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When Was The First Time You Thought You Were Fat?

Most people think they are overweight at some point in their life and have various physical hangups when it comes to their own bodies. I think this is completely natural and definitely something that plays on my mind at times. I’m currently following the SlimFast Challenge and have done various other diets in the past – especially after having LP.

But looking back at my body from my teenage years until now it has changed incredibly, my weight has gone up and down at various points in my life and my overall shape is a lot different since having children. But there is one thing that has always been consistent, apart from when I was pregnant I have never truly been happy with the way I look.

When Was The First Time You Thought You Were Fat?

Now, don’t get me wrong. My face is fine, I don’t think I’m ugly and I think when fully clothed I look okay. But when I get dressed in the morning or get out of the shower and see my reflection in the mirror it isn’t what I want to see and this has been something that has followed me through my life. I have never been happy with that reflection looking back at me.

But I know I am not alone. I know that many women – and men too – have hangups about their bodies. It’s made me think though about when I started to have issues with my body. I got bullied horrendously as a teenager and it could have been then but that was all about my hair colour, having braces and wearing glasses – nothing to do with my body really.

So I think it actually started after I moved out of home. When I was seventeen I found myself working full time and renting a room in a house, having to manage my finances for the first time. Over the couple of years that followed my weight plummeted where I didn’t have the best of diets and was constantly on the go but it’s only in hindsight that I realise my weight had fallen drastically. I wasn’t healthy – it wasn’t a healthy slimness but more a bony skinniness. But even then, at the point I met the man that would become my husband, I thought I was fat.

Three months into our relationship we went to the Dominican Republic. It was the first time I’d been abroad and the first time I had even worn a bikini. I have never felt so self conscious and at times uncomfortable. I was fine wearing shorts or a skirt and my bikini top but when I had my whole bikini on and nothing else I felt like a whale. At the time I felt really pear shaped with legs like tree trunks and although my boyfriend clearly adored me I had very low self esteem.

When Was The First Time You Thought You Were Fat?

Now I have those same hangups. I feel really pear shaped with the added extra of a mummy tummy. My legs are decidedly heavier than the rest of me and I will never let my knees be on show – unless we’re abroad.

But I look at myself now, and look at how I was 11 years ago when we went on that holiday, the first time I thought I was fat, and I realise how wrong I was.

That twenty year old laying on a sun lounger isn’t fat at all. She’s absolutely fine just the way she is. The problem is not the skin that she’s in but the way she feels in that skin. I wasn’t fat – far from it and yet I didn’t like myself much at all. But what I would give to look like that now.

So this year I am starting again. I am on a diet that fits well with my lifestyle, I have a goal to get to and when I get to it I’m going to see how I feel in my skin and I’m going to remember that girl on the sun lounger.

In the summer we’re going abroad for the first time in a very long time and I know that I will be wearing a bikini again. That is something I never thought I would say. But this year I am taking ownership of my body again. I am going to wear a bikini, lay on a sun lounger and be comfortable in my own skin. No, I don’t expect to look as I did when I had just turned twenty but I do expect to be happy and content with the body I have now that I am in my thirties.

I have spent most of my life criticising myself and this body that I was born with. Every day my body lets me spend time with my children, go to work and go on adventures. It really isn’t a bad body at all and I think I need to worry about more important things than whether my stomach will ever be flat again.

So I am going to keep doing what I’m doing – dieting in a healthy way and exercising and then I’m going to go on holiday with my beautiful family and spend the time making memories instead of worrying how I look in a bikini. I cannot wait for two weeks in the sun with no routines, no plans and just each other.


  • Donna Wishart

    Donna Wishart is married to Dave and they have two children, Athena (12) and Troy (11). They live in Surrey with their two cats, Fred and George. Once a Bank Manager, Donna has been writing about everything from family finance to days out, travel and her favourite recipes since 2012. Donna is happiest either exploring somewhere new, with her camera in her hand and family by her side or snuggled up with a cat on her lap, reading a book and enjoying a nice cup of tea. She firmly believes that tea and cake can fix most things.

