“Fat” Camp

When I was a fat kid, losing weight was my only goal. My mother drove me to diet doctors, Weight Watchers, Behavior Modification specialists, therapists. We attempted every diet – eating only protein or only fruit or only rice. We cut out sugar, carbs, eating after 5 pm, eating before dinner, white food, anything but grapefruit……..

My mother lost a lot of weight. I got fatter. We tried another diet.

Defeated and disgusted, I believed myself to be the ugliest, most unlovable girl in the world. I was teased mercilessly for my weight (and frizzy hair, coke-bottle glasses, braces, acne.)

At one point, my mother suggested “fat” camp, but my aversion to exercise and the label, “fat”, put an end to that idea. I cringed at the thought of being weighed and made to exercise and put on more diets. Imagine being judged all summer by your weight? Awful. The school year was bad enough.

Instead, Mom sent me to regular camp, where my lack of athletic prowess made life, well, miserable. An insomniac since birth, I couldn’t sleep. I was the only one in my bunk without a boyfriend. What did I do at camp? I ate.

And dreamed of a summer camp where I could be free. Free to read and rest and watch movies and lie in the sun and maybe participate in gentle non-competitive exercise like dog paddling around a pool or going for an easy walk through the fields.

No one would chastise me and my fellow campers for lack of weight loss or lack of coordination or lack of dates. We would be accepted and cherished for just being us.

I suppose no parent would send their kid to my camp, not in today’s world where skinny is synonymous with all things good. Such a shame

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