My Date With Elmer


So, I meant to post this a while back, but things were pretty crazy at work and I’ve just now had a little bit of down time to get back on here.

In the evenings it’s about 6:00PM before I can make it over to the gym. But, this is the best time for me. I know it may not sound very motivational, but at 6:00 one of my favorite shows comes on that brings such good and happy memories back: “Little House on the Prairie”. At our gym each of the cardio equipment has their own little t.v. screen and in the evenings when I go, I always watch “Little House on the Prairie”.

I usually get on the riding bicycle and tune in at 6. I still make sure I’m pedaling my little heart out; I usually stay about 11-11.4 miles per hour. But, this show is actually relaxing to me. I grew up watching “LHOTP” every Saturday morning.

Well, last week one episode really got to me. I usually get off after 40-45 min and usually don’t finish watching it. But, last week when they played the episode about Elmer, I actually got all teary eyed and rode through the whole episode!

Elmer’s character was a little boy whose father died and he and his mother moved to Walnut Grove to make a new start. Elmer was a pudgy kind of boy, overweight, new, and kind of the outcast. This episode just touched my heart so much, because I know what that kind of feels like. I was never really overweight as a child, but I was pudgy, not skinny by any means. And kids can be cruel.

In the episode, Nancy uses Elmer, playing off his insecurities. Elmer at first is enthusiastic that Nancy wants to be his girlfriend, and is determined to lose the weight. He does really good, losing 12 pounds the first month. He begins running to school and running around the house. But, his pudgy overeating reputation at school continues to follow him. Everyone thinks he’s so funny when he brings his huge lunch bag and has eating competitions, out eating any boy in school. When Nancy invites him over to the house for supper (all the while just trying to sweeten him up to use him and talk him into doing her homework), Elmer is humiliated when all Nancy and her brother talk about with their father is how huge Elmer is and how he can “really pile the food in”. They begin to taunt Elmer into showing their father how he can eat a lot of food in a short amount of time. They keep pushing Elmer even though he says he’s satisfied with what’s on his plate. Eventually, Elmer caves and starts showing Nells how he can eat. Elmer eats and eats, until he is sick.

When he gets home, his mother asks him how his dinner was with Nancy. He tells him mom it was great and that he’s tired and just wants to go to bed. When he goes to his room he looks in the mirror and is angry with himself that his jacket can barely button. He gets so irate he pulls all his candy and snacks out of his secret hiding places…jars shattering, boxes crashing to the floor. He then curls up on his bed and begins to sob. This scene makes me get choked up just writing about it. I’ve sooo been there. Looking in the mirror disgusted by what I see. Especially in those early pre-teen years, and even now.

I feel like I can really relate to Elmer in this episode. I really try to see the good in myself, finding things I like about myself. But, when you’re overweight, looking in the mirror..all I find are flaws, repeating over and over in my head that I can’t believe I let myself get this big. I can’t believe I really weigh what I do..that I’m really this size. Then comes the disappointment and guilt I have for myself and my poor eating choices.

The class in the episode must write a paper on what friendship means. Elmer writes a paper that friendship means liking a person for who they are and not just because of what they look like or how fast they are or even how much food they can eat. Then Elmer decides to announce in his paper that no one in Walnut Grove seems to be a real friend to him and that’s why he’s no longer going to go to school.

It’s just so sad to me, because I know this is still going on in schools. Especially since the child obesity rate is so high now. I remember what I went through as a kid. I was called a whale and a blubber butt by a horrible mean boy when I was about 8. After being teased like that, and thinking about it now, I wonder if I predestined myself  to be obese. I wasn’t even that overweight as a child, but it seems like after you have been bullied and teased as a child, you feel like that is what you always will be, a blubber butt.

I know I’m an adult and I have a mindset that I can change my habits. But, when food is almost like an addiction, it’s really hard to actually make those healthier choices. When you’re addicted to food, it’s hard to “eat to live” and not “live to eat”.

Like I said, this episode really got to me and really made me think about how children who aren’t skinny are treated, and if them being teased affects what their weight will be when they are older. And, it also makes me think back to my childhood, myself enduring the teasing and humiliation. I know what it’s like to look in the mirror and have that same look Elmer did, self loathing, anger, disappointment, unhappiness.

I’m so tired of being unhappy and disappointed with myself. I do want to get healthier. But, how many times, have I started only to go back to the unhealthy eating and no exercise when I feel stressed at work or stressed at home or when there is drama with my family? I can’t even count how many times I have said I’m determined to lose the weight and get healthy only to cave and go back to my habits over and over and over again.

I know this is going to be a long journey. I didn’t gain all the weight in one day and I won’t lose it all in one day. I’m trying to remind myself  after watching the episode with Elmer, that this isn’t something I can give up. Especially after watching this episode it reminds me that I definitely NEED (not want) to be healthy before I have children and continue a healthy lifestyle so my children don’t have to go through that. I know for me growing up I had overweight family members on both sides, and I am in no way blaming my mother for my weight issues. I don’t think I’ve ever even told her about me being teased or antagonized. I just know I want to make sure I have a healthy lifestyle when I have children, instilling in them proper nutrition and exercise activities. I did play softball and volleyball and I really enjoyed the group activities, and I want to pass that on to my children. I want to be an active parent who can be the healthy role model a child deserves. I don’t want to be a parent who uses that “Do as I say, not as I do” type philosophy.

I have made a commitment to logging on to my fitness pal and logging all my calories, everything I put in my mouth, every day. And, I am starting the Turbo Jam program tonight. I will also make a commitment to go to the gym at least 4 days a week. I need to stay consistent and focused so that I can once again look in the mirror and actually be happy with what I see.

Anyway, I know this post is forever long, but these were just some thoughts I had today that I wanted to pass on and kind of vent about. I hope you all have a great day and make healthy choices. ~Charity 🙂

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