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  1. You look AMAZING first and foremost but I too look at photos of pre-babies and can’t believe I ever for one second thought I was fat. I really wish I was at ease with my mind then as I am now. I’ve joined slimming world and am desperate for this year to get back and be happy with my body xx

  2. It’s startling looking back at old photos from a time when I wasn’t happy with my appearance for one reason or another, only to realise that I looked fine, and usually better than I do now! Definitely a reason to focus on feeling happy in my own body, and not focusing on unachievable goals or comparing too much to others.

  3. I remember thinking I was fat since I was a little girl. There were some holidays I refused to wear a bikini. But like you I can look back at old photos & realise while I will never have a flat stomach – I’m not built that way. But I didn’t used to be fat. I’m working my way down too, as you know. I may not wear a bikini again as my tummy is so stretched. But I want to be happy in my skin again. This is a great and such an honest post Donna that really resonated with me x

  4. I’ve had my own battles with my weight over the years – I think I first started thinking I was fat when I grew big boobs seemingly overnight when I was 13. When I was 17 I pretty much existed on Pepsi Max for a year and got really thin but l still wasn’t happy. I’ve been up and down countless times since then and I think I need to take a leaf out of your book and just focus on being happy in my skin. I’m sure you’ll get there Donna – and you’ll have a fabulous holiday!

  5. I can totally relate to looking back at old photos, knowing I felt fat then, and yet now longing for the body I had then.
    I am not on a specific diet, just trying to eat healthily and do more exercise, because right now I actually am fat, and I don’t love my body like I should. I do, however, love it more than I used to, which I suppose is odd, because I was much healthier then.
    It’s such a complex thing, our relationship with our bodies. Sounds like you’re taking the bull by the horns and making great changes though. Enjoy your holiday!

  6. Love this! was the same I always thought I was huge and in all honesty in ruined part of my teens as even when I was in Paris I refused to eat anywhere where people might look at me eating as they’d think I was greedy – arghh I want to go back and shake my younger self.
    I’m trying to lose weight at the moment, but it’s for my health it’s more about being fitter and sorting my existing back and hip issues than just being smaller. I am happier in my own skin than I have ever been. Even at my biggest though in my twenties I still wore a bikini, I stopped caring what others thought a long time ago – best thing I ever did 😉
    Stevie x

  7. There’s a line in that Baz Luhrmann Sunscreen song: “Trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine” How true is that! I look at photos of myself especially in my early 20s when I know I felt fat and can see I was nothing of the sort. At the same time though I look at photos when I first met Colin and was struggling with PCOS weight gain, and I want to cry because I know how low I felt. I remember at that time running a bath for myself and pulling the plug on it because I couldn’t face lying there and looking at myself naked. I can’t recall a time when I first started feeling fat but I can’t recall a time in my 20s or 30s where I haven’t been thinking about my weight. Even at my lightest, I was still thinking about it and how to stop myself undoing my hard work and putting it on. I am so worried I will pass this on to Phoebe 🙁

  8. You look amazing both then and now, but I know what you mean about feeling different about it now you’re older. I didn’t think I was fat, but just felt quite awkward in my late teens and early twenties, but it’s now that I feel worse, mainly because of the stretched tummy, but not much I can do about that now! Good luck with the Slimfast diet. 🙂 x

  9. I just want to say that I think you’re overflowing with beauty inside and out x x I can totally empathise with so much of what you’ve said, especially when it comes to looking at old photos. I think you’re truly and utterly fabulous! x x

  10. I found a photo of me in a bikini when I was about 20 and I remember at the time I thought I was big, well bigger than my friends and I always tried to lose a few lbs before holidays. I’d love to be that fat now! Honestly there wasn’t an ounce on me and my stomach was so flat.

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