Even lately, it's been Sensa. Exercise was jogging around the yard a certain number of times, working out with Artie Levin on TV, swimming laps, Pilates, and these days, walking.
I just wanted to set you up to understand my mindset as a young adult. I recall that I weighed more than I wanted to weigh. I would kill to weigh that weight today, which was probably 135 pounds. I hit 5'7" in middle school, so that was not a bad number. Technically, there are no bad numbers. Just poor self-esteem tied to numbers. It was only a bad number on the days they weighed us in gym class.
No one was allowed to see the scale, or hear the teacher say your weight. But friends all asked. Kids just want to know they're normal. My friends were no different. NO ONE weighed as much as I did. My friends were all reporting numbers in the low 100s, and the petite girls were UNDER 100. I think my birth weight was just around seven pounds, and then I just kind of skyrocketed to the 100s early in my youth. I was mortified that anyone would know I weighed more than all of the other girls. Yes, I was taller, but no one really explained that to me.
SOOO...as I was saying, I found myself wanting to take off some weight. I can remember it was when I was lifeguarding in the late seventies, and I'm sure being around the leaner, thinner lifeguards had me feeling pretty insecure about my weight, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. It's common knowledge that women should never eat less than 1200 calories on a restricted diet. I'd never given calories any thought, so I had no clue how many calories were in ANYTHING.
I headed down to the kitchen to check out our food supply. Freezer first. My favorite food in the whole world is ice cream. Hmmm... Anyone remember "ice milk?" Ice milk would be called low-fat ice cream these days. Like ice cream, only a little less creamy, a little less expensive, and a little less yummy. Remember Mama? She was all over anything that saved some calories. (And oh, yes, I have become my mother a hundred times over!)
Our freezer contained ice MILK rather than ice CREAM. We had a half gallon of chocolate ice milk in the fridge. Only 100 calories in a half cup. Good to know. And how about that? 13 servings in one carton. 100 x 13 = 1300 calories. BINGO! I now had a plan. I would consume one half gallon of ice milk each day, I would not reach the starvation level of 1200 calories per day, and I was just sure the weight would fall right off.
Two problems. First off, one cannot feel well eating only one food all day long, especially a dessert, for days on end. And secondly, my parents were never going to agree to buy me 15 gallons of frozen dairy dessert products to eat each month. As I recall, I managed to consume nearly all of that first carton, but I felt miserable. How could something so yummy make me feel so crummy?
That, folks, was the beginning of my life as a dieting adult. I've done many extreme things to try to drop a few pounds over the years, but nothing as crazy as the ice cream diet. It sounds so fun, but it just isn't very practical!
Anyone care to divulge the craziest thing you've done in the name of weight loss? There's no judgment here. When we know better, we do better. Back then, I just didn't know any better!