I used to have no idea which foods were healthy and which weren't. Counting calories was the only thing I knew to be "true." A fluctuating weight and emotional eating were normal for me. I remember someone asking me, "Are you on a diet?" My response?..."Always!" Diet pills, meal skipping, diet shakes, food restrictions, and body shaming were all a way of life for me that I didn't even think about—it was all I knew.
My first memory of wanting to be healthy was when I was 8 years old. It was when I first remember becoming aware of "fat" and what "fat" was. In elementary school, a man (I think he was a doctor) came into our class and handed each kid a small squishy ball. He told us that when we squeeze this ball, we can feel what fat feels like. Ergo, if we had parts of our body that felt like that we were, indeed, "fat." In that moment I was no longer a little girl filled with unshakable confidence, no matter what I looked like. I was a girl who would forever more be worried about her weight and fat percentage. I now had new feelings of fear...of self-consciousness. I carried this with me through my teenage and young adult years.