Weight Up

January 9, 2008
By Natasha Abellard, Philadelphia, PA

I stuck my hand deep into the bag and reached for the remainder of leftover crumbs. Then before walking into the office, I threw out the empty, extra large bag of potato chips. My mom walked in ahead of me and signed my name on the sheet. One by one they called on names until they finally reached mine.
“Olivia Rodman”, said a nursing assistant by the name of Meredith.
I sat up and left my mother in the waiting room. The nurse led me to a room in the back and directed me to take off my shoes and belt and then step onto the scale. I followed the instructions. I felt the back of my legs jiggle like a bowl of jelly as I placed my legs on the scale, one at a time. The nurse calculated my weight then jotted down some notes on a sheet marked with my name.
“Dr. Johnson will be here shortly”, she said.
After that, she pointed me to a seat and briskly walked out of the room.
Five minutes later, a red haired woman comes into the room and looks up. ]
“Hi Olivia”, said Dr. Johnson while stretching her hand outward in my direction. I shook her hand and said hello.
“So, how old are you?” she asked.
“13”, I said.
“Oh wow, I have a son that just turned thirteen as well. What about your diet? What are some of your favorite foods?” she asked while looking down at charts in her hand.
“Well, I love potato chips and I eat a lot of fast foods. You know, like McDonalds and Burger King. But I prefer McDonald’s. Their snack wraps are awesome!” I said enthusiastically.
She nodded her head and glared at me in concern.
“Sweetie”, she said.
“Those foods cause a serious risk to your health. It’s not normal for a 13 year old to weigh 195 pounds at 4’9 feet. Take this sheet home with you.”
She steered me back to the waiting room and called on my mom. I sat down and out of boredom, began reading the pink sheet of paper that Dr. Shepherd handed me. ‘Childhood obesity is a medical condition that affects millions of children here in the United States. Some say it’s a genetic disorder and others say that it’s a combination of both poor diet and genetics.’ I discontinued my reading and tried to comprehend. Was Dr. Johnson calling me fat? Or, as they put it in the article, obese? I pulled out a tiny mirror from my bag, and stared at the image facing me. Was I indeed fat? I stared at my extra large cheeks and noticed the extra chin that had developed. I no longer needed an indicator as to what the answer was. But how come I never noticed? Even through all the snickering and laughing behind my back, I figured that the kids were laughing only because I had a weird hobby of collecting candy wrappers.
Both my mom and Dr. Johnson broke my concentration of thoughts as they walked back out into the waiting room. We all said our good-bye and minutes later my mom and I were in the car. I thought about asking her what she and the doctor discussed but decided not to. When I picked up my head and looked at the direction in which we were heading, I realized that instead of home, the Path Mark some miles away from us was our destination.
When we arrived at the Path Mark, my mom headed straight into the dairy section. I noticed that everything she picked was low fat or no fat at all. Then she went to snack aisle. I tried picking up a pack of gold fishes and teddy bears right along with some potato chips but my mom removed them from my hand and back onto the shelves. I was confused. To replace the items she removed, she picked up a pack of whole grain granola bars, whole grain wheat thins, and carrot sticks.
It still didn’t click why the sudden change in diet until the question popped back into my mind. Was I really over weight? I waited a few minutes and garnered up the courage to ask.
“Mommy, did Dr. Johnson tell you that I was obese?”
She replied. “Yes sweetie, she did. And as of today, you’re officially on a diet.”

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