My mother was easily 150 pounds or more overweight my whole life.

Her weight was never an issue in our house growing up, in that it was never ever discussed. Yes, we were one of those families. No one monitored what was consumed, asked any questions or made any snide remarks.

Growing up, meals were "normal"... a meat, a starch and a vegetable. There wasn't a lot of desserts, but we had a lot of homemade cookies, of the chocolate chip variety laying around. I don't recall ever thinking my mother was eating more than she should.

Since my mother's weight was never an issue at home, I was never embarrassed by her appearance. I do, however, remember feeling bad for her when she would get winded walking up a flight of stairs. I remember wondering how she would fit in a certain sized chair or a seat on an airplane. I never bought her a single article of clothing because I never knew her actual size.

Once while we were on vacation, my mother lost her balance and fell down five or six stairs. She had cuts and bruises all over her face, arms and legs for weeks. Fortunately, she didn't break anything, but we were in the middle of the jungle in Madagascar, a 10-12 hour drive from the nearest city and she had to be flown back to our hotel and wait for my dad, sister and me to return the following day. That incident broke my heart.

My mother was an elementary school teacher, the smartest woman I ever knew and always carried herself with ease, dressing appropriately for her size. She wore a lot of primary colors and fun holiday-themed jewelery "for her third graders", she always said. Even though she was heavy, she never "let herself go" and always wore a stylish hair cut and nail polish on her finger and toe nails.

I have seen photos of my mother before I was born and she wasn't always big. In fact, she had a very slender frame until the Summer of 1972.

I still have no idea why she was overweight and unfortunately, I never will. She passed away in 2007 from unrelated causes.

I always thought, and she may have eluded to it ONE time, it was because she gained so/too much while pregnant with me, which made me fearful that the same thing would happen to me when I was pregnant. Some women take the "eating for two" literally and don't take necessary precautions to nourish their babies as well as themselves in healthy and safe ways. I believe my mother was one of these women.

I know firsthand now how difficult it is to lose whatever baby weight is gained during those joyous nine months, especially with a brand new baby in tow. I am still struggling with five-eight pesky pounds myself.

In spite of or because of my mother I have never been overweight. Weight may be hereditary, but I just don't think I could ever let myself get to that point. The point of being fat. On the other hand, I wouldn't know what the worst diet is because I have never been on a diet. I guess I tried the Atkins Diet once for about 3 days, but who can live without bread?

Since I was in college, I have chosen to take responsibility for my weight gain and loss by exercising regularly. I keep a Excel spreadsheet of every mile I walk and calorie I burn on the StairMaster, Elliptical machine or stationary bike. I exercise so that I can eat the way I do and luckily for me, I enjoy sweating. I can’t imagine feeling healthy or happy without an hour at the gym several days a week.

I know where my problem areas are and try to work with them or camouflage them when necessary. I have sizes 6 through 12 in my closet and like everyone else, I have good days and fat days.

I LOVE to eat, but don't gorge myself. I feel that I eat for sustenance and not just for the mere pleasure of it, unless of course it's Trader Joe's chocolate cover peanut butter cups or a glass or three of wine. I eat three square meals a day, rarely snack and consider myself a carb addict (hence the reason the Atkins Diet didn't last long).

When it comes to my relationship with my body, food and exercise, I always think about my mother. I think, I don't want to be 100+ pounds overweight. I want to live a long healthy life and I want to look good in my skinny jeans. And now, more than ever, getting and staying in shape is not just for me, but my son too.

This post is for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop - Prompt #1 Describe the worst diet you ever put yourself on.

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