How it all started: my relationship with food and physical activity in the early years

My obsession with food started at a very young age. You can tell by the way I looked during my infancy and childhood, always overweight and somewhat bipolar (not that there’s necessarily a correlation between the two, but still worth mentioning). I can’t remember a single time when my mom, granny or aunties had to threaten me in order to finish my food. They were happy because, as most old-fashioned ladies do, they thought that chubby kids were healthy kids.

That was far from true. I did enjoy eating but my extra kilos made life sometimes miserable. For starters, Physical Ed was a nightmare. I was totally unfit, even when my parents paid for sports classes during summer school holidays. I even failed Physical Ed once during Elementary School. I think that was when I hit ground and said to myself “hey, this can’t go on”. Gradually I started getting fitter as I got more involved with sports. The first one I ever took seriously was softball, in the summer of 1989. The trainers were two ladies (one was fit and the assistant really overweight) that had been trained by men in their youth, so they were tough. The training consisted in:
Running 9 laps
Bodyweight exercises (pushups, crunches, etc.)
Ball throwing drills
Match

By the time I got home I was totally exhausted. Unfortunately this only lasted for one or two months, three days a week. It did help me get fitter but I was nowhere near the fitness level I needed to shake off the excess weight. I played tennis on and off but I wasn’t very good at it. Correction: I sucked. Now it’s one of the few sports I really love (and I don’t suck anymore) but at that time I just wasn’t consistent with it. The next sport I picked was basketball. At that time I was one of the tallest in the class and for the underdeveloped thinking of that time, “tall” meant “able to play”. I started training with the class team and this made me a bit fitter. Physical Ed was no longer a full-time nightmare, only a two-time nightmare: during volleyball season and long-distance running. But I actually enjoyed basketball, circuits, long jump, and “taburetes”, those stackable bench-looking wooden things you had to jump over in different fashions. I lost some weight and became fitter (that does not mean “fit”, only not as unfit as before), but my nutrition didn’t improve that much.

